There are many different types of projects; all have specific objectives, constraints (such as budgets and schedules) and a group or team responsible for the completion of the project.
Project teams are effective when both task and relationship behaviours are competently handled. The main task-oriented behaviours are:
estimating and planning;
assembling a team;
reporting and liaising;
putting tools into place.
The main relationship-oriented behaviours are:
managing and coordinating work;
managing inter-group relationships;
managing external boundaries.
Consider the following task statements and decide which form of organisation would be most appropriate for managing them. Where possible, briefly state the reason(s) for your choice.
(a) Processing applications for study with the Open University.
(b) Determining an information systems strategy for an organisation.
(c) Changing over the production lines in a pharmaceutical production/packing company each weekend.
(d) Designing and developing a new pharmaceutical production line.
(e) Installing a new production line in a pharmaceutical company.
(f) Improving the methods of course production in the Open University.
(g) Formulating a new suntan cream.
(h) Writing computer programs for a budgetary control system.
(i) Designing and implementing a new budgetary control system.
(a) Functionally arranged organisational hierarchy: clearly this is a set of routine functions with no project characteristics.
(b) Project (single) team structure: inputs to formulating the strategy would be needed from various user areas, plus professional and technical inputs. (For a relatively small organisation a matrix structure might be used.)
(c) Functional: while change-over work might well be done in teams, the operation is routine. Elements which could be passed from one functional area to another are: production planning; engineering (fitters); engineering (electrical); and manufacturing/production.
(d) Matrix project (possibly project (single) team): clearly this is a project because it is unique, but similar production lines will have been developed in the past. Significant inputs from various different specialists at different stages would be needed, suggesting a matrix project structure is most likely.
(e) Functional, probably with a project manager or coordinator: installing production lines will happen quite often in this industry, but the work will be the responsibility (almost entirely) of one department: engineering. This suggests using the existing functional organisation, but the work will need some coordination. If a new process, as well as new equipment, were involved a project organisation would be more likely.
(f) This could be either a functional or matrix project. Making incremental improvements would be the responsibility of the various line managers for the different functions involved; however, if new systems or radical change were involved a project structure would be needed – probably of a matrix type because of the various different professional interests (academics, editors, TV producers, etc.).
(g) Functional: formulating the suntan cream would, most likely, take place exclusively in the research and development department (with some marketing department input).
(h) Functional, possibly with baton-pass, or with a project manger or coordinator if this is part of a wider project. The question did not mention a new system, so the straightforward computerisation of an existing system with known requirements is implied – hence the choice of a functional approach.
(i) Project (single) team or matrix: a new system is being devised requiring various user and professional inputs (suggesting full project structure) but perhaps at different stages or to different degrees (suggesting a matrix).
Based on the characteristics of projects, and from your own experience, draw up a table contrasting project management with operations management.
|Project management||Operations management|
|Significant change||Any changes are small and evolutionary|
|Limited in time and scope||Never-ending|
|Resources transient||Resources stable|
|Goal-oriented management||Role-oriented management|
|Attempt to balance performance, time and budget||Performance, time and budget usually fixed and balanced|
|Need to balance objectives||Management generally in a state of equilibrium|
|More exciting (perhaps!)||'Steady as she goes' feel|
References for Reading 3
Association of Project Managers (1993) Body of Knowledge (revised).
Belbin, R.M. (1981) Management Teams, Heinemann.
Belbin, R.M. (1993) Team Roles at Work, Butterworth-Heinemann.
Boddy, D and Buchanan, D.A. (1992) Take the Lead, London, Prentice Hall.
Buchanan, D.A. and Boddy, D (1992) The Expertise of the Change Agent: Public Performance and Backstage Activity, London, Prentice Hall.
Chaudry-Lawton, R., Lawton, R., Murphy, K. and Terry, A. (1992) Quality: Change through Teamwork, Century Press.
Gray, S. (1994) Private communication to the author.
Morris, P.W.G. (1994) The Management of Projects, London, Thomas Telford Services Ltd.
Weiss, J.W. and Wysocki, R. (1994) 5-Phase Project management: A Practical Planning and Implementation Guide, Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley.