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Using a Projectized Structure to Administer Your Project

Many project managers use a projectized organization structure to administer their projects. This type of structure groups together all personnel working on a particular project. Project team members are often located together and under the direct authority of the project manager for the duration of the project.

As an example, a design engineer, an IT specialist, and a test engineer all work on Project A, while a different design engineer and a different test engineer work on Project B:

A projectized structure for administering projects.
A projectized structure for administering projects.

The project manager has almost total authority over the members of her team in the projectized structure. She makes assignments and directs team members’ task efforts; she controls the project budget; she conducts team members’ performance assessments and approves team members’ raises and bonuses; and she approves annual leave.

The projectized structure has the following advantages:

  • All members of a project team report directly to the project manager. This clarified and simplified reporting structure reduces the potential for conflicting demands on team members’ time and results in fewer and shorter lines of communication. In addition, it facilitates faster project decision making.

  • Project team members can more easily develop a shared sense of identity, resulting in a stronger commitment to one another and to the success of the project. Consistent focus on a single project with the same group of team members gives people a greater appreciation of one another’s strengths and limitations, as well as a deeper understanding of and a stronger belief in the value of the intended project results.

  • Everyone on the team shares the processes for performing project work, communication, conflict resolution, and decision making. The projectized structure enhances project productivity and efficiency because more time can be devoted to doing work rather than creating systems to support doing the work.

The projectized structure has the following disadvantages:

  • Higher personnel costs: Even when several projects have similar personnel needs, different people with the same skill set have to be assigned to each one. As a result, chances are greater that projects won’t be able to fully support people with specialized skills and knowledge, which can lead to either keeping people on projects longer than they’re actually needed or having to cover people’s salaries when their project doesn’t have enough work to support them full time.

  • Reduced technical interchange between projects: Providing all the skills and knowledge required to perform a project by assigning people full time to the project team reduces the need and the opportunity for sharing work experiences with people on other teams.

  • Reduced career continuity, opportunities, and sense of job security: Because people are hired to work on one specific project team, they have no guarantee that the organization will need their services when their current project comes to an end.

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