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Development Manager Vs. Project Manager

Development and project managers work with a variety of clients and products, but their duties, career outlooks, salaries, and degree requirements can be compared.

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Comparing Development Managers to Project Managers

Development managers may help build an organization from the ground up, while project managers can help develop new products. Their salaries, career outlooks, and daily responsibilities can be compared to establish important similarities and differences.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Development Managers Bachelor's Degree $70,234 10% (Marketing Manager)
Project Managers Bachelor's Degree $72,095 8% (Managers, All Other)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Development Managers vs. Project Managers

Development and project managers may both move from one client or project to another, requiring some flexibility from these professionals. Development managers build relationships with other companies by offering them products and services that will build their customer base, brand recognition, and revenue. Project managers, on the other hand, ensure that product development and construction projects go smoothly. It is important that people in these careers meet fiscal goals set by their superiors.

Development Managers

Development managers look for new clients within a target market, then they decide the best way to engage them in negotiations. To connect to potential customers and begin building a lasting relationship, development managers contact the company's chief financial officer, vice president, or director. Through conversations with a company's leaders, they should define the needs of the business, as well as its fiscal and growth goals. The next step is for these professionals to present the products and services that will help the company reach its goals. Finally, development managers and the leaders of the client company can negotiate sales contracts that will outline the terms of their business relationship.

Job responsibilities of a development manager include:

  • Joining with marketing teams to decide how to best advertise and sell a product or service
  • Building sales presentations to demonstrate their company's offerings
  • Writing proposals for new programs or product developments and presenting these to organizations that may fund them
  • Producing a business model for a new client company that is attempting to build its brand

Project Managers

To motivate their team on any given project, project managers should know what motivates the individuals, whether that means money, breaks, or time off. They should also work with clients or company leaders to establish the parameters and goals of the project. This helps the manager write a document that details the outcomes of the project, as well as the team's specific duties. Both the manager and the stakeholders sign this, much like a contract. Before production or building starts, the manager will develop a timeline, breaking down any tasks. If the team falls behind and will not meet the deadline because of things such as bad weather or equipment malfunction, the project managers should adapt and change the plan.

Job responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Allocating money to different elements of the project, including labor, materials, and equipment
  • Determining where to get raw materials
  • Updating stakeholders regarding the status of the project, especially when changes to the plan are made
  • Hiring and sometimes supervising architects, engineers, and contractors

Related Careers

As development managers and promotions manager both endorse a client's company, researching a career in both could be beneficial as you plan your future. Similarly, project managers and cost estimators both determine the costs of a project, so exploring these options could also help.

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