Project Management vs. Service Management

Currently, the different elements of management are evident in almost every aspect of businesses. They are necessary and important practices for any business to grow and succeed. Project management is responsible for ensuring that all the projects undertaken by an organization are well executed and delivered. However, the work does not end there for the company. After a product is developed, service management kicks in to carry out the succeeding procedures. Though project management and service management may sound similar, there are some basic differences between the two.

Basic Definition of the Two

Project management focuses only on the project on hand. It is all about the application of techniques and knowledge for following laid down plans to the hilt, and meeting the expectations of customer and stakeholders alike. A project is temporary in nature and always results in a new or modified version of an existing product. Every project defines a boundary of possibilities and restrictions faced by the same and work within the framework of available resources, capabilities, skill sets and deadlines.

On the other hand, service management is a process-based practice that focuses on delivering IT services that benefit customers. It aligns the delivery of IT services with the needs of an organization that uses them. It delivers value to all customers and eliminates ownership of risks on their behalf. More permanent in nature, it is committed to the cause of producing repetitive outputs. Every service defines a boundary which specifies various inputs and outputs that affect it, along with the results that need to be delivered on a consistent basis. Herein, all available resources are evaluated and assigned to tasks that go on to affect service delivery in positive ways. 

Primary Difference between Project and Service Management

The primary difference between these two management models lies in their approach towards the structural flow of involved processes. While one adopts an ongoing lifecycle approach, the other deals with temporary undertaking of projects.

Project management deals with temporary projects to deliver the desired goal for an organization. This temporary undertaking approach uses five processes to deliver a project; these are: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control and Monitor and Close. After the closure of a project, another assignment is undertaken, which is again of a temporary nature. Project management is constrained by factors like time, budgets and scope of the project. Other factors that affect a project are suppliers, risks, procurement issues, communication channels, human resources, quality metrics, and integration.

Service management, on the other hand, adopts a lifecycle approach to align its IT services to the needs of an organization. It relies on twenty six processes and functions that are spread across five lifecycles which are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operations and Continuous Service Improvement. It observes a shift from the mere management of IT hardware and software components and extends its functionality to managing and delivering support and customer services for an organization. An organization may create multiple levels so that ongoing processes can be measured at every stage and desired services delivered to perfection. These services usually comply with the goals and standards as set by an organization.

The Similarities

Both the management methodologies share a few similarities as well. They focus on fulfilling organizational goals and adopt a process based approach. They allow their respective teams to align and collaborate in such a manner that the customer is happy at the end. They are both transparent and provide a framework of techniques and tools for better results.

Way Forward

In spite of their differences and similarities, both project and service management methodologies add value to a company. They offer optimum levels of control and management to ensure that desired goals are achieved in an efficient manner. Both of them should be a part of every organization to bring about improvements in performance and overall results.

Author : Uma Daga

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Uma Daga