Saturday 8 June 2019

The Project Organization

Different organizations have different structures, these differences in organization structure will translate into the organization of a project.

three types of organizational structures are

Functional: also known as traditional, hierarchical or vertical.

Organizations that utilize the Functional structure have a clear chain of command, typically if a project resides inside of a functional unit for example HR, that PM will generally report to the functional head and build the majority of their team from within that functional unit.
SimpleCoordination between functions can be difficult
Direct Access to technical resourcesProject can take a back seat to operations
Team members report to their boss

this structure is best when the project is contained within one functional area, since as a PM you'll be reporting to a functional head who's in charge of the personnel, money and scope you'll have very little power, you'll be more of a project coordinator than manager. You'll also be competing against operational priorities for resources. In this type of structure you'll have to rely heavily on soft skills to get what you need to be successful.

Pure Project Organization
this is the opposite of the functional organization, in the projectized organization the PM is the boss, is responsible for time, resources and scope. The personnel are 100% allocated to the project, the PM has full authority. In organizations that utilize the pure project approach to organization every endevour is temporary. Project work isn't organized by function but is rather allocated to a group of resources that come together to solve that particular unique problem.
In such an organization all of the team members report directly to the PM, and only work on their current project deliverables; this type of approach is ideal for multi year projects that require a dedicated team to solve a complex problem.

PM has full authority, all members report to PM Temporary all good things must come to an end
Simple structure don't have to negotiate for resources Resources can't be shared, must keep team busy
Direct access to permanent resources allocated to your project can create duplication
strong team identity and commitment, bonds form between colleagues

Matrix Organization
This organization structure tries to leverage the Pro's of both the functional and pure project organizations. In a matrix organization there are traditional functional units, but the projects will draw members from these functional units, but unlike the functional organization structure the resources are shared by the PM and the functional head, meaning that they have two bosses. Matrix organizations come in multiple flavors, ones that are considered weak will take on more of the traditional functional organization attributes whereas ones that are considered strong matrix organizations will take on more of the characteristics of the pure project organization.

the distinction of whether a matrix organization is considered

  • Weak: functional head controls resources
  • Balanced: functional head and PM share responsibility of resources
  • Strong: PM controls resources

Shared & flexible access to resources Employees have two Bosses
Resources are project focused Increased Conflict, employees have to balance operational with project work
Shared commitment between PM and functional head Communication complexity

As you can see none of these approaches are perfect the trick is to pick the approach that best fits the particular project.

Project length: for projects that are cross-functional and run multiple years the preferred structure is pure project or strong matrix.

# of functional areas needed: when numerous functional areas are required to complete a project than the more valuable it is to use a strong matrix or pure project approach.

Functional knowledge is key: when the project is within a functional unit and the knowledge is very niche than a functional organization may be best suited.