Work Management vs. Project Management: What’s the Difference?

6 min readMar 23, 2021


Photo by Vadim Bozhko

Work management and project management seem to go hand-in-hand, right?

These two management methods share similar principles, which involve controlling timing and workflow so your employees can work as efficiently as possible. That way, you will end up with high-quality products to satisfy your customers and clients.

Both work management and project management are aimed at enabling high productivity with a structured system. Within these systems, your employees can focus on their work assignments and complete them by their required deadlines. The organized operations involved in work management and project management set your employees up for success as they complete their tasks with the intent to achieve your business goals.

Furthermore, both management methods rely on:

  • Planning and setting objectives
  • Promoting collaboration for innovative brainstorming and higher productivity
  • Scheduling deadlines and distributing the workload
  • Communication with staff through documents, chat platforms, and other various methods
  • Reviewing and revising completed work to meet client expectations
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of your management strategies

With so many similarities, you may be wondering where the differences between work management and project management are present. Well, they’re very different concepts and selectively benefit your business if implemented at the appropriate times. You need to be strategic when choosing to enforce one or the other.

To know when work management or project management will support your company’s mission at hand, you will need to learn their distinguishing characteristics:

Work Management

Work management establishes efficient business operations regularly. Enforcing work management is an intense endeavor for your business. This process involves an internal reflection on your workplace’s current conditions, what promotes ultimate productivity in your employees, and what is causing systemic delays or poor performance in employees.

Implementing work management requires reorganizing your day-to-day business structuring with or without a project on your plate. Your goal is to streamline processes for speedier communication or assignment completion and remove redundant activities that waste your employees’ valuable time. Rather than one small assigned team, you focus on your entire staff and how they function in your business setting. The work management process is long term and ongoing as you are always observing your staff productivity.

Unlike project management, where you collect materials and gather resources for your workload, you may instead end up omitting these when enforcing work management practices. During this process, you could recognize that not only is time being wasted on some activities around your office, but money is also being thrown away. When initiating work management, you will want to research to find the most efficient and cost-effective solutions that will promote efficiency and reduce waste of time, money, and materials.

When establishing work management for your business, you are considering the best tools and strategies to renovate your system so your employees can thrive in it. By enabling efficiency with planning, individual and collective scheduling, and helpful training resources, your staff can organize themselves in their daily work life. Your work management strategies will allow them to put thought and effort into their assignments and hand them in by their deadline dates.

Improving employee satisfaction with work management

Implementing work management will lead to higher quality work and boost productivity among your employees, making them feel more fulfilled in their professional roles. The big picture impact of work management will lead to happier stakeholders, satisfied employees, and reduced staff turnover. More members of your team will want to stay for long periods because your efficient work management structure will promote their freedom and space to impress you and earn rewards like a pay raise or promotion. If anything, the personal satisfaction of completing their work thoroughly without the stress of rushing or panicking with their unevenly distributed workload will be enough to help them be more productive and content in your workplace.

Project Management

Project management involves introducing structure and management models within limited timeframes. It’s not a systemic management style, but more temporary as your management style only applies to large tasks as they are brought to you by clients. Rather than finding one primary system with new scheduling and productivity arrangements, you may vary your project management methods according to what the mission entails or how significant it is.

Under project management, you will organize a selective team of staff members who are qualified for fulfilling the project’s objectives. Rather than an entire staff, you are managing a group of people that you’ve chosen. You will then decide to implement a specific structure that will help you collectively complete the whole assignment under a deadline. Between your team and your project modeling, you have more freedom than when implementing work management practices. With several factors in mind, like the overall deadline timing, the required resources, and the deliverables, you can decide on the best-suited project strategies.

As a project manager, you will only need to worry about project-related factors. This means that the only deadlines that you are concerned that your team members are meeting are those listed under your project scheduling. If you notice any delays in their productivity due to your team members’ plates being too full with non-project-related tasks, you may need to address their general scheduling.

Through project management, you will establish one extensive schedule for your team members to follow. They may have been assigned tasks with deadlines, but you only have one version of a timeline for everyone. This is unlike work management, when you create multiple individual schedules to organize your employees’ various workloads and ensure proper overall workflow in your business.

Project management is focused, which makes it easier to implement effective strategies and commit to them. The planning process begins with a clean slate from which you can build your project structure, rather than reshaping one that already exists as you would for work management.

Satisfying your stakeholders for improved business

When leading project management initiatives, you only have one end-customer or client to serve. The main mission of your project will be creating and executing a solution for an identified problem or need. During projects, your team members’ pause their regular work-life to collaborate and develop this impactful solution or product with the goal to fulfill your client’s needs and encourage their continued business. A successful project could also lead to a strong positive reputation for your business, which will lead to more clients, more projects, and more profits.

Why Monitoring Your Staff or Team’s Productivity Is Important for Both

Whether you are conducting work management or project management, your success as a leader highly depends on your staff or team’s productivity. If they are not working to their highest efficiency potential, your operation will experience delays, and your stakeholders will be left unsatisfied.

Tracking your staff’s timing on assignments or workloads will help you find possible lags in productivity and get to the root of the problem. This will begin a conversation between you and your employees to find out what is impairing their ability to complete work efficiently.

Using actiTIME for Work Management and Project Management

actiTIME is the ideal platform for both work management and project management initiatives. You can create your project or employee schedules and share them so your staff can organize their workloads. Through actiTIME, your staff or project team members can track their hours committed to specific tasks or assignments, so you can be aware of any delays or revise your scheduling, and so on.

Online timesheet interface in actiTIME where every user can select task parameters
they want to see in their timesheets

actiTIME is the best work management and project management tool for communication with staff members, sharing important information, submitting and reviewing completed work, and more. No matter which management style you are implementing, actiTIME has everything you need.




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