Temporary Structures - Overview | PMQ D1.6a


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Temporary Structures - Overview | PMQ D1.6a

This video explains how a project works as a temporary structure, explaining the differences between project activities and operational activities.


- Ultimately projects are temporary structures within an organization that exists to deliver some kind of change. In this video we'll discuss the difference between operational and project responsibilities and organizational structures including some of their strengths and weaknesses. As you can see, there are some key differences between project and operational activities. While most businesses are doing a combination of project and BAU activities as any time there needs to be a balanced structure in place that allows operational or BAU responsibilities to continue while project work is ongoing. Okay, so let's move on to organizational structures now. There are three basic types of organizational structure within which you might be delivering your project, functional, matrix and project. The key difference across each structure is who holds the power, the project manager or the functional manager? In a functional organization, managers have control over everything that takes place and head up single discipline departments with all functional staff reporting into them. In this kind of organization, change doesn't happen often and projects would probably be viewed as a distraction from operational work. Next up, project organizations. In this sort of organization, projects are the main focus of work. Staff report into the project manager and routine operational work isn't a major focus. Instead projects form the majority of the work done by the organization. This type of structure is very typical for consultancies for instance. The last type of organization I need to talk about is the matrix organization. This is essentially hybrid of a functional and project organization with functional managers responsible for functional staff and project managers responsible for projects. Any organization that might have functional and project requirements will probably be using this sort of structure. Last up for this video we need to talk about some of the strengths and weaknesses of the different organizational structures. In a functional organization, expertise and lessons learnt are easy to share because tasks remain consistent. There is also a very clearly defined structure for reporting, and this structure tends to work very well where clear need for well run organization is priority. However functional organizations tend to struggle with project work as they're seen as a destruction from functional work. Anyone trying to run a project in the organization also might struggle with finding consistent stakeholders. Staff involved in a project might also not be fully aligned with the overall project goal because their priority is getting back to business as usual. In a project organization there is a commitment to project work so staff can innovate and work efficiently in his environment without destruction from functional duties. The project manager provides a single point of contact which is great for all staff involved. And the different functional disciplines will also have the opportunities to work more closely together. Project organizations do have a few problems though. Staff can sometimes feel insecure about their future as projects come to an end. Sometimes staff might not be 100% utilized which can mean wasted resources and experiences and lessons learned can be difficult to share as staff work on different projects. While the matrix organization is a hybrid of the functional and project organization it doesn't automatically solve all their problems. It does have a good balance of project and functional work. It also allows for more flexible and efficient use of resources. We have an equal focus on task completion and staff development. However, there can be conflict between the functional and project work of buying for resource. And that's it for this video. As you've seen, all organizations will use temporary structures like projects to one degree or another. There are also three basic ways organizations will view projects depending on the kind of work they do. This will directly impact the work of the project manager creating unique challenges for the project manager but also allowing them to create value in different ways.

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