How Operations Management relate to or vary from Project Management?

How Operations Management relate to or vary from Project Management?

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How do Operations Management similar or differ to Project Management?
Sep 20,2020

At first glance, operations management & project management may seem deceivingly similar, both support the businesses in terms of planning, coordinating, and executing tasks in order to achieve the aimed goals. In this blog, we examine the main contrast between their roles as well as the common ground between the professions and how they can be interconnected.

What is Operations Management?

Operations management guarantees the business' overall tasks to be run proficiently, to ensure that it is delivered for clients in the most effective conceivable way. Operations managers oversee the business processes that transform a contribution to yield. For instance, an operations manager in a car manufacturing plant would supervise the production of the vehicle; while in a business services organization, he would oversee the executives practices. Unlike projects, these practices standardly don't have an end date, as they are core to the business and subsequently, nonstop.

What is Project Management?

According to the PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition, project managers oversee business projects, deciding the scope and goals, planning the stages, dealing with the execution, and finally closing the project. Resources & assets are commonly allocated to the project for a fixed period, and the project manager is liable for organizing those resources & assets to ensure that the project is executed effectively, on schedule, and in budget.


Back to the literature, the below hypotheses are addressed in order to test the overall comprehension of the managers with the distinctions and similitudes between Project Management and Operations Management:
Hypothesis 1: There is a solid pact between operations management and projects management. 
Hypothesis 2: Project management is characterized as the field of theoretical information that recommends techniques and strategies prompts execute projects effectively.
Hypothesis 3: Operations management is characterized as the execution of related activities to produce services or products.
Hypothesis 4: In General, designing and testing the products/services can be considered as a project phase while the production is considered as an operational work.
Hypothesis 5: Operations management and project management have certain distinguishable specifications.
Hypothesis 6:  Both Operations and projects managers have different roles and qualifications.

Differences between Operations Management and Projects Management

The major difference between the two roles comes from the definition of each one as below:
•    PMI defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a product/ service. On the other hand, business operations define as ongoing repetitive activities that produce repetitive outputs, such as manufacturing products or supplying services.
•    Therefore, the operations manager’s role is ongoing, while the projects manager’s role is temporary in nature.
Other key differences between the two roles are focused on specific duties, skills, and training required for success.

Operations managers: The main roles & responsibilities of operations managers often include:

•    Overseeing daily operations.
•    Identifying and addressing problems and opportunities.
•    Managing the budgeting, planning, reporting, and auditing.
•    Developing operational policies and procedures.

Projects managers: As part of their roles and duties, projects managers are expected to:

•    Plan and define projects
•    Manage the schedule
•    Monitor the budget
•    Measure and report progress

Interconnection between Operations Management and Projects Management

First, when a need emerges to essentially change a component of business operations then the change will regularly be overseen as a project. When the projects manager has delivered the change, operations manager will continue to focus on maintaining, operating, and supporting the delivered products or services. Second, projects manager and operations manager work together at a project’s closeout stage to start changing procedures of any continuous support and tasks related to the deliverable services. 

During the project’s lifecycle, which passes by many phases,  projects could intersect with operations, and some of those are:
•    At the phase of developing a new product/service or upgrading it.
•    At the product development phase.
•    While improving operations.
•    At the closeout phase
To actualize the conveyed work, data and information are traded among the operations manager & projects according to “book practical project management for agile nonprofits” book (written by Karen R. J. White), there are four areas which operations and projects managers both are responsible for, and these areas include:
•    Budget
•    Schedule
•    Staff Management
•    Skills Development


An operations manager & projects manager may converge at different areas of duties, yet their roles remain different. An operations manager works in a more extensive and subsequent settings, takes the duties of the executives and related fields from the projects manager so he can exclusively focus on the current project. In any case, both roles are supposed to be integral to each other. A projects manager can't make progress in the project without the contribution of the operations manager as the last is responsible for allocating assets nevertheless operations manager depends on projects manager for the nature of individual projects.

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