How does Service Management differ from Project Management?

How does Service Management differ from Project Management?

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Technology, Published On
May 17, 2022


Managing the overall business is a tedious and challenging task. But to streamline these things, here is a list of processes inside the organization that help achieve the end goal. Service management and project management are two crucial aspects for any organization to deliver exceptional results. Some organizations use ServiceOps project management to manage their projects efficiently, which applies to service management.

You might find both the processes similar, but they’re not. There are some fundamental differences between service management and project management.

Let us give you a small brief about both the techniques – the role of project management is all about ensuring that the projects undertaken by the organization are well-executed and delivered. At the same time, service management has specialized capabilities to provide enhanced value to customers.

Let us dive deep into the brief definitions to provide a detailed view of service management and project management.

What is ITIL Service Management?

Service management is a process-based practice that focuses on adding value to the customers in the form of services. It mainly focuses on delivering IT services to benefit the customers. Service management believes in making the customer journey smooth and easy by reducing customer risks. It helps in adding more value to the overall business goals with a customer-focused approach.

Some prominent KPIs of service management are Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and Operational SLAs.

What is ITIL Project Management?

To be specific, project management mainly focuses on the project on hand. Then, with the proper techniques and knowledge, it works on laid down plans to meet customers’ and stakeholders’ expectations. Finally, it is all about effectively executing the projects and meeting the deadlines.

Some project management KPIs are Schedule variance, Effort Variance, and Cost Variance.

Difference Between Service Management and Project Management

When we understood both the definition of service management and project management, we realized that a project is a method that designs and transitions services into existence. The primary difference between both techniques is that ITIL service management deals with the ongoing lifecycle approach of IT, whereas ITIL project management adopts the temporary management of a project.

Some Key Differences Between Service Management & Project Management:

  • The project management process uses five steps to deliver the project: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control, Monitor, Close. At the same time, service management includes designing, creating, producing, supporting, and managing the overall lifecycle of IT Services.
  • Once the project is finished, the project manager will move to another project which is also temporary, and that increases the overall responsibility of project management. Whereas service management has less responsibility as compared to project management.
  • The core benefits of project management are: improving the chances of accomplishing project goals, helping to improve the development of the team, and helping in growing the organization. The core benefits of service management are: It adds value, helps in reducing operational cost, enhances visibility, and improves efficiency.
  • The main job of project management is to complete the projects and meet the desired goals for the organization. Whereas service management ensures that IT services are working correctly with the proper process, technology, and members so that the organization will achieve its targeted goals.
  • Project management involves a lot of tasks, processes, and inputs that make it difficult compared to service management.

The above-discussed difference points between project management and service management are something that every organization should focus on. Whether managing your organization proficiently or adding enhanced productivity, service and project management play a vital role. Project management and service management work very well together and add a growth factor for any organization.

The Similarities

We have seen the differences, but there are some similarities between the techniques and processes. Both the methods might differ on several points, but some similar things are – that they both adopt a process-based approach and focus on achieving the organizational goals. The ultimate goal of both techniques is to keep the customers happy through collaborative efforts.

Both provide enhanced transparency and a framework of strategies that move forward the organization in achieving improved results. Whether you read about the differences or similarities, both contribute towards achieving the business goals.


We hope that the differences mentioned above between service management and project management have given you detailed insights. Both techniques are crucial for any organization that provides better transparency and visibility throughout the environment. Whether service management or project management, both provide enhanced control and oversight that helps the organization achieve its business goals faster. ServiceOps project management is also one-way organizations manage their overall IT operations and bring change to accomplish business goals quickly.

Project and service management are not the same, but they share a relationship that organizations need to bring improvements and overall results.

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