Project Management and Organistational Factors

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In this article we will discuss organizational influences on project management

Every organization has its own culture, style, leadership approaches, and employee personalities that make it unique. These organizational characteristics greatly influence how projects are performed and managed.

This module will focus on different organizational cultures and styles and their impact on projects. In addition, we will discuss communication within the organization and how different styles can impact how projects are conducted, next we will review the impact that organizational structure has on how projects are performed and finally, we will examine organizational process assets and enterprise environmental factors.

Organizational Cultures and Styles

Organizations are unique and create their own cultural norms and styles for performing their operations. The norms and styles also impact project management, especially influencing the initiating and planning phases of the project. How the work is performed and who makes the decisions for the project will also be influenced by the culture of the organization.

Cultures and operational styles are considered enterprise environmental factors. We will discuss these factors and their importance in Module Four. The cultures and routine operational styles will impact the project’s ability to meet the objectives, stay on budget, and finish on time.

Project managers need to understand the organization’s culture in order to effectively plan projects for success. Culture also plays a valuable role in project management since many companies are now global and the project teams often consist of various cultures, so managers must recognize these differences and bring the team together.

Organizational Communications

One of the most important elements of project management success is communication. The organization’s communication style will have a major impact on the success or failure of potential projects. Project managers need to recognize the communication style of the organization and determine the most effective email, instant messaging, face-to-face meetings, and social media can all be considered. If there are virtual team members, a strong emphasis must be placed how the team will work and communicate to ensure that everyone stays informed of the project’s status and has access to all relevant information, both formal and informal.

Organizational Structures

Organizations spend a great deal of time deciding on the operational structure that will work best for them. Organizational structure is another enterprise environmental factor. The structure is directly related to the availability of resources, decision-making, and the operational performance of the project’s tasks.

There are three main types of organizational structures: Functional, Matrix, and Project based. The functional structure is usually described as a hierarchy. Employees have one clear superior and the support staff are grouped by department or specialty. Each department has a certain function that it performs within the organization and often performs its work independently of other departments.

Matrix organizations are a mixture of the functional and project based structures. Matrix organizations are broken down into weak, balanced, and strong depending on the project manager’s authority level. In a weak matrix, the role of the project manager is transformed into a project coordinator or expediter. These would be considered support roles and the individuals would have very little control or authority.

The final organizational structure is the project based structure. In this structure, team members are often located physically together or connected virtually. In this structure, project managers are given a high level of authority with the team members collaborating and reporting to the project manager,

In some instances, organizations will combine all three of these structures together into a composite organizational structure. The team will be comprised of full-time workers from other departments who eport to the project manager, however, they will likely still perform their normal day-to-day activities.

Organizational Process Assets

Organizational process assets include plans, processes, policies, procedures, and knowledge bases specific to the organization performing the projects. These processes include the practices and knowledge the organization has that can be used during new project phases. Organizational processes often come from the archived information about past projects and include risk data, schedules, and budget information. During new projects, the project team members will add to these processes and knowledge base to assist future projects.

Organizational process assets are placed into two categories: processes and procedures and the corporate knowledge base.

Processes and Procedures

The processes and procedures are the standard approaches the organization takes for projects, this incudes project methodologies, standard approaches to task types and documentations standards. It should cover all phases of a project from Initiation and planning, through execution, monitoring and controlling and final closing.

Corporate Knowledge Base

The corporate knowledge base contains the data gathered and knowledge learned from past projects This information is usually archived and available for future project teams to review. The knowledge base can include the following:

  1. Configuration Management Knowledge Base

    This IS baseline for an organization’s standards, policies, and procedures.

  2. Project Documents

These are records past project and include financial analysis of results, lessons learned and issue and defect management documentation and analysis.

  1. Action Item Results

This type of information contains analysis results for project and details of the project implementation

Enterprise Environmental Factors

Enterprise environmental factors refer to the conditions that are beyond the scope of control of the project team. These factors should be considered during the planning phase of the project. These factors can have a positive or negative impact on the project depending on the factor and how it is managed by the project manager and the project team. Some of the factors include the following:

  • Organizational culture, structure, and governance
  • Geographic distribution of facilities, resources, and project team
  • Communication strategies of the organization
  • Marketplace conditions
  • Personnel administration
  • Project management information system

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