Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

Project Management: What Type of Organisation is Best?

~ By John Reynolds

Project team organisation chart

Consider a company which is about to embark upon a project for the first time. A competent project manager is available, but this firm has never had to handle a complex project before, and now has to set up the most suitable organisation. If asked to advise, the project manager might immediately be faced with the question that often causes much controversy: should the company take all the key people destined to work on the project and place them under the direct management of the project manager, so that a purpose-built team will carry out the project? Or, at the other extreme: Would it be better to have a weak or balanced functional matrix in which the project manager, although held responsible for the whole project, has no direct line authority over the workforce. The project manager must then rely on the goodwill and co-operation of all the line managers for the success of the project.

It must be said that project managers do not always enjoy the luxury of being able to organise their own workforce. They are more likely to be appointed to an organisation that either exists already or has been set up specially by more senior managers. In both cases the project manager has to accept the organisation as a "fait accompli." However, someone will have the ultimate authority to choose or change the organisation structure so, if only for their benefit, the arguments for and against the principal options are presented below.

The first point to note is that the most successful organisation will make the best use of the people working within it. Those faced with the task of designing a new or changed project organisation would do well to imagine themselves working as an average person within the proposed organisation and ask the following questions:

  1. Would they have a clear sense of purpose and direction?
  2. How strongly motivated would they feel towards contributing to the project objectives?
  3. How easy would it be to communicate with other members of the organisations?
  4. Would they have ready access to expert help or advice on technical matters within their own professional discipline?
  5. How would they perceive their short and long-term career prospects?

Project teams have the advantage that they can each be directed to a single purpose: the successful completion of one project. A team can be completely autonomous. It is provided with and relies upon its own resources. There is no clash of priorities resulting from a clamour of different projects in competition for common (shared) resources.

Much is rightly said and written about the importance of motivating people who work on projects. An important aspect of motivation is the generation of a team spirit, in which everyone feels themselves to be part of the team and strives to meet the common team goals. It is clearly easier to establish a team spirit when a project team actually exists, as opposed to the case where the people are dispersed over a matrix organisation which is handling more than one project. Thus, the team organisation is preferred for most project management situations.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
What is the opposite word of weak?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

12 Tips for Being a Good Manager

Businessman revealing the inner superhero

Keeping a project management team running smoothly can be a challenge, especially when budgets are lean and expectations are high.

Project Planning Essentials

Tablet computer with project manager app and documents with Gantt and financial charts

Planning a project requires putting a series of tasks in order and determining dependencies between them. In practice it's never so straightforward.

10 Ways to Inspire Your Team

Green lead by example check mark and pencil

As a project manager you are in a prime position to inspire your team. Here are ten ways to get you started.

Stepping Up SMART Goals

What are your goals question in vintage wooden letterpress printing blocks

Here are some strategies and six simple steps for making sure your goals will be concise, clear, and produce the results for which you are looking.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Christee commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Wed 6 June 7:33am

Jennifer commented on…
Introduction to Project Management
- Tue 22 May 3:51pm

Kelsey commented on…
How to Create a Gantt Chart Using Microsoft Excel
- Wed 9 May 3:41pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Project Management Software/Program https://t.co/tPtCO93EO5 about 11 days ago

General Project Management • Project Management Software/Program https://t.co/P0i0pHFnK4 about 1 month ago

General Project Management • Re: Identification System for Project Management Methodology https://t.co/NFpZ4re9ix about 1 month ago