Some organizational structures can definitely impair the organization’s ability to deliver project success. So choosing the correct organization structure is imperative to the success of that particular organization.
The three primary project management organizational structures are functional, matrix, and pure project.
Every organization must compare and contrast these three organizational structures to figure out which one will best fit their organizations wants and needs. Once an organization finds its organization structure, it will help put them on the road to success.
Primary Project Management Organizational Structures
There are three primary project management organizational structures that have become the foundation for how an organization is run: functional, matrix, and pure project. Each structure has advantages, and if used correctly and in the right environment, the structure can further the completion of projects (Tait, 2010).
These structures have many disadvantages as well. An organizational structure can help or hurt project success, plus some organizational structures can impair your ability to deliver projects. A company’s organizational structure can either get in the way of, or help support the overall success of their projects.
Some organizational structures may also impede the ability to share resources and impair the workers ability to deliver projects. But these structures can still work well if the project managers understand them correctly and good communication exists. Choosing the correct organizational structure for each project is imperative for the success of that project.
Companies must compare and contrast all choices to pick the best one suited for their particular project.
The functional organization, the most common type of project management organizational structure, works best in small organizations where all the sections are geographically close together and provide a small number of goods and/or services. The organization is broken up into different structures based on specialty in the functional organization.
An advantage to the functional structure is the role of the functional manager, which means there’s only one boss (Tait, 2010). Having one boss makes it easier to manage specialists and reduces or prevents conflicts of interest. The main disadvantage is that project managers have limited authority and a limited career path in this type of structure.
The matrix organizational form is an attempt to combine the advantages of the pure functional structure and the product organizational structure (Kerzner, 2006). This form is suited for “project-driven” companies such as construction. The power and authority used by the project manager come directly from the general manager since each project represents a potential profit, so the project manager has total responsibility and accountability for project success.
Project management is a “coordinative” function, whereas matrix management is a collaborative function division of project management (Kerzner, 2006). There are certain ground rules that exist in a matrix development that include: participants spend full time on projects, horizontal and vertical channels must exist for making commitments, quick and effective methods for conflict resolution, good communication between managers, managers have input in the planning process, horizontally and vertically oriented managers must be willing to negotiate for resources, and horizontal lines must be permitted to operate as a separate entity (except for administrative purposes).
The matrix structure can provide a rapid response to changes, conflicts, and other project needs.
Conflicts are normally minimal, but those requiring resolution are easily resolved using hierarchical referral (Kerzner, 2006). Almost all of the disadvantages of the traditional structure are eliminated due to the abundance of advantages in the matrix structure.
When an organization has a fewer number of projects but the projects have longer duration, a pure project organization is proposed. Each project manager is appointed and he or she is responsible to conduct all activities associated with the project, so the project manager is responsible to the program manager.
The project manager has fully authority for the execution of the project and he reports to the program manager in the parent organization (Scribd, 2011).
This means lines of communication will be shortened because the project manager directly communicates with the parent project organization members. In the pure project structure, the fast reaction time keeps activities on schedule, but technology suffers because without strong functional groups, which maintain interactive technical communication, the company’s outlook for meeting the competition may be severely hampered (Kerzner, 2006).
Once an organization finds its organization structure, it will help put them on the road to success. There are three primary project management organizational structures to choose from, which include: functional, matrix, and pure project. Every organizational structure has advantages as well as disadvantages, but choosing the correct structure can help implement a successful project.
This is why it is so important to compare and contrast these organizational structures and choosing the correct one to meet all your company’s needs and wants, because choosing the wrong one could end in failure of the project. The functional organization structure is the most common type of project management organizational structure. It works best in small organizations where all the sections are geographically close together and provide a small number of goods and/or services.
The matrix structure is for “project-driven” companies such as construction. It is a combination of both functional and pure projects structures and each team member has two bosses; project manager and functional manager.
An organization that has a fewer number of projects but they have a longer duration of time, that is when the pure project is used. After these project management organization structures are compared and a company figures out which structure would be the best method to manage a project team, success almost inevitable.
Kerzner, H. (2006). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. Wiley.
Tait, R. (2010, May 10). Types of organizational structures. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5396817_types-organization-structures.html
Scribd, Initials. (2011). Pure project organization. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/27605941/Pure-Project-Organization