Project organization basics
Project organization can be summarized in these four components:
- Project planning
A thorough and clear project plan is the foundation. Write an executive summary that clearly outlines the process. Then, outline a step-by-step list of objectives and deadlines:
- What deliverables do you expect to complete by each deadline?
- What are the required resources for each phase of the project? Are some personnel needed for some phases or all?
Once you have your project plan outlined, you’ll need to assign people and the hours required from each to meet your objectives.
- Always think in terms of the hours needed. If you don’t know, talk to the people who do the work.
- If you are assigning work to employees who have regular duties, take that into account. How many hours per week can they feasibly give to the project?
- Sit down with employees and review timelines, especially if you’re assigning tasks to employees from other departments. You may not know what’s required for their regular duties and if there are other constraints – for example, quarterly deadlines or planned vacations.
What resources will you need for this project? You might need:
- Contingency or freelance workers
- Outside services, product parts or components
- Extra office space or conference rooms for working and meeting
There may be one or more project managers, depending on the scope of the project. Project managers supervise all aspects of the project and guide the team. They also report progress to their direct supervisor or CEO.
Best practices for managing projects
Here are some best practices to keep projects and employees on track:
- Motivate your employees
- Interpersonal skills and effective communication
- Setting achievable and measurable goals
- Evaluating risks and being proactive
Motivate your employees
Motivating your team increases productivity, creativity and efficiency. Motivated employees are happier and bring focus to the work environment. For some employees, recognition and appreciation are paramount, while others may thrive on open communication and being informed on project status. Get to know your team and what inspires them to do their best work.
Effective communication starts with understanding what is being asked of you, as the project manager. Then, take that information and dissimilate it to a range of personalities and individuals with varying levels of expertise. Many managers give instructions only to find out that some team members interpreted the information differently. To assess the team’s level of comprehension, make sure your team members communicate back to you what is being conveyed to them.
Setting achievable and measurable goals
Setting realistic goals helps teams feel a sense of accomplishment when milestones are met. Being able to measure the goals in a simple way that everyone can understand empowers your team with the knowledge that they’re on track and meeting objectives.
Evaluating risk and being proactive
Using foresight and experience to evaluate risks and challenges before they happen is essential. Identify risks in each aspect of the plan and share this information with essential members of your team. This will help to ensure things run smoothly and will lessen the chances of unforeseen obstacles.
Last thoughts project organization
Proper planning, communication, motivation and great follow up can deliver spectacular results. If your project plan is not working out as expected, revise. Always communicate with your team so changes can be implemented smoothly and in a way that keeps everyone on the team committed and energized.
Project organization FAQ
Here is a frequently asked question about project organization:
What are the types of project organization?
There are three common project organization structures:
- Functional: Employees who perform a function within an organization are tasked with regular job duties and are assigned to projects
- Project: Employees are dedicated to specific projects
- Matrix: Employees report to a functional manager who manages their normal work tasks, and a project manager who oversees project-related work
In a functional organizational structure, a project manager leads a dedicated team. While having resources and scheduling employees is much easier, there may be more than one functional manager, and communicating effectively can be demanding.
In a project organizational structure, the project manager usually has full authority, and employees and resources are fully dedicated. This tends to be the case for large projects and the project manager generally has more duties such as dealing with the human resources aspect of a project.
The matrix organizational structure, blends facets of both functional and project organizational structures. This allows the sharing of resources and employees.