This challenge became clear to me when I ran a Scrum team and trained a Product Owner. Having a Product Owner with an intense focus on the Product (with project as a means to an end) helped me to understand that Products have a longer lifespan that Projects.
Consider my Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) project from 2012. My client has operated their ITSM product for years. My project was to modify the ITSM software to support a new business model over the course of 8 months. At project's end, the newly modified ITSM Product remained in operation. Projects tend to be shorter duration and higher intensity than products.
Four ways a Project differs from a Product
- A project is shorter duration than a product.
- A project includes plans for turning the product over to someone for long term operations.
- A project has a defined end based on meeting predefined objectives
- A project gathers a team to start and disbands the team to finish.