At the start of every project, it is important to select the organization structure. There are three organizational structures the functional, matrix, and pure project structures. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages. All three are different and when it comes to structuring a project the project managers is in charge of deciding which organizational structure is best fit for the project. This paper will focus on functional structure, matrix structure and pure project structure.
In a functional project structure, employees are departmentalized by task similarity, and projects are performed inside the departmental unit such as accounting, marketing and human resources departments are examples of units grouped together based on the functions they perform (Murray, 2014).
Functional project structure is the most successful and oldest structure. In functional project structure components are divide into two a project is assigning to a functional manager who coordinates with others to assigning the project to different departments. Each department is in charge of completing their portion of the work and reporting to the department managers.
Advantage and Disadvantages
Functional structure project has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is the flexibility and staff contributions. Employees are switched back and forth between projects. The department will be able to provide professional and technical personnel and after completion of the work it can go back to his original work. The disadvantage is that this structure is not very effective when used on more complex projects. The individual accountability is not recognized. An other disadvantages the focus is not set on the client it is focused on activities rather than function, slow responses , lack of interest and motivation in certain areas, and difficulties in communicating.
Difficulties in coordination is an other disadvantage since project manager are only responsible for part of the project and others are responsible for other parts of the project.
The matrix structure is a combination of both the functional and pure project organizational structures. The matrix structure was evolved from the flaws of the functional and pure project structures. In the matrix structure, functional managers and project managers have the equal powers. Since both functional and project manager are equal the staff generally works under two bosses. This structure works well when more than one project is being coordinated.
Advantage and Disadvantage
The advantage of the matrix structure is the highly skilled and capable resources can be shared between the functional units and important strategic projects. An other advantage is that efficiency is higher. A disadvantage is that staff has to report to two bosses, which can add confusion, and conflicts may arise since both bosses have equal authority and power. The disadvantages of the Matrix structure include balancing out who is in charge of the project, failure of project due to lack of negotiating skills, and balancing time, cost, and performance.
The pure project structure dedicates it resources and self-contained staff to work full time on the project. Pure project structure is mostly used on complex projects since it strongly focuses on the work and completing the project. This structure reacts rapidly to the needs of clients contrary to those in the functional organizational structure. In this structure each project manager is appointed and is responsible to conduct all responsibility associated with the project. The project manager has full authority of the of the project.
Advantage and Disadvantage
The pure project structure advantages are that it is clear of who has the projects authority, it access special expertise, the project is focused and prioritized, as well simplified communications. This structure allows the project to be separated from the rest of the parent system becoming a self contained unit with its own staff, administration, and tying to the parent firm through periodic progress reports and oversight (Meredith, 2012). In this structure staffs only report to on person so decisions are made quicker. Pure project structure disadvantages are include duplication of effort, rivalries, uncertain reintegration of resources and unclear motivations and loyalties as well goals and policies can be ignored. This structure disadvantages also include the transfers in technology and the use of resources, inconsistencies, and the project taking on a life of its own.
Not any of the three organization structure is better than another. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages as discussed above. When it come into choosing which organization structure to use decision depends on what the project manager is trying to accomplish. All three structures work differently depending on the project so the project manager has to decide which organizational structure best suits that project. In doing so the factors that contribute to the project manager decision are the available resources, finances, and the timeline that project needs to be completed. For the project to be successful the project manager must compare and contrast the three organization structures and decide which is most suitable.
Organizational structures show the methods that can be used by an organization. The use of these structures determine the success and improvement of the productivity in an organization. Each structure is used to improve how organizations report and communicate with the other elements within the organization. Organizational structures are viewed as guidelines to set in place to assist task performance to all involved in the project. Functional organization, Pure Project organization, and Matrix organization are the three most popular project management structures that are still used today due to their success.
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