Groups and teamwork
Groups and teamwork

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Groups and teamwork

2.3.6 'Horses for courses'

Different team structures have different advantages and disadvantages. A structure may fit a particular task in one organisation better than another. On the next page, Table 1 sets out the strengths and weaknesses of different team structures.

Table 1 Strengths and weaknesses of different structures for project teams

Strengths Weaknesses
Functional Lowest administration costs Reasonably successful in past Coordination across functional areas is more difficult
Reasonably successful in past Inflexible
Pools technical and professional expertise Communication across functional areas is more difficult
Handles routine work well Long, slow chain of command
Allows training and apprenticeship in departments Possibly poor communication with client
Line management has control of projects and change Tends to push decision making upwards
Easy to set up and terminate projects Novel objectives difficult to achieve
Limits career development outside recognised paths for staff members
Tends to dampen creative initiatives
Matrix Acceptable to 'traditional' managers Dual reporting lines of project staff
Retains functional strengths and control of paperwork Staff appraisal and performance measurement difficult
Some planning power in project team Can cause conflicts of priorities for staff
Faster start-ups Wider skills required of project manager (e.g. teambuilding more difficult)
Top management retains control of projects but relieved of day-to-day decisions Project manager may not be able to influence who is assigned to the project
Flexibility of personnel assigned Dilutes the resources available from functional areas
Reasonable interface with clients and customers is possible
Some teambuilding is possible
Project Greater authority and control High administrative costs
Team members contribute to, and share, objectives Project manager involved in more administration
Teambuilding and communication made easier Difficult to graft on to established organisations
Quicker decisions Project more difficult to terminate
Fewer political problems Good client contacts Project staff may feel a lack of job security
Good client contacts Project staff may feel let down on return to functional job
High degree of management skills development Project staff may feel they have undefined career paths
Easier for top management to coordinate and influence Slow to mobilise
Can give career development/change for team members Often limited number of good project staff available
Builds synergy in team
Clear responsibilities, can be profit centres

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