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Groups and teamwork
Groups and teamwork

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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
FunctionalLowest administration costs Reasonably successful in pastCoordination across functional areas is more difficult
Reasonably successful in pastInflexible
Pools technical and professional expertiseCommunication across functional areas is more difficult
Handles routine work wellLong, slow chain of command
Allows training and apprenticeship in departmentsPossibly poor communication with client
Line management has control of projects and changeTends to push decision making upwards
Easy to set up and terminate projectsNovel objectives difficult to achieve
Limits career development outside recognised paths for staff members
Tends to dampen creative initiatives
MatrixAcceptable to 'traditional' managersDual reporting lines of project staff
Retains functional strengths and control of paperworkStaff appraisal and performance measurement difficult
Some planning power in project teamCan cause conflicts of priorities for staff
Faster start-upsWider skills required of project manager (e.g. teambuilding more difficult)
Top management retains control of projects but relieved of day-to-day decisionsProject manager may not be able to influence who is assigned to the project
Flexibility of personnel assignedDilutes the resources available from functional areas
Reasonable interface with clients and customers is possible
Some teambuilding is possible
ProjectGreater authority and controlHigh administrative costs
Team members contribute to, and share, objectivesProject manager involved in more administration
Teambuilding and communication made easierDifficult to graft on to established organisations
Quicker decisionsProject more difficult to terminate
Fewer political problems Good client contactsProject staff may feel a lack of job security
Good client contactsProject staff may feel let down on return to functional job
High degree of management skills developmentProject staff may feel they have undefined career paths
Easier for top management to coordinate and influenceSlow to mobilise
Can give career development/change for team membersOften limited number of good project staff available
Builds synergy in team
Clear responsibilities, can be profit centres