How Does Project Management Differ from Usual Business Operations?

Have you ever wondered why project management receives special treatment and how it differentiates from day-to-day operations in a business? Most organizations do not have a separate division for managing projects. This is mostly because most elements associated with a project tend to be temporary. In the case of general management, it is the opposite.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between project management and general management.


This is the most basic difference between project management and general management. A project follows a set timeline. It has a date of initiation and must be completed within a given timeframe. Even if a project timeline shifts forward or backward, a project must end on a selected date. General business operations, on the other hand, continue for an infinite period. Unless something interrupts these processes (for instance, a shift in the target market, discontinuation of a product), these are likely to carry on.

Unique End Product

General management and normal business operations are based on the mass production of a good or service. This is in line with the nature of business operations and how they continue for an infinite period. Companies may also opt for a batch production system where a batch of goods is produced and then discontinued. This is seen in the clothing sector. You may buy a piece of clothing today, but if you visit the same shop after 6 months, you are unlikely to find it again.

Even so, batch production systems do not fall under project management. The activities carried out under a project lead to the production of a single, unique product or service. The activities are not repeated.

Temporary Roles

All roles assumed in a project are temporary. The project manager is usually an individual that is leading a separate division that falls under business operations. Team members recruited for a project are also temporary hires. They may be sourced from within the company as well. In case they are sourced from outside the company, then they are hired for a specific period of time. Once the project is over, their role is discontinued.

It is the opposite in the case of business operations where most individuals are permanent hires. Even if they are hired on a contractual basis, the nature of their jobs and any benefits involved differ significantly from those hired purely for a project.

Different Tools

Project management involves the use of online project management software. This software consists of features directed specifically towards managing a project. It can help you plan strategies, lay out a project timeline, identify critical activities, and oversee the progress made on a project. Online project management software also helps in contingency plan and recognizing the risks associated with a project.

Normal business operations make use of other tools. These tools vary according to the purpose and may not be fit for use in project management.

To Sum It Up

There are several differences between project management and general management. Where normal business operations emphasize on products and processes, project management focuses on human resource and the goal of the project.