The Project As Part Of The Functional Organization

As one alternative for giving the project a "home," we can make it a part of one of the functional divisions of the firm. Figure 4-1 is the organizational chart for the University of Cincinnati, a functionally organized institution, if U.C. undertook the development of a Master of Science program in Project Management (or perhaps an MPM), the project would probably be placed under the general supervision of the senior vice president and provost, under the specific supervision of the dean of the College of Business Administration (and/or College of Engineering), and would be managed by a senior faculty member with a specialty in operations management— such as either of the authors of this book. (It might also be placed under the general supervision of the V.P. and dean for Graduate Studies and Research.) A project involving the construction of a new parking garage would fall under the V.P. for Business Affairs, as would a project to construct a local area network for all computers on the university campus. For functionally organized projects, the project is assigned to the functional unit that has the most interest in ensuring its success or can be most helpful in implementing it. As we noted in the case of the proposed MPM, more than one choice of parent may exist.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using functional elements of the parent organization as the administrative home for a project—assuming that one has chosen an appropriate function. The major advantages are:

1. There is maximum flexibility in the use of staff. If the proper functional division has been chosen as the project's home, the division will be the primary administrative base for individuals with technical expertise in the fields relevant to the project. Experts can be temporarily assigned to the project, make the required contributions, and immediately be reassigned to their normal work.

2. Individual experts can be utilized by many different projects. With the broad base of technical personnel available in the functional divisions, people can be switched back and forth between the different projects with relative ease.

3. Specialists in the division can be grouped to share knowledge and experience. Therefore, the project team has access to whatever technical knowledge resides in the functional group. This depth of knowledge is a potential source of creative, synergistic solutions to technical problems.

4. The functional division also serves as a base of technological continuity when individuals choose to leave the project, and even the parent firm. Perhaps just as important as technological continuity is the procedural, administrative, and overall policy continuity that results when the project is maintained in a specific functional division of the parent firm.

5. Finally, and not the least important, the functional division contains the normal path of advancement for individuals whose expertise is in the functional area. The project may be a source of glory for those who participate in its successful completion, but the functional field is their professional home and the focus of their professional growth and advancement.

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.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment