Examining the Project Life Cycle and the Organization - Identifying Organizational Models and Attributes

18 important questions on Examining the Project Life Cycle and the Organization - Identifying Organizational Models and Attributes

What does 'project are not islands' mean?

Projects are are components of larger entities that work to create a unique product or service. The larger entities, organizations or communities will have direct influence over the project itself.
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Explain the layers of the organization and which question it answers in relation to project management?

  • The executive layer (Vision, Strategy): Why is the project important to our organization, to our vision, our strategy?
  • The functional management layer (Tactics): What is the project purpose? What business processes are affected?
  • The operational layer (Day-to-Day): How can the work be accomplished? How can we reach the desired future state with these requirements?
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What organization models are being recognized  when it comes to project management?

  • Completing projects for other - entities that swoop into other organizations and complete the project work based on specifications, details, and specification documents (e.g. consultants)
  • Completing projects internally through a system - entities that have adopted Management by Projects
  • Completing projects as needed - non project centric entities can complete projects successfully but may not have the projects systems in place to support projects efficiently, which may lead to additional risk, lack or organization and reporting difficulties.
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What kind of factors could be part of organizational culture?

  • Policies and procedures for managing projects in the organization
  • Industry regulations, policies, rules, and methods for doing the work
  • Values, beliefs, and expectations
  • Views of authority, management, labor and workers
  • Work ethic
  • Expectations on hours worked and contributions made
  • Views towards organizational leadership
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How does the management style of an organization influence the progress of a project.

The project manager should emulate the management style of the operating organization. He/ she should take cues from management on how to operate a project in line with the management style.
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What is the cultural norm? And why is it important?

It is the unique style and culture within an organization, a way to describe the expectations of behavior within an organization. The cultural norm in an organization is an enterprise environmental factor for the project manager.
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What encompasses an organization's influence on project success? (from a communications perspective)

  • expectations for communications
  • available technologies to communicate
  • culture of the people involved in the communication
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Draw the organizational structure and authority diagram

See the picture with the different authority roles for the project manager and the functional manager
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What are the attributes of a project manager in functional organization? What is the cause of this?

  • Little power
  • Little autonomy
  • Report directly to a functional manager
  • May also be known as project coordinator or team leader
  • Have a part-time role
  • No or little staff for project management activities


This is being caused by the strict separation between functional departments where the coordination and communication takes place via functional managers.
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What matrix structures do we recognize?

  • Weak Maxtrix
  • Balanced Matrix
  • Strong Matrix
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What are the attributes of a project manager in a strong matrix structure?

  • Reasonable to high level of power
  • Management of a part-time to nearly full-time project team
  • A full-time role as a project manager
  • A full-time administrative staff to help expedite the project
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What are the attributes of a project manager in a projectized structure?

  • High to complete authority over the project team
  • High level of responsibility regarding the project success
  • Work full time on the project with their team
  • Full time administrative staff to support the project
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When does the project manager control the budget? When the functional manager?

  • The functional manager in the functional matrix, the weak matrix and to some extent the balanced matrix
  • The project manager in the strong matrix and projectized organisations.
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Define - organizational process assets

Resources that have been created to assist the project manager in managing the project better. Examples include historical information, forms, project approaches, defined procedures, and templates.
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What should be considered to be included under Organizational Process Assets?

  • Standards, policies, and organizational procedures
  • Standardized guidelines, and performance measurements
  • Templates for project documents such as contracts, work breakdown structures, project network diagrams, and status reports
  • Guidelines for adapting project management processes to the current project
  • Financial controls for purchasing, accounting codes and procurement processes
  • Communication requirements
  • Processes for project activities (change control, closing coms, financial controls, and risk control procedures)
  • Project closing procedures for acceptance, product validation, and evaluations
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Define - corporate knowledge base

  • Information from past projects and work gathered via methods of cataloging, archiving and retrieval.
  • The corporate knowledge base is part of the organizational process assets.
  • This could be information from past projects, organizational standards for costs and labor based on the work in the project, central issue and defect management databases, process measurement databases, and organizational standards.
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Define - Enterprise Environmental Factors

Elements that create the boundaries for the project manager. These may help or hinder the project manager's ability to navigate within the project. Examples includes rules, regulations, industry standards, and organizational procedures the project manager is obliged to follow.
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How do Enterprise Environmental Factors help you as a project manager?

  • they are the rules and policies you're required to follow, set by the organization and/ or industry
  • they define boundaries, set expectations and provide a level of governance
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