Difference Between Project Management and General Operations Management

This guide will cover both project management and general operations management so that you have all of the information necessary to make an educated decision when it's time to decide on becoming a project manager or general operations manager.

General Operations Management

Project managers typically handle specific jobs and tasks, while operations managers take care of entire teams and larger projects. The project manager role is more temporary in nature, while the general operations manager position is more permanent in scope.

Operations management involves planning and executing activities and functions that produce products or services. There are three main types of systems in operation, all with the purpose of making a company more productive: accounting, human resources, and production management. These systems are the same whether an organization is working on one initiative or many.

Project Management

A project manager is someone who is responsible for managing the project. They're hired specifically to help a team complete a task, so you won't be working with that person indefinitely. There are different roles in a general operations management team, and each member is assigned to one of these roles. The manager helps make sure the team abides by company policy, sets goals to assess their performance, promotes trust and respect within the team, ensures there's a sharing of information, and takes an active role in making sure all members are feeling valued, among many other things.

Project teams are formed by volunteers from different departments across different sites of the organization. Though they may have the same primary manager, there are still multiple levels of hierarchy in this project management structure.

It can be tough to keep a team of people working together when they're constantly rotating players. In changing teams, sometimes new members may find it difficult to work with each other or to share information and opinions freely. As the team member reports to more than one manager, appraisal of his or her work may present some difficulties.

The Difference

Managing an organization is a key part of any business. Managers are responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the activities of their organizations. As long as you have a plan and do your work responsibly, you will succeed no matter which management structure you choose.

The general operations manager is a responsible team member who oversees the entire organization. They keep track of all aspects and share their information to ensure everything is running smoothly and on schedule.

Project management involves handling different projects, or big projects.

Project management and general operations management have traditionally been differentiated by the types of outcomes they produce - project management is like a one-time activity, with a fixed time horizon. General operations management, on the other hand, has a much wider range of outcomes that can happen and there's no specific time limit as to when they will occur.

Project management is done for a particular period of time. On the contrary, general operations management is an ongoing process that's not visible at the beginning and has no end.


Project Management

General Operations Management

Project Management is often referred to as the most efficient way of managing a team within a time-bound goal set by leadership.

General operations management is the coordination and maximization of resources. It ensures that every department is working toward fulfilling the same goal.

One-time process

Continuous process

Unique nature and non-repetitive

Regular nature and repetitive

Within and outside of the organizational premises

Within the firm premises

Blurred Line of Authority

Defined Line of Authority

Dynamic task sets

Consistent task sets

Achieving the set goals of the project through well-defined criteria

Without an understanding of the goals, it's impossible to achieve them

Understanding more about Project Management

Project management is the act of heading up a complicated and time-consuming project, in order to complete it in a set amount of time. Project managers use knowledge, skills, experience, and resources to continue an activity.

If you want your project to get done on time, everyone needs to be on the same page. The three biggest parts of a project management system are Project Manager, Team, and PMS, each playing an important role in being able to get the project completed on time.

Project management requires specific skills, such as technical knowledge along with managerial skills. Technical knowledge is necessary because it ensures the success of a project.

Projects are short-term assignments undertaken with the goal of creating a distinctive output which, can be a product, service, or outcome. It's short-term in the sense that it has an end date and start time. It also includes acceptance criteria and agreed-upon specifications.

Understanding More About General Operations Management

There are many definitions of what it means to be in general operations management: some see it as the overall management of an organization, while others see it as someone who has experience with a variety of different areas. Our definition is that general operations managers know how to take care of all the people and operations going on in an organization while managing the external market conditions.

It ensures that everyone on the team is working together. It also simplifies communication and planning, facilitating task assignments and tracking organizational progress.

  • Some basic management functions associated with managing a group of people are planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling.

  • Managing individual team members and their tasks from anywhere.

The general operations manager oversees the strategic vision and administration of the organization. The job requires a good understanding of finance, production, marketing, human resource, and strategic management skills. Because it's not a separate unit in the company, this role isn't typically tied to specific responsibilities like finance or production.

Some key differences to consider

  • Project Management is a process that involves monitoring and regulating various activities throughout an organization, in order to ensure coordination among units and departments. General operations management is the process of overseeing operations, ensuring consistency, and mitigating external effects on the company.

  • General operations management and project management are two separate functions that are employed in organizations. General operations management is meant to be an ongoing process, whereas project management is a temporal process.

  • Project management is very different from general operations management as it entails tasks that are difficult to plan and anticipate. It's not repetitive in the sense that each task is designed to achieve a particular goal. Instead, project management is regular because th tasks are generic while advancement through an organization tends to repeat on a day-to-day basis.

  • The work location of project management differs according to where the project is undertaken. General operations management is done institutionally, and as a result, it also has a work location. Conversely, project management can entail an organization-wide process or it can be executed on an individual level.

  • In project management, the role of a boss is not always clearly defined. Project managers work for a short period of time, accepting team members and delegating tasks. In general operations management, the line of authority is clearly defined by certain parties.

  • Project management is much more dynamic than general operations management. With project management, the set of tasks is constantly changing and growing, unlike general operations management where the set of tasks is typically consistent.


The scope of general operations management covers a much larger field than project management. Project management only lasts for a certain amount of time, while general operations management continues indefinitely.

Updated on: 22-Dec-2022


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