What’s the difference between project management software and product management software? We get asked this question a lot. And while the names might sound similar, their real-life applications differ significantly.
In this report, we’ll look at what makes these two software types unique, as well as how they’re similar. This should help you determine which features are most important for your business, and whether you need project management software, product management software, or perhaps even both.
What is project management software?
Project management software is a tool that helps team members automate certain tasks for all phases of a project.
- Task assignment
- Resource allocation
- Milestone tracking
It’s used across all industries by project managers, team managers, and team members to manage project tasks, portfolios, resources, and more.
What is product management software?
Product management software is used to manage the lifecycle of a product from start to finish.
- Concept development
- Workflow planning
- Communication between teams
This tool is used specifically by product managers in product-driven industries to manage their priorities, feedback, and road maps for product development.
What do they have in common?
To recap: Project management software is for all types of business, while product management software is specifically for product-driven businesses. Despite this distinction, the two software types do have some common functionality, including:
- Task management (aka workflow management, task tracking). Create and assign tasks that include descriptions, important dates, and priority levels.
- Collaboration (aka shared workspace, teamwork, group work). Empower team members to work on a project collectively through real-time communication and information sharing.
- Milestone tracking (aka reporting, project tracking). Monitor the status of a project by tracking its progression and the completion of any anticipated accomplishments.
- Project planning/scheduling (aka prioritization). Define the scope of a project by identifying task-specific timelines, resources, milestones, deliverables, and forecasts.
- Resource management (aka resource allocation, resource planning, workload management). Identify and assign employees to tasks based on their availability, areas of expertise, and relevant skill sets.
Project management software features
Some defining features of project management software include:
- Time tracking (aka time management). Record the amount of billable time an employee spends on various projects and tasks.
- Document management (aka file sharing, file storage). Share files among team members by storing them in a centralized database. Many systems can track version history and changes within a specific document.
- Gantt charts. View data as a horizontal chart with cascading bars that align to the start and finish dates for each part of a project.
- Task boards (aka Kanban boards, Scrum boards). Visualize tasks and move them across columns such as “to-do,” “in-progress,” and “done.”
- Budgeting (aka financial planning). Track project-specific costs such as labor, equipment, and expenses.
Product management software features
Notable product management software features include:
- Product lifecycle management (PLM). Consolidate all of the processes required to design, manufacture, distribute, and maintain products.
- Product roadmapping. Identify desired outcomes and significant milestones and create a plan for how to achieve them.
- Customer journey mapping. Visualize and analyze the customer experience across all touchpoints and channels.
- Idea management. Facilitate the organization, discussion, improvement, and evaluation of project-related insights and strategies.
- Requirements management (aka requirements planning). Create, manage, and track product requirements and features throughout the production and development phases.
Which tool is right for you?
Need a platform to help you manage your projects? Project management software is your solution. In the business of making products? Product management software can guide you through each stage of your product’s lifecycle.
The question now is: Which specific tool is right for your business?
To start your search, head over to our project management software or product management software pages. There you’ll find a sortable list of products, software reviews from verified users, and comprehensive buyers guides.
With so many software options to choose from, it might be helpful to narrow your search to only the most popular and highest-rated solutions. In that case, check out our Capterra Shortlist reports for the top project management software and product management software products, based on an analysis of thousands of user reviews.
12 products top-rated in product and project management
These 12 products, listed in alphabetical order, are among the top-rated in both categories: