Project Management vs. Work Management Methodology: Understanding the Difference

You’ve likely encountered project management in some form– at work, school, or in your personal life.

More recently, the term ‘work management’ has started to spread. What makes work management different from project management – and how can you benefit from it?

Work management and project management are often intermingled. This confusion is understandable since, in business lingo, we often think of all work as comprising several smaller projects. Work management is project management, but the former is far broader than the latter.

While the project management field is rich in methodologies and dedicated software, there needs to be more information or knowledge about work management or teamwork management.

This article defines work management, explains project management, and discusses the key differences.

What is work management?

Work management pertains to managing individual and team workflow and workload, including daily tasks, processes, and projects. Workflows are small tasks that make up a larger goal, and defining them can help a team or individual employee accomplish that goal.

Work management aims to coordinate people and work across all levels of an organization to ensure everyone has the information they need to accomplish the work that matters most.

When an organization fully embraces work management, they create a real-time system of clarity and accountability that helps companies plan, organize, and execute their work with far less friction.

Why is work management important?

Shifting priorities, getting budgets on track, and aligning responsibilities around changing goals can feel challenging. For many organizations, coordinating teams—and teams of teams—is extremely difficult.

But without that coordination, organizations can’t be proactive or adjust to future challenges—which can have enormous consequences for the entire business.

Work management introduces reusable workflows that your team can repeatedly use to complete tasks. Put another way, the more closely you guide the tasks of all your employees and teams, the more consistent your product’s quality and delivery timeline can be.

Its structures can be adapted to fit internal needs, which is far more challenging with project management structures. That’s because the repetitive work fundamental to work management does wonders for establishing and adhering to rigid internal protocols.

Whether used for external or internal work, the result is that your teams can work faster and thus take on more work, thereby leading to company growth.

What is project management?

Project management (PM) is a method of completing a project’s goals using procedures, skills, and subject matter expertise. By using knowledge, skills, tools, and procedures dedicated to project activities, its requirements can be achieved more easily.

Project management is a narrow, deliverable-focused portion of work management that can guide both internal and external work.

Typically, in project management, a deadline and budget define how the team produces the final deliverables. Project managers often have specific technical skills that they apply to help their teams complete a project within the project timeline.

They may also promote accountability to ensure their teams complete high-quality products in a timely manner.

Why is project management important?

Project management enables us to meet project requirements by applying the best skills, knowledge, and approaches to the tasks.

It is important because it can help your team complete projects of all sizes. This strategy allows specific deliverables, milestones, and timetables to be streamlined efficiently throughout the whole project team.

Project management processes can help project managers and their teams organize complex plans, minimize potential risks and produce high-quality results within budget and on schedule.

Here are some key benefits of project management:

  • Defines scope
  • Quality control
  • Minimizes risks
  • Lower project costs
  • Promotes teamwork
  • Maximizes resources
  • Encourages continuous learning

Bottom Line

The most significant difference between the two is that the project management structure is too rigid to be adapted to work that happens outside of projects. Work management practice is more flexible and is best suited when the organization does not revolve solely around projects but also has a lot of operational work to support.

So, why is it so important to draw the line between work and project management?

To comprehensively monitor and evaluate the team’s performance and tackle projects and day-to-day tasks, managers must develop systems that incorporate all aspects of work. That enables them to manage the team’s overall working time efficiently.

Even though they focus on different forms of duties, both systems are equally important. In complex fields of work, one cannot function without the other, as maintaining a good working environment is of great importance to companies and their employees’ well-being.

Advisicon has been around for more than 30 years, helping organizations get work done. Whether you deem your job as work, task, project, or simply management, we aim to help you achieve greater impact by looking at your systems, processes, and tools wholistically.

We hope that if you’re on the journey of optimizing your organization to do more with less that you’ll get in touch with us to help guide the way.

It’s what we do best. 😊