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Difference Between Project Management and Operation Management

Project Management vs Operation Management

Before we get to differences between project management and operations management, it is pertinent to brush up on our knowledge of projects and operations. It is a fact that all activities of an organization can be divided into projects and operations. Operations are ongoing, continuous and repetitive activities in any organization such as accounting, finance, or production. On the other hand, projects are specific tasks that have a beginning and an end such as working on developing a new product. All efforts and energies of an organization are distributed between these two categories of work. Let us see how project management differs from operation management.

One thing that becomes clear with the definition of project and operations is that unlike projects, in operations one has to stick with his decisions for a very long time. In project management, decisions take shape according to the size and nature of the project and can be changed in between also. This is because project managers start afresh as an when they complete a project. However, this differentiation is only a matter of perspective and in reality, the styles of both project management as well as operations management can be combined to be more efficient and productive.

One more difference that is self evident between project management and operation management is that operations have permanence while projects are rather temporary in nature. While you are running maintenance of your shop, you have undertaken a project that has a specific beginning and a specific end, but when you are back to normal, you run continuous operations of purchasing and selling goods in the shop. Again, while as a store owner, the process of renovation may be a project for you but from the perspective of the contractor who has an occupation performing such renovations, it is a continuous operation, only the site has changed.

A project manager is given a budget within which he has to carry out the task whereas in the case of operations, it is the duty of the operations manager to perform operations in a manner so as to generate maximum profits.

A project manager needs to be skillful in handling the workers as he has to finish the task with the given team in a given timeframe within a budget that he has to maintain and not overrun. In operations management, a thorough knowledge of the work process is crucial to have better productivity and efficiency.

New product development is seen as a project management and should be entrusted to a man other than operations manager. If management persists with the operations manager and his team, innovations and successful completion of the task is less likely than if the job is given to a project manager.

In brief:

Project Management vs Operation Management

• Just as all activities in an organization can be divided into projects and operations, so are managers associated with such tasks.

• Project management is temporary where as there is permanence in operation management

• There is a budget constraint in case of project management whereas there is the constraint of making maximum benefits for the organization.

• Good features from project management can be combined with operation management to have a better and more efficient style of management.


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