Choosing An Organizational Form

3. Arrange the key tasks by sequence and decompose them into work packages.

4. Determine which project subsystems are required to carry out the work packages and which subsystems will work particularly closely with which others.

5. List any special characteristics or assumptions associated with the project—for example, level of technology needed, probable length and size of the project, any potential problems with the individuals who may be assigned to the work, possible political problems between different functions involved, and anything else that seems relevant, including the parent firm's previous experiences with different ways of organizing projects.

6. In light of the above, and with full cognizance of the pros and cons associated with each structural form, choose a structure.

Project objective: To design, build, and market a multitasking portable personal computer containing 8-, 16-, and 32-bit processors, 16 Mbytes RAM, at least 250 Mbytes of hard memory, at least 60MHz processing speed, weigh no more than 4 pounds, have an active matrix color display, have a battery life of 6 hours under normal operating conditions, and retail at $3000 or less.

Key Tasks

A. Write specifications.

B. Design hardware, do initial tests.

C. Engineer hardware for production.

D. Set up production line.

E. Manufacture small run, conduct quality and reliability tests.

F. Write (or adopt) operating systems.

G. Test operating systems.

H. Write (or adopt) applications soft ware.

I. Test applications software. I. Prepare full documentation, repair and user manuals. K. Set up service system with manuals and spare parts L. Prepare marketing program. M. Prepare marketing demonstrations.

Organizational Units

Eng. Dept., Mfg. Div. Eng. Dept., Mfg. Div. Mfg. Div. and Q.A. Dept., Exec. V.P. staff

Software Prod. Div.

Software Prod. Div.

Tech. Writing Section (Eng. Div.) and Tech.

Writing Section (Software Prod. Div.) Service Dept., Mktg. Div.

Without attempting to generate a specific sequence for these tasks, we note that they seem to belong to four categories of work.

1. Design, build, and test hardware.

2. Design, write, and test software.

3. Set up production and service/repair systems with spares and manuals.

4. Design marketing effort, with demonstrations, brochures, and manuals.

Based on this analysis, it would appear that the project will need the following elements:

• Groups to design the hardware and software.

• Groups to test the hardware and software.

• A group to engineer the production system for the hardware.

• A group to design the marketing program.

• A group to prepare all appropriate documents and manuals.

• And, lest we forget, a group to administer all the above groups.

These subsystems represent at least three major divisions and perhaps a half-dozen departments in the parent organization. The groups designing the hardware and the multiple operating systems will have to work closely together. The test groups may work quite independently of the hardware and software designers, but results seem to improve when they cooperate. We can prepare a simple responsibility chart for the tasks (Figure 4-6).

Trinatronics has people capable of carrying out the project. The design of the hardware and operating systems is possible in the current state of the art, but to design such systems at a cost that will allow a retail price of $3000 or less will require an advance in the state of the art. The project is estimated to take between 18 and 24 months, and to be the most expensive project yet undertaken by Trinatronics.

Based on the sketchy information above, it seems clear that a functional project organization would not be appropriate. Too much interaction between major divisions is required to make a single function into a comfortable organizational home for everyone. Either a pure project or matrix structure is feasible, and given the choice, it seems sensible to choose the simpler pure project organization if the cost of additional personnel is not too high. Note that if the project had required only part-time participation by the highly qualified scientific professionals, the matrix organization might have been preferable. Also, a matrix structure would probably have been chosen if this project were only one of several such projects drawing on a common staff base.


Executive V.P. Staff

Marketing Division

Manufacturing Division

Engineering Division

Software Division

Research & Development Division

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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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