• There is a budget constraint in case of project management whereas there is the constraint of making maximum benefits for the organization.
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.
• Just as all activities in an organization can be divided into projects and operations, so are managers associated with such tasks.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on June 4, 2011 by olivia
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.
• Project management is temporary where as there is permanence in operation management
Furthermore, operations are permanent endeavours that produce repetitive outputs. Resources are assigned to do the same tasks according to operating procedures and policy.
An operational manager can not say about the real start and end points of his work. vs. A project manager has a definable start and end points (limited by the time of a project)
The operations manager has day-to-day management responsibilities and many of those tasks will take place on a business as usual schedule. vs. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project stays on time.
An operational manager is responsible for the department budget and the overheads related to running that department. vs. A project manager is responsible only for the budget relating to the particular project that he or she is working on at the time.
I will try to show up the main differences between this two positions through the basic points:
5. The main purposes
Operations Management is an ongoing organisational function that performs activities to produce products or supply services. For instance, production operations, manufacturing, IT service management, and accounting operations.
In contrast, projects are temporary and help the business to meet organisational goals and to respond quickly and easily to the external environment. Organisations use projects to change operations, products and services to meet business need, gain competitive advantage and respond to new markets.
4. Period of time
• Projects are of shorter duration, whereas programs can last for years
What is the difference between Project and Program?
While a program is defined as a predetermined group of projects that are related and are managed as one big task (in order to earn profits for the organization), a project is more or less temporary in nature that is undertaken to get specified results in given time along with constraints of cost and quality. Though they look similar, there are many points of difference that are as follows.
First major difference pertains to the objective of a project in comparison to the objective of a program. In a project, the manager knows the output he has to achieve; they are tangible, and can be described easily in words. One can measure the progress of a project, which is why the outputs are referred to as objectives. On the other hand, there are outcomes, and not outputs in case of a program, and even these are subjective and hard to quantify. Scope is vaguely defined in case of program, and can change as per the whims of managers during implementation of the program. On the other hand, the scope of a project is clear cut and demarcated, and cannot be changed during the life of the project.
One question that troubles many is the difference between a program and project. Whether he is given a program or a project does not mean much to a layman, but to a manager, it means a lot as both entail different functions and responsibilities that will be clear only when the differences between project and program are elucidated.
• A project manager needs to monitor and manage tasks, while a program manager monitors and controls projects
• Projects have narrow scope, whereas a program has much wider scope
• In a program, focus is always on the manager (leadership), while in case of project; focus is on management of people involved
Another differentiating factor is the duration. While projects are shorter in time period and typically finish in a few months time, programs are longer and can take upto three years. Whether a project or a program, there are always risks associated. But, whereas it is easier to identify and manage risks in a project, a manager in charge of a program finds it more difficult to assess risks involved, and cost incurred is greater in case of a failure of a program because of risk, than in case of a project. Failure in case of a program has greater ramifications for the organization.