Project management requires integration of function and project delivery. Success relies on the technical expertise in each one of the many functions at varying times during the project. This requires a matrix organization to share resources between functional management and project management. This use of a matrix organizational structure for project management presents a major management challenge. To comprehend this challenge, the differences between the traditional organizational structure and the matrix organization must be known. In a traditional organization, the organizational structure is based on functional organizations. For example, on the chart engineering, production, marketing, and support are functional organizations. These functional organizations perform all the activities in the organization within their specific areas. This type of organization depends on each separate function performing within its specialty. There is little emphasis placed on cross-functional coordination or on communication with the customer. Each functional organization is responsible for the technical capabilities of its processes and people.
In a matrix organization, the project managers use resources (people, equipment, and material) from the functional organizations. This requires using the same resources in both functional management and project management. It also means the distribution of resources among various projects. In a matrix organization, responsibility, authority, and resources flow vertically through the functional organization and they flow horizontally from the project manager. Project managers influence the "what," "when," and "how much." These are the essential elements of the project. Functional managers direct the "how." The "hows" are the processes in the organization. In today's organizations, the functional managers are the overall process owners. They decide on how the process will operate.
Project management requires a full appreciation of the complexity of behavior in organizations. It also recognizes that successful work in an organization is not guaranteed, or even facilitated, by a traditional organization structure. Project work concentrates on pulling diverse activities together into short-term projects. It emphasizes communication and coordination of effort among functional departments such as planning, engineering, production, and marketing. Project management stresses functional departments focusing on distinct short-term outputs and products while performing their traditional continuous long-term operations. Project management facilitates successful negotiation of scarce time and resources. This strengthens the organization's ability to share responsibility and accountability throughout the organization. Rather than encouraging isolated work in each departmental setting, the project management approach encourages people to aim their functional expertise toward the organization goal (the project). This ensures that the organization can produce products and services on time, within budget, and performance standards, meeting and satisfying the needs of the customer.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.