AD643 BG, Project Leadership and Communications
Professor Star Dargin
Questions two and three on page 83 of the Gray and Larson text, and questions one and two on page 96
2. You work for LL Company, which manufactures high-end optical scopes for hunting rifles. LL Company has been the market leader for the past 20 years and has decided to diversify by applying its technology to develop a top-quality binocular. What kind of project management structure would you recommend they use for this project? What information would you like to have to make this recommendation, and why?
First, I would want to know what type of organizational structure is already in place, and what type of project management structure has been used in the past. If they are a purely functional organization, and have never operated within a matrix structure, for example, I might not want to pursue that option, since the culture shock of reporting to more than one boss might be counter-productive for employees.
Second, I would want to assess whether or not they have the core competency to develop binoculars. If not, then I would consider using a using a virtual structure, in order to outsource the technical needs of the project to those with the requisite technical ability already in place.
Third, I would want to diagnose the culture of the organization. In general, I would want to determine how cooperative the people are. Metrics for measuring the organization’s culture are included on page 79 of the Gray and Larson text, including:
•Member identity: whether employees identify with their jobs or with their organization •Team emphasis: how much activities are organized around the group, or around the individual •People focus: whether work is task-oriented or people oriented •Unit integration: whether units within the organization or independent or interdependent •Control: how much rules govern the behavior of employees •Risk tolerance: how much freedom employees have to pursue activities for the organization that are not certain to have a positive outcome (profit, for example) •Reward criteria: how much employee performance affects their financial rewards, versus other factors, like seniority, being considered instead •Conflict tolerance: how much freedom employees have to openly discuss conflict or criticism •Means-end orientation: how much management focuses on the end result, versus the process used to achieve that end result •Open-system focus: how much the organization is aware of changes in the external environment, or how much they are focused internally instead, and how responsive they are to external changes
Other methods I would want to use in order to identify the cultural characteristic of the organization are included on page 77 of the Gray and Larson text:
•Study the physical characteristics of an organization
•Read about the organization
•Observe how people interact within the organization
I would want to have information about all of these cultural characteristics about the organization so that I could assess how comfortable employees might be with a matrix organization, a purely project-based organizational structure, or with a functional organization structure. How comfortable they are with any one of those organizational structures will have a direct, significant impact on how effective the organizational structure will be, and subsequently, how well the project is implemented. If people identify with their jobs more than with the organization, if they unit integration is very independent, and if the team emphasis is on the individual, rather than on the group, then operating within a purely functional organization structure might be counterproductive. A functional matrix, at least, would put a project manager in charge of the project, although employees would still be primarily reporting to their functional manger, and might...