Process and project management are often used interchangeably in the business world. However, while they do share commonalities and are both popular business techniques, they are, in fact, two very different solutions with varying goals, objectives, and stages.
We’ll look at the differences between these two business techniques and how they can be used to support your business operations.
What Is Process Management?
Process management is a systematic approach to improving the efficiencies of business processes throughout the company. Organizations use this methodology to align business processes with strategic goals. A process manager is in charge of making these processes as smooth as possible, identifying opportunities for efficiency, and eliminating obstacles.
A process manager will often document every step so the process can be reproduced as needed, regardless of staffing changes.
Unlike project management, process management doesn’t have a defined start and end point because the process is already in place. Instead, it’s a series of recurring ongoing tasks that are an infinite part of the day-to-day business life.
An example of a business process can include the specific steps taken to make sure a factory’s equipment is well maintained or the process followed to order office supplies.
Process managers take ownership of these workflows to ensure teams complete tasks accurately and efficiently. They’re always looking for ways to save money and time and reduce waste within a process.
A business with well-managed processes has customers who know what to expect—and the company can meet or exceed those expectations every time.
What Is Project Management?
Project management involves applying processes, methods, skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve specific objectives related to a particular project.
The purpose of a project is to deliver value through a unique product, service, or result. Unlike processes, all projects are temporary and have a defined start and end point. Each project is unique and ends once the goal is achieved.
Projects are generally collaborative and involve a team of people doing several different tasks. The team is led by a project manager who oversees a single project’s planning, initiation, and execution.
Project management is a critical business function as it helps improve productivity, cut costs, and reduce waste.
Prime examples of project management include
Construction of a building
Development of new products
Implementation of new technologies.
How Projects Can Become Processes
When an organization has recurring projects with similar tasks, the project manager can use an automated process to make the tasks easier to perform each time.
The results of a project could also become a business process. Let’s say a project successfully designs and implements a new staff onboarding model. This model will lead to a new onboarding process repeated by the HR department with each new hire.
Project Vs. Process: What Is the Difference?
The question of what makes a project different from a process is quite common in the business world. To determine whether to choose one or the other, you first need to understand what makes the two different.
In a nutshell, a process is an ongoing procedure accomplished in a sequence of stages that produce the same result. On the other hand, a project is a single event that must be completed within a set timeline and achieve a predetermined outcome.
A project must have a scope, fixed timeline, project plan, and resources. On the other hand, a process involves a series of related tasks that teams must carry out to achieve a result.
A project is something that generally hasn’t been done before within an organization, whereas a process is regularly repeated.
Another varying factor is the goals each technique has. Process management aims to infuse efficiency and consistency in the organization and reduce waste and breakdowns. The benefits of process management include increased efficiency, productivity, cost efficiency, and revenue.
The goal of project management is to give the project manager and business executives a transparent view of what’s going on in the organization. The project manager makes sure they have a complete idea of what everyone is working on all at once. Benefits of project management include improved team collaboration, planning and scheduling, better budgeting, and customer satisfaction.
How Process Management and Project Management Interrelate
Though process and project management are distinct responsibilities, they will often complement each other in practice.
Process management is very critical to the success of your projects as project managers can integrate it into the design of project-specific processes. By doing so, project managers can increase efficiency and improve workflows within a project. Without proper process management, most projects will be chaotic and ultimately unsuccessful.
Project management methodologies are also somehow processes. A methodology can be defined as a system of practices and rules used to manage a project from planning to delivery. Popular examples include Agile, Waterfall, PMBOK, Prince2, and Lean approaches, among others.
Project management is also beneficial to process management as projects provide valuable information on the efficiency of processes. Process managers can take this feedback and use it to improve existing processes.
Which One Do You Need?
As you can see, project management and process management are very different but vital business functions. So how do you determine which one your organization needs?
Choosing between project management and process management will depend on the result you want to achieve. If you’re looking for a better way to organize your tasks, you’ll need project management. But if you’re looking for a better way to manage a part of your business that’s an established, regular procedure, then process management will work better for you.
In short, if you want transparency, project management is the way to go. When you want efficiency, rely on process management.
Get Your Processes and Project on Track with Mission Control
Whether you need to build new processes or manage your projects, you need the right software in your corner to make it a breeze.
Mission Control is a powerful software with features that help you see what processes or projects are on track and which need to be improved. With this tool, you can quickly automate your workflows and make it easier for your teams to complete tasks.
With Mission Control, you can create better efficiency, improve process and project management, and give yourself a leg-up on the competition.
Request a demo to see how Mission Control can help you start managing your projects and processes more strategically.