- Posted by ericshaw on April 15th, 2013
The current types of organizational structure of project management are: functional organizational structure, project-based organizational structure and matrix organizational structure.
1. Functional organizational structure.
Functional organizational structure is to be managed in the current organization hierarchical structure, once the project begins operation, the various components of the project are taken by the functional units, each unit is responsible for its charged component. If the the project established, a functional area play a dominant role, functional areas on completion of the project, senior managers will be responsible for project coordination.
Advantages of this structure: First, the use of personnel with greater flexibility, as long as the choice of a suitable functional departments as the project supervisor, the department will be able to provide professional and technical personnel required by the project, and technology experts can also be used by different projects and after completion of the work can go back to his original work; Second, when the project team members leave or leave the company, the functions can be used as the basis for maintaining the continuity of the project; third, functional department can provide a normal career path for professionals.
The disadvantage of this structure is: First, projects often lack of focus, each unit has its own core functions of general business, sometimes in order to meet their basic needs, responsibility for the project will be ignored, especially when the interest taken in the project brought to the unit not the same interest; Second, such organization has certain difficulties in the inter-departmental cooperation and exchanges; Third motivation is not strong enough for project participants, they think the project is an additional burden, and not directly related to their career development and upgrading; Fourth, in such organizational structure, sometimes no one should assume full responsibility for the project, often the project manager is only responsible for part of the project, others are responsible for the other parts of the project, which leads to difficulties in coordination situation.
2. Project-based organizational structure.
Project organizational structure refers to the creation of an independent project team, the team’s management is separated from the parent organization’s other units, have their own technical staff and management, enterprise assigns certain resources to project team, and grant project manager of the largest free implementation of the project .
The advantages of this structure: First, focus on this project team, project manager is solely responsible for the project, the only task for project members is to complete the project, and they only report to the project manager, avoiding the multiple leadership; Second, the project team’s decision is developed within the project, the reaction time is short; Third, in this project, members work with strong power, high cohesion, participants shared the common goal of the project, and individual has clear responsibilities.
The disadvantage of this organizational structure: First, when a company has several projects, each project has its own separate team, which will lead to duplication of efforts and the loss of scalable economies; Second, the project team itself is an independent entity, prone to a condition known as “Project inflammatory” disease, that is, there is a clear dividing line between the project team and the parent organization, weakening the effective integration between project team and the parent organization; Third, the project team members lack of a business continuity and security, once the project ended, return to their original functions may be more difficult.
3. Matrix organizational structure.
Matrix organizational structure is a hybrid form, it loads a level of project management structure on the functional hierarchical structure. According to the relative power of project managers and functional managers, in practice there are different types of matrix systems, respectively, Functional Matrix: in this matrix, functional managers have greater powers than project managers); Project Matrix: in this matrix, project managers have greater powers than functional managers); Balance Matrix: in this matrix, functional managers and project managers have the equal powers.
The advantages of this organizational structure: First, it is the same as functional structure that resources can be shared in multiple projects, which can significantly reduces the problem of redundant staff; Second, project is the focus of work, with a formal designated project manager will make him give more attention to the project, and responsible for the coordination and integration work between different units; Third, when there are multiple projects simultaneously, the company can balance the resources to ensure that all the projects can progress to complete their respective costs and quality requirements; Fourth, the anxiety of project members is reduced greatly after the end of the project, while they are strongly associated with the project, on the other hand, they have a “home” feeling about their functions.
The disadvantage is that this organizational structure: First, the matrix structure has exacerbated the tensions between functional manager and project manager; Second, under any circumstances, sharing equipment, resources and personnel among different projects will lead to conflict and competition for scarce resources; Third, in the process of project implementation, the project manager must negotiate and consult with the department managers on various issues, which leads to the delay in decision making; Fourth, matrix management is not according to the principles of unified management, project members have two bosses, the project manager and functional managers, when their commands are divided, it will make members at a loss.
Three different forms of the matrix organizational structure does not necessarily have the advantages and disadvantages described above: Project Matrix can increase the project’s integration, reduce internal power struggle, its weakness is poor control of their functional areas and prone to “project inflammation”; Functional Matrix can provide a better system for managing the conflict between different projects, but maintaining the control of functions is at the cost of inefficient integration of projects; Balanced Matrix can achieve the balance between technology and project requirements better, but its establishment and management is very subtle, is likely to encounter many problems related to matrix organization.
About the author:
Hi, My name is Eric Shaw, PMP, focus on project management field, my blog is http://www.mypmhome.com, welcome to visit.
- Posted by Ella_D on March 4th, 2013
Advances in technology have made ERP systems a popular way of optimizing how businesses operate. From streamlining production, HR and accounting processes to analyzing trends and reports, these software suites offer powerful benefits to businesses of all sizes.
However, the overall success of an ERP implementation is dependent on the strategic planning process. ERP implementation is a science and requires a methodical approach throughout every step, from assembling the project team, assessing business processes, setting objectives to developing the project plan.
In order to ease the transition, avoid these seven bottlenecks that can hinder the proper implementation of a new ERP solution.
1. Analyze Business Needs Thoroughly to Reduce Implementation Time
Although ERP suites are often distributed as a bundled platform, the features and modules needed for each business will vary greatly. Thoroughly analyzing business needs is essential in determining the proper features to integrate into the ERP platform.
This will also help to reduce costs and improve efficiency. By determining the business’ needs, the implementation can be staged and executed in the most efficient manner to reduce downtime and provide benefits where they are needed most. NetSuite consultants and other professional consultant services can help to speed up the process while ensuring that every aspect of the business is considered.
2. Conduct Thorough Training and Education
From employees to executives, resistance to change is common in any business. An ERP solution is only effective if it is accepted and used throughout the business. Proper training and education on the ERP platform can help to improve acceptance and reduce the number of errors made when using the new software. This allows your business to achieve results faster and conduct business with greater efficiency. Quick acceptance and transitioning to the new software also allows your business to retire old systems and free up existing resources for other projects.
3. Use Proper Load Testing to Prevent Post-Integration Issues
In most cases, cloud-based and SaaS ERP solutions will place stress on different parts of your business infrastructure than existing on-site solutions. This makes stress testing your new platform essential before deployment. These solutions typically use remote data centers and servers to host the platform as well.
Stress testing prior to deployment ensures that your new system will perform as expected and will allow you to make any needed changes to hardware or connectivity with minimal interruption to daily business operations.
4. Address Customization Concerns before Implementation to Avoid Conflicts
One of the biggest advantages offered by popular ERP platforms is customization. When choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, check with your provider to ensure that your desired customization and personalization options are available. Hosting features, such as multi-tenancy, might limit your options or introduce security concerns. Understanding how your ERP platform is hosted and how it might influence personalization options reduces the risk of complications or delays during the implementation process.
5. Ensure Compatibility with Existing Products
Sometimes, ERP solutions are not the best choice for a specific department or business process. If you intend to utilize existing software in conjunction with a new ERP solution, it is best to ensure compatibility between the products. Many ERP solutions feature API connectivity or allow users to import data from existing software to provide added benefit while still allowing the use of legacy systems. Inability to utilize existing software can delay deployment of the new system, create confusion and interrupt existing business practices.
6. Treat ERP Implementation as a Long-Term Project
Many companies assume that ERP implementation is a quick and simple solution. ERP management services will help to optimize implementation of a new system, however the process will still take time. The time needed to complete the implementation process will vary based on complexity and business needs. By recognizing the extended nature of many ERP implementations, businesses can reduce the risks of exceeding their ERP budget and ensure that the system is integrated properly.
7. Ensure that Proper Support and Resources are Available
Cloud-based ERP systems allow businesses to outsource the majority of their infrastructure and IT needs. However, there will still be times when on-site IT services might be required. By ensuring that proper support and resources are available when needed, your business can prevent any potential delays due to unexpected issues. Familiarizing support staff and other responsible parties on the support structure of your ERP service provider is also an essential part of preparing for a new ERP solution. This will ensure prompt issue resolution should the need for advanced support arise.
By properly researching and planning the ERP implementation, your business can reduce delays, avoid bottlenecks in the implementation process and maximize the return from these powerful software solutions. From conflicts with existing software to inadequate system training, these seven issues are some of the most common issues faced by businesses upgrading to a cloud-based or SaaS ERP solution.
- Posted by Ella_D on February 26th, 2013
Keeping projects moving in any business can be a challenge, but with the help of technology, many of the traditional obstacles to efficiency can be overcome.
Some of the roadblocks have always been to create well-laid out plans, transfer documents to multiple people for editing, meet deadlines, and finally, get the proper approvals to get the project moving from paper to reality. New digital tools can facilitate each of these steps.
Tip #1. Start with Proven Templates
Projects of any kind have elements in common: definition, planning, execution, closing, managing, and assessing. In any industry or business, each of these elements will also have typical subheadings such as goals, steps to reach the goals, a timeline, reasons for the steps, procedures, managers, contributors, etc.
Groups with expertise in managing projects have developed template software packages which can help any company, large or small, develop and track a project from beginning to end, including schedules and deadlines.
Tip #2. Provide collaborative document writing and editing in real time
One of the largest bottlenecks in project flow is the development of documents when multiple people are expected to contribute, edit and approve them. Cloud computing has made it possible for any number of people to access documents and create, edit or comment. There are dozens of available document programs. Some are free, while others with more features may be expensive.
Real time commenting and editing keeps the process moving. Contributors will always be assured that they are responding to the most recent edits.
Tip #3. Consider Wiki software for complex documents
Another option for creation and documentation of text is wiki software. Wikis are ideal for documents that are complex and must be linked for easy navigation. Archives, appendices, images and exports are all easily accomplished, even with free software. The editors are simple WYSIWYG design, and users can be granted full or partial permissions.
Tip #4. E-signatures can expedite permissions
Understanding e-signatures and their capabilities may be key to getting a project out the door in a timely manner. Approvals from various managers, and even vendors or contractors might be required. E-signatures are recognized as legally binding. There is a long precedent for the acceptance of electronic signatures, going as far back as telegrams sent by Morse Code. Such signatures were first held binding in 1869. Faxed signatures, which are not originals, are also recognized, point-of-sale signing of electronic pads, and even emails have stood legal testing.
In most U.S. states, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act is the accepted standard for what constitutes an acceptable electronic signature. By attaching a simple software package to project management documents, the required approvals can be obtained securely and quickly. This option can often save days of delay if papers must be physically moved from office to office to obtain needed signatures.
Tip #5. Allow participants to interact in real time
Some project software packages contain built-in indicators of other colleagues presence, and instant messaging capability. This allows participants to interact and discuss aspects of the project whether they are separated by a cubicle wall or an ocean. This ability to interact will enhance the speed of project development and delivery. A true team effort can be accomplished even when partners are separated by distance.
In today’s competitive market, moving an idea from a brainstorming session to a design ready for production quickly and effectively, with proper documentation is critical. The speed and efficiency of this process can be the difference between success and failure. Taking advantage of project building technology can turbo-charge your next project.
- Posted by elocman on January 14th, 2013
The project initiation phase is the critical phase within the project life-cycle. It is also called the project pre-planning phase and about stating the basic characteristics of the project. To successfully initiate a project, you need to which basics steps are required to carry out to develop a business case, undertake a feasibility study, develop a project charter and others.
Here are the basic steps of the project initiation phase:
- Step #1. Create a Business Case. A business case document is the formal start of the project when the project sponsor (or the project initiator) gives a description of the business problem/opportunity. The project is to be initiated to address the problem or provide alternative solutions. The business case document will include the business problem and potential costs associated with the project implementation.
- Step #2: Make a Feasibility Study. A feasibility study is a research conducted to determine whether the project can be accomplished and to identify the likelihood of the alternative solutions. The feasibility study investigates whether the benefits stated in the business case can be delivered. It also depicts relationship of business costs with the project solutions.
- Step #3: Develop Project Charter. Once the business problem/opportunity and possible solutions have been identified, your next step is to develop a project charter which is the critical document of the initiation phase. The project charter essentially describes what your project sets out to solve the business problem and what the boundaries of the project will be. It specifies the project vision, goals & objectives, scope & boundaries, deliverables & expectations, project organization and an implementation plan.
- Step 4: Assign Project Management Team. The project charter is developed so you can proceed with identifying human resources required for delivering the project and achieving its goals. You will need to appoint the management team which will take the primary responsibility for the planning and implementation of your project. The Project Committee should be established and the project manager should be assigned. Then the project manager will work on recruiting the project team and making project assignments. Once the team is recruited and assignments are made, the project initiation phase is almost finished; only one step is ahead.
- Step 5: Perform Project Review. Your last step to take through the project initiation phase is about reviewing your project. A review stage should be conducted to ensure that the project is successfully initiated – this means all of the initiation activities are completed. Once the project is reviewed, the project planning phase will be.
- Posted by elocman on November 26th, 2012
Most companies involved in managing projects often have to use multiple types of project report to establish communication between the managers and the performers. However, every report takes some time to develop, maintain, read and follow up.
Obviously it would be much faster and cost-effectively to use several standard report formats. Standard types of report would definitely allow simplifying the reporting process, minimizing time waste and avoiding misunderstandings between teams involved in project management. Let’s find out what standard types of project report are used most frequently in successful companies. If you need to learn more about reporting and other project management facets, visit the best management guide.
Type 1. Status Report
Obviously the Status Report communicates the general status of the project to the stakeholders. This type of report lets the stakeholders understand the current health of the project in terms of the key constraints – Scope, Time, Costs, & Quality. The Status Report also shows the next steps on the current project stage, the roadblocks to be removed until the stage starts, and the key metrics regarding performance.
Type 2. Risk Inventory
The Risk Inventory report includes a summary of the risks that have been identified, analyzed and assessed at the project planning phase. It shows how the risks develop during the project implementation and what actions are taken to prevent risk occurrence.
The Risk Inventory report gives the reader an idea of the general project state in terms of the risks resolved and risks remaining. It is used to develop the Status Report template.
Type 3. Issue Report
The Issue Report is a summary of the issue log which documents how the project deals with risks that have either come to occurrence or an unexpected event happened. It lists the current issues and links them to related risks.
The Issue Report focuses the reader on what is being actively done to address the issues. It specifies priority per issue and a description of how to solve the issue or how the issue has been already solved.
Type 4. Executive Summary
The Executive Summary is a strategic-level report that provides a solid understanding of the project current state, the benefits it will deliver, and how the project fits into existing business strategies. This document also describes how the project will ultimately improve the bottom-line of the organization.
The Executive Summary report is written objectively with reference to actual performance measures. It is submitted to strategists for review and decision making. The report serves as the basis for understanding the current situation and developing solutions to move the project back to where it should be.
- Posted by elocman on August 9th, 2012
A good project manager keeps good documentation. That person organizes project documentation in a way that ensures easy and authorized access to document creation, editing and archiving. But how to know which documents to develop and keep within a project? In this article I’m going to list top 5 documents that you, as a great project manager, must keep organized.
The most important project documents are as follows:
- Project Charter
- Working Schedule
- Status Report
- Risk Register
- Communication Management Plan
1. Project Charter
The Project Charter is the fundamental document that is created at the initiation (conceptualization) stage of a project. This document approves project launch and tells the project manager that it is time to begin team building and work planning activities.
The Project Charter determines the following items:
- Reason(s) why start the project
- Business objectives to be attained
- Benefits to be gained
- Boundaries and assumptions (which will be analyzed and specified later during the project planning phase)
- Potential risks and opportunities
- High-level budget
The Project Charter serves as the basis for a project plan. This fundamental document states the original intent of work and helps management teams ensure the project does not fall into scope creep. It is a guide for project managers on what goals to complete with what resources and authorities and under what expectations
2. Working Schedule
This must-have document defines the beginning and end of project work and breaks it down into stages, activities and tasks. Each task has a time-frame (duration), resource, and dependency upon other tasks. The schedule serves as the baseline for managing target dates and making adjustments to the project plan.
3. Status Report
This fundamental document keeps everyone informed of how work is being progressed at any given point in time. A status report helps understand the following:
- What accomplishments are got since the last report?
- When is the next report on the project to be generated?
- What are the issues and risks to solve at a given stage?
- Are there any special needs that must be discussed?
4. Risk Register
Any project comes up with a portion of risk. And that’s why a risk register needs to be created for the project in order to ensure that every possible risk is identified and analyzed and that a response strategy is developed.
The risk register categorizes risks by probability of occurring and also determines the severity of their impact on work results. This fundamental document also refers to action plans that prevent registered risks from occurring.
5. Communications Management Plan
A communications management plan minimizes any misunderstandings between project participants and ensures that information is distributed to right people at right time.
This fundamental document is subsidiary to the project plan. It is developed during the planning stage.
- Posted by Keith Casey on May 30th, 2012
Project managers understand how critical the need to streamline all their project’s activities really is. The only way to reach milestones on time and ensure key deliverables are achieved is to build efficiency into every step of the system. So why do so many project managers, especially those in small and mid-sized businesses, rely on outdated technology that isn’t interoperable?
The pain of different technologies Disparate systems that can’t communicate with each other quickly become bottlenecks in any system, slowing the entire process. These systems cause undue hardship on the project’s contributors, increasing the effort needed just to make simple things work. Fighting to make dissimilar technologies talk to each other takes time and money. It can cause delays that may contribute to missed deadlines, faulty deliverables and possibly even lead to the downfall of the entire project. There has to be a better way.
The ERP solution
Large companies already know about ERP. ERP stands for “Enterprise Resource Planning.” A properly-executed ERP solution unifies all business functions, creating efficient, streamlined processes. It promotes effective implementation of business technology, including project-related applications, by unifying a company’s platforms. Applications in an effective ERP system share a similar interface and a common database. This benefits project shareholders and all employees by giving them a common, familiar interface to use during their project-related activities. This cosmetic change is only the beginning, though.
A common data set
Where ERP shines is on the database side of things, where all levels of the business and all project participants share a common set of data. To fully appreciate this, consider the following example. The project manager reorganizes deliverables, affecting the need for raw materials. The ordering department is automatically updated and can order these assets right away since their data set was altered by the project manager’s actions. As soon as the stock department inventories the new materials, manufacturing becomes aware of their presence and can get to work fabricating the product. This type of information sharing greatly increases the efficiency of any project and will help all businesses, not just the enterprise-sized companies.
ERP and small businesses
Many who know about ERP assume it doesn’t scale, is expensive and can only be applied to the largest companies. This just isn’t true. A growing number of small and mid-sized businesses are relying on ERP products and firms like Syntax's JD Edwards consulting to implement scalable, efficient ERP solutions to help them get the most out of projects and all business activities. There is no need to surrender efficiency and let your projects suffer just because you’re not one of “the big guys.” ERP consultants can help implement an a la carte solution to cover the needs of businesses of any size and on any budget. These ERP applications can be purpose-built to suite the exact needs of the organization and its specific, project-related needs. With a familiar feel, methodology for bridging departments and shared database solution, a scalable Enterprise Resource Planning solution is exactly what any small business needs to implement effective project management better than ever before.
- Posted by elocman on May 17th, 2012
A good project leader always knows how to make the team work better and with performance. Project leadership provides an opportunity to effective team building and collaboration. Read the top 5 tips in this quick article to find out how to be a fantastic leader of your project.
Take the five tips to improve your leadership skills:
Tip #1. Always Set SMART Goals
If there is no clear direction for your team, there is no way to reach success. The goals of your project will show the team what outcomes to produce throughout the project and what destination to reach at project completion.
You should learn to set SMART goals, which is actually means:
• Time framed
As a great project leader, you must keep your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time framed). Also avoid setting too many goals. There should be no more than 2-3 goals for a single project. The point here is to create a simple statement of project goals and therefore allow your team to gain a clear understanding of what results to achieve at project completion.
Tip #2. Motivate the Team
Motivation is your essential duty. As great project leader, you must find out exactly what incentives to use to motivate every team member and the entire team as well. Money, personal example, career promotion, recognition are some examples of incentives that you can use to motivate the team and establish teamwork.
Also you should remember about team conflicts and issues. Implementing a combination of team building exercises will help you match everyone’s individual needs, prevent conflicts, and keep the team working as hard as possible towards the project goals.
Tip #3. Keep Track of Project Changes
As your project progressively develops over time, there are some changes that must be monitored and appropriately managed. As a great project leader, you should develop and implement a change responding strategy. Such a strategy determines how to detect, measure the impact of, and respond to a change occurring in the project.
Weekly meetings can be used as a way to manage project changes. Through conducting weekly meetings with the team you are able to review the weekly events and issues, analyze the results achieved or failed, and discuss possible options and solutions. An analysis of the wins and losses through weekly team meetings will help you efficiently respond to project changes.
Tip #4. Reward Top Performers
A great project leader always rewards and recognizes team members for their high performance and contribution. You must know your top performers and constantly think of new ways of rewarding them for the right behavior.
You can try to implement two types of team reward systems, as follows below:
• Target-based reward system, which is to provide a team member with a kind of monetary or non-monetary incentives for the accuracy and timeliness of the targets this individual has hit
• Contribution-based reward system, which is to reward high performers for their overall contribution to team performance and teamwork. The system does not refer to the goals those individual have accomplished, but to the impact they have on the entire team through their top performance.
Tip #5. Exploit Training Opportunities
Time goes by so fast, and your yesterday’s knowledge and expertise may be in lower demand today. If you want to be a great project leader, you must constantly look for ways to improve your team leadership skills and read project manager’s guides.
So keep working on your analytical, communication and presentation skills each week by taking time out to educate on the web, through watching special training videos and taking online courses.
When you exploit training and self-development opportunities, you become more experienced and confident in your project manager role. You will know new ways of treating team conflicts, managing project issues, and establishing teamwork.