Work Management Vs. Project Management – Are They Different? Which One Should You Choose?

Work management vs. project management tool is often a subject of discussion when managers look for a tool to help them handle their tasks proficiently. It is evident that not many people know whether there are any differences between them.

With so many collaborative tools in the market, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with choices on which tool to go for. What’s more confusing is that the definition of the two terms under software context is bewildering.

Project management is a temporary effort to create a unique product, service, or result. Work management is the ongoing process of achieving objectives by planning, monitoring, and controlling work. But that’s just the difference in a nutshell. We’ll dig deeper to see how the two compare and which one you should go for.

What’s a Work Management Tool?

Work management refers to the systems and tools used to monitor and oversee an employee’s performance. Whether an organization manages its internal workflow or tracks employee milestones, work management tools can help. One of these is a time tracking app like Hubstaff that helps businesses gauge employee productivity.

Work management tools help you oversee your personal and your team’s workload and workflow.

What’s a Project Management Tool?

A project management tool is an application that helps teams organize, plan, and collaborate on projects. The most common use of project management tools is to track the progress of an ongoing project by assigning tasks to team members, keeping track of deadlines, and providing reports on the work completed. A project manager can also use a project management tool to monitor budgets and resources.

Project management tools are built for exactly what their labels say – managing projects. These tools are designed to handle projects with clearly defined objectives, a start date, end date, participants, and roles.

For that reason, they’re not best suited for ongoing work, ad-hoc projects, or cross-functional collaborations.

Work management vs. project management

Work management vs. project management

As you can see from the two definitions, it’s somewhat not easy to settle the work management vs. project management argument. The two terms can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing. The differences kick in when you break down your requirements to what exactly you want to achieve.

Work management tools are ideal for handling ad-hoc enterprise work and can also handle projects. They offer team members a platform to coordinate, communicate, share as well as store documents and files. There is a hierarchy among members, with team leaders set to review and approve the work submitted by others.

With a work management platform, it becomes easier to organize your work and assign tasks and resources for team members to handle their duties. It’s a tool for streamlining business processes to improve a team’s performance and results.

On the other hand, a project management tool is designed for handling projects that are clearly defined. It requires the use of skills, knowledge, techniques, and tools to organize activities toward meeting the set objective.

As such, it’s unique, time-limited, with clear goals to be attained. The team members have complementary skills which must combine to complete the required task. Also, the participants can change when a new project kicks in. Hence they’re not life members of an organization.

The apparent difference

To settle the work management vs. project management argument, the most notable difference between the two is the level of change that they bring to an organization. Project management tools bring rapid innovative changes, while work management tools deliver continuous change following a process.

A work management platform offers more flexibility since it’s not defined by the parameters that define projects, such as deadlines and budgets. Instead, it offers simpler features so that it becomes more accessible and easier to learn how to use it.

The apparent difference

Now we hope the difference between the two is clear. Let’s see how the two vary in terms of what they can achieve and cannot.

What Are The Pros of Work Management Tools Over Project Management Tools?

As seen earlier, one of the properties of a project management tool is that it works based on deadlines and budgets. They have schedule and budget planning features like Kanban board and Gantt chart.

These are some of the most important features a tool must-have when working on a project. But the same is not true for work management platforms. As such, PM tools possess rigidity that might not be useful in the scope of work.

Work management platforms offer a lot of benefits, which makes them ideal for handling projects as well. These include:

Eliminates waste of labor resource

When tasks that could otherwise be automated become burdensome to do manually, productivity grinds to a halt. An employee time-tracking system can address this problem for any company that needs to keep track of working hours and job distribution — it keeps things organized and transparent by doing the hard work for you.

Better time management

Being able to track time spent on non-project work helps keep all employees accountable — they can make better time estimates and be more productive. When you have a way to track time spent on tasks, it’s much easier to measure the real value of an employee.

Improved process efficiency

Without a standardized workflow in place, employees can waste a lot of time and opportunities to collaborate at the workplace. But a work management system provides a shared workspace where employees collaborate and monitor their work.

Better clarity

A work management platform allows managers to define the company’s objectives and enables the employees to understand the various levels of the business goals, such as strategies, team members’ tasks, and company goals. As such, it becomes easier for managers to track progress and employees to understand their roles in relation to the overall company structure.

When Should You Choose a Project Management Tool?

When Should You Choose a Project Management Tool?

Through this work management vs. project management tool discussion, it’s clear that work management platforms have the upper hand. But does that mean you should always choose it over a project management tool? The latter also has its advantages, so you cannot dismiss it entirely.

If the type of process you deal with is project-based which has a start date, an end date, an objective, and a budget, you’re better off using a project management tool. The results you’ll achieve with these tools will be tremendous, especially if the project manager is well versed with how the tools work and understand project management processes.

Depending on the type of project you’re working on, you can choose from a plethora of project management tools in the market. There are platforms specifically built for software development, such as Basecamp, and others built for content creation, such as Trello.

You can opt for any project management platform to handle your project, but it’s best to go with one that’s specifically built for the type of project you’re working on.

When To Go for A Work Management Platform?

If the above description for a project management tool doesn’t fit your operation, you’re better off choosing a work management platform. When choosing these tools, you shouldn’t just focus on what features it provides, but you should look at user-friendliness.

Most importantly, it should have as many features as possible to eliminate the need for integrations. Therefore it’s prudent to analyze what your requirements are and measure them against what a tool offers. Generally, the following are some features that any good work management platform should have.

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