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Project management vs task management: what makes them different?

Akanksha SrivastavaLast Updated: October 21, 2022

Project management and task management are often interchangeably used concepts, but both are quite different from each other. In fact, task management is a part of project management. That’s right!

Although the difference is not earth-shattering, it is still crucial when you are choosing software because project management tools can perform task management just fine, but vice versa might not be as effective.

To help you understand these terms and use them to your benefit, we have compared project management vs task management. But first, let’s understand these concepts individually.

What is project management?

Project management encompasses everything from planning to executing a collection of tasks or events towards completion. Successful project management is driven by several parameters, including finances, timeline, technology, and resources. It is a combination of processes of deploying and orchestrating these parameters that help in successfully completing a project.

Project management focuses on a larger goal which is a cumulative outcome of multiple smaller tasks, performed sequentially and successfully. It doesn’t often include repetitive activities but strategic planning with a clearly defined beginning and end.

What is task management?

Task management is a straightforward process that requires minimum optimization. It is about prioritizing things on the agenda or a list. A grocery list is a great example to understand task management better, where you have different entries on the list, like bread, butter, eggs, etc. Each item here represents a task you check off the list as go along purchasing them.

Working remotely from home using task management software chat

Task management focuses on individual tasks and accomplishing smaller goals, so there is no sequence plan as such that you need to follow. Task management is utilized by small businesses and freelancers where they make a list of things that need to be done and follow protocols until it is achieved.

How is project management different from task management?

Task management is usually a stand-alone activity, whereas project management deals with a collection of tasks that together define a project. To understand task management vs project management better, we have categorized the parameters into three major sub-sections.

1. Scope

Projects have a broader scope than tasks that have precise purposes. Project management aims toward an overarching organizational objective.

The scope of project management vs task management also differs in terms of task interdependencies. Task management focuses on a specific activity, the success, and failure of which are independent of other tasks carried out simultaneously. On the other hand, tasks involved in project management are interdependent. The outcome of these tasks in a sequence cumulatively defines the success and failure of projects. If any one of the tasks fails, you cannot proceed further in project management.

Let’s take an example. Suppose you need to create a mobile app. Now, this is a project in which several individual steps are involved, like ideation of features, design, coding, testing, quality control, and launch. In this example, each step represents a task, the outcome of which is independent of the other. So, it will require task management. However, when we talk about the overall project, which is mobile app development, the success of each of these tasks is necessary to achieve the final goal. Also, there has to be a sequence of events in project management, unlike task management. For example, in mobile app development, until you have your app features and design ready, you can’t test it and launch it. Imagine launching an app without an app. That would be silly, right?

2. Operation scale

Since the scope of project management is broader than task management, the operational scale of project management is also comparatively larger. Although the type of input required in both project and task management is more or less the same, the scale at which those are required is usually multi-fold in project management.

3. Resources

Task management represents a single component of project management that is not complex. It doesn’t necessarily require a team and can be completed single-handedly by a qualified professional. On the other hand, project management requires a team that collaboratively performs independent tasks to achieve the final project goal.

Now that we know that the human resource required in project management is more than task management so, project management, for obvious reasons, will require more budget, equipment, facility, etc., as well. Hence, all types of resources will follow the same trend.

ParametersProject managementTask management
Task dependencyHighLow
Strategic planningRequiredMinimally required
Process optimizationRequiredMinimally required
ScopeBroadNarrow
Resource consumptionHighLow
Operational scaleLarge-scaleSmall-scale
Summary of project management vs task management key differences

Project management vs task management: when to use them?

Adopting better project management tools and techniques is one of the best ways to empower your team.

Task management is a part of project management, and we now understand it. But if that is the case, what is the use of task management, and where does it apply?

Well, you can utilize task management to deal with repetitive tasks. It is exclusive to independent activities, which is usually the case with freelancers and also, small businesses. So, if you need a system to plan for different activities, task management is made for you.

Coming to project management, you can apply this concept when you need to do multi-tasking and have multi-step process requirements.

Which tools do you need for project management and task management?

Top project management software are equipped with task management capabilities. In other words, project management software can also be used as task management software, where you are provided with tools to do both without overwhelming one with the other. Flow is also one of them.

Flow is a modern software with diverse capabilities to suit all your project and task management needs. It integrates your favorite tools on one platform to provide you with the best features so you have all your tasks, timelines, conversations, and projects streamlined. 

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