Selecting The Organizational Form

Project management has matured as an outgrowth of the need to develop and produce complex and/or large projects in the shortest possible time, within anticipated cost, with required reliability and performance, and (when applicable) to realize a profit. Granted that organizations have become so complex that traditional organizational structures and relationships no longer allow for effective management, how can executives determine which organizational form is best, especially since some projects last for only a few weeks or months while others may take years?

To answer this question, we must first determine whether the necessary characteristics exist to warrant a project management organizational form. Generally speaking, the project management approach can be effectively applied to a onetime undertaking that is21:

• Definable in terms of a specific goal

• Infrequent, unique, or unfamiliar to the present organization

• Complex with respect to interdependence of detailed tasks

• Critical to the company

Once a group of tasks is selected and considered to be a project, the next step is to define the kinds of projects, described in Section 2.5. These include individual, staff, special, and matrix or aggregate projects.

Unfortunately, many companies do not have a clear definition of what a project is. As a result, large project teams are often constructed for small projects when they could be

21. John M. Stewart, "Making Project Management Work." Reprinted with permission from Business Horizons, Fall 1965 (p. 54). Copyright © 1964 by the Board of Trustees at Indiana University.

handled more quickly and effectively by some other structural form. All structural forms have their advantages and disadvantages, but the project management approach appears to be the best possible alternative.

The basic factors that influence the selection of a project organizational form are:

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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