I actually do not see them as being different but we can still distinguish project management from general management. Project management methodology can be applied to all projects. That doesn’t mean that the projects work won’t look different for a construction project versus and software project. But the ‘management’ of the project should follow the same methodology. Let’s start with the basic introduction of both type of management- Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end to achieve a particular aim. Whereas general management simultaneously involves management of multiple aspects like Science/Engineering, Technical Support, Logistics and Infrastructure Support, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Human Services, and Business development in a business unit or enterprise. General management can also be defined as line management; it is a continuous process with no time limits or deadlines.
In actual sense, Project management differs from general management largely because projects differ from what we have referred to as nonprojects. Projects are unique because the project management must be creative and flexible, and have the ability to adjust rapidly to changes. When managing nonprojects, the general manager tries to “manage by exception.” In other words, for nonprojects almost everything is routine and is handled routinely by subordinates.
The difference between project management and general management is that general operations are ongoing, continuous and repetitive activities in an organization such as accounting, finance, or production. On the other hand, projects are specific tasks that have a beginning and an end such as working on developing a new product.
Project managers are more specialists and focus on a particular project. General Managers on the other hand may have no deadlines and are generalists and tend to focus on general management operations and overlook individual projects. Project managers are often put in place to cure, improve, correct or realize gains that general managers have not been willing, to undertake.
In short the general manager macro-manages while the project manager micro-manages. That is, a good general manager macro manages, empowers and delegates, and demonstrates situational leadership skills. A good project manager micro manages, plans and controls, and demonstrates process and best practice leadership skills.
The role of a project manager is to focus on the needs of the project and the general manager is to focus on the capacity of the team. Project management is different to general management in the sense that projects are initiated by general management (general managers) and hand over to project managers. The project manager actually works for the line managers, not vice versa.
Whenever the project succeeds credit goes to the line managers who are continually pressured to make better use of their resources. The project manager is simply the agent through whom this is accomplished.
So, general management entails management of several projects of the organization while project management manages a single particular project of the organization.
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