difference between project development and product development

The difference between project development and product development

When choosing a form of cooperation with a web development company, you have two key approaches to consider: product development and project development. Each approach is different in the terms of time and money spent on it, as well as the result you want to achieve.

Here, the WishDesk web agency compares product development and project development. 

Product Development

Product development means the development of general software or application that will be used by a large audience from scratch. In this case, you should rely on a dedicated team model.

Stages of product development:

  1. Identifying a market need.
  2. Finding the most appropriate solution.
  3. Conceptualizing the product.
  4. Creating the product roadmap.
  5. Developing a minimum viable product (MVP).
  6. Releasing the product to users.
  7. Ongoing support and improvement of the product.

What is a Product Manager?

The product manager is a team member who connects business strategy, web development knowledge, and clients’ needs in order to develop a valuable digital product. This person is responsible for guiding the product delivery process and leading a cross-functional team.

The product manager is responsible for:

  • managing product lines over the life of the product
  • defining product vision and strategy
  • launching sales
  • communicating between the market and development team
  • representing the client
  • acting as the product’s leader within the web development company
  • developing business cases for the product
  • developing product positioning on the market
  • and more!

Therefore, the key responsibility of a product manager is to ensure that the product delivery process is successful and meets the customers’ strategy and goals. This person has to manage the product throughout its whole lifecycle and not only at the development phase, like a project manager would.

Project Development

When we are talking about project development, we mainly focus on customer-specific software. This means that a web development team has to provide a solution for the demands of certain customers within the agreed budget and time. Project development is a linear process that includes completing certain tasks in order to provide a solution for the client’s requirements.    

In this case, the time and budget are specified and approved before the project development starts.

There are two primary models of billing for project development:

  1. Fixed Price Model (FPM)
  2. Time and Material Model (TMM)

After the project is complete, a web development team will not make any changes to the source code (except for the bug fixing). 

Stages of the web development process:

  • Analysis of client’s requirements and creation of technical assignments
  • Project prototyping
  • Design development
  • Programming
  • Quality assurance
  • Content filling
  • Website deployment
  • Bug fixing (if necessary)
  • Project support and maintenance (if required)

What is a Project Manager?

The project manager is a member of the web development team who controls the whole process of project development, coordinates the actions of team members, and ensures high-quality and timely project delivery.

PM is responsible for:

  • providing communication between the client and the development team
  • prioritizing project requirements and tasks
  • estimating time and budget
  • tracking workload and work hours
  • reporting on project’s progress
  • making sure the client’s requirements are fulfilled
  • managing risks
  • troubleshooting
  • and more!

The role of a project manager in project development is very important and determines its success. This person should be involved in each stage of the delivery cycle.

Product vs Project Management Comparison

Product vs Project Management Comparison

Final Thoughts

Now you can see that project and product development serve different purposes. Project management aims to fulfill specific requirements and complete a given project within the agreed time and budget. Product management focuses on continuous project development and improvement.

WishDesk web development company specializes in both approaches. Contact us for successful project development or continuous product development. 


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