Resource Pressures in a Functional Organization

Competition for resources and project priorities can become fierce when multiple projects are undertaken within a functional organization. For example, in my organization, it's common to have competing project requests from three or more departments all vying for the same resources. Thrown into the heap is the requirement to make, for example, mandated tax law changes, which automatically usurps all other priorities. This sometimes causes frustration and political infighting. One department thinks their project is more important than another and will do anything to get that project pushed ahead of the others. Again, it takes great skill and diplomatic abilities to keep projects on track and functioning smoothly. In Chapter 2, "Creating the Project Charter," I'll discuss the importance of gaining stakeholder buy-in, and in Chapter 5, "Developing the Project Budget," I'll talk about the importance of communication to avert some of these problems.

Project managers have little authority in functional organizations, but with the right skills, they can successfully accomplish many projects. Table 1.1 highlights the advantages and disadvantages of this type of organization.

TABLE 1.1 Functional Organizations

Advantages

Disadvantages

There is an enduring organizational

Project managers have little to no formal

structure.

authority.

There is a clear career path with separation

Multiple projects compete for limited

of functions, allowing specialty skills

resources and priority.

to flourish.

Employees have one supervisor with a clear

Project team members are loyal to the func

chain of command.

tional manager.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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