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Project Management – Organizational Influences
By Timber Chinn, Northwest University

Organizational influences directly affect a project’s success—either positively or negatively. These influences include the organization’s culture, its structure and its general style. Although organizational influences fall under the umbrella of enterprise environmental factors, it is important to grasp their unique importance to a project. One of the first things a project manager must consider is the organization’s culture; those beliefs, values and traditions that define the organization’s members and how they work. Culture is an important consideration because it alone can determine the success of a project. For example, if a stakeholder of a conservative organization wants to implement a radical new program, the project manager must take this into consideration before starting the project. In this case it is highly likely that the project will meet with resistance, so one of the project manager’s most important tasks is to tightly nail down the scope of work and expected deliverables.

Another organizational influence is a firm’s structure. It might be a functional organization, where each employee has one supervisor, employees are grouped by specialty/department, and the project manager has little authority. Or, it could be a projectized organization, where most employees are involved in project work, teams are co-located, and groups report directly to the project manager who has an appropriate level of authority. A third type of organization is the matrix, a blend of the functional and projectized organizations. Matrix organizations range from weak to strong, with the project manager’s authority corresponding to the organization’s structure. Finally, an organization’s style affects how projects get done. For example, an organization doing top secret government work might severely limit access to employees and resources, dramatically slowing down the project’s process. A more casual organization might allow the project manager total access to employees and any other resources required. The project manager must consider all organizational influences in order to complete a project successfully

Northwest University opened to students on October 1, 1934. It is a regionally accredited institution awarding associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees.

Note: Implicit permission was given to republish this post, as the article was not copyrighted.

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