Task Management vs. Project Management – What’s the Difference?

Whatever you do in your professional life, going to work is all about getting things done. While both project management and task management are designed to focus your efforts towards what matters most for your organization, there is often confusion between the two. This blog post will help you identify the key similarities and differences between task and project management and suggest some techniques to make them work to your advantage. 

If you’re not “managing” to tell the difference between task management and project management, you probably aren’t alone: the two share many similarities and can often be completed using the same tools. However, mastering both disciplines can ensure not only the smooth completion of projects, but also a wider culture of productivity and efficiency in your organization.

In this post, we look at: 

What is project management? What is task management? How can MeisterTask help with project and task management? What is Project Management?

“Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget.”

Source: Association for Project Management.

Let’s start with the basics. As obvious as it may sound, project management requires a project. Although the term is often used quite loosely, most definitions confirm that a project needs to have a least three defining characteristics: 

Deliverables. This is what the project should accomplish. It could be the development of a new product, a marketing campaign or even the reorganization of a filing system. Most, if not all project work should focus on creating these deliverables. Start. A date or time that the work towards the project deliverables begins. Finish. A date or time that the project deliverables will be completed by.

So what is project management? In short, the process of project management is ensuring that the deliverables are produced by the time the project finishes. While there are many different ways to manage a project – you can read more about those in our classic vs. agile project management comparison post – the fact that deliverables must be achieved inside a specific timeframe means creates a question: What needs to be done, when?

Due to the complexity of ensuring that everything that needs to be done gets done on time, projects often have project managers. These people are ultimately responsible for the smooth running of the project and adapting it to any issues that arise. Most importantly, they are responsible for delegating tasks to the project team. 

This is achieved by breaking the project deliverables down into individual tasks, which are then assigned to members of the project team. The completion of each individual task contributes to the wider project goal and ensures that team members can focus on the details effectively.

While many tasks are generally running concurrently during a project, it can be the case that the project’s to-dos are dependent on each other. For example, in a marketing project, you wouldn’t be able to complete the “send newsletter” task until the “write newsletter” task was completed. It is the connections between the tasks, working towards a wider project goal, that differentiates a project from a task and thus project

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