What are the key factors to understand an organization's structure and system?
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What are the key factors to understand an organization's structure and system?

Understanding an organization's goals, culture, and operations is vital for effective problem-solving and decision-making. This knowledge can help revitalize stagnant cultures, improve customer service systems, and fuel successful product launches.


Every organisation’s hierarchy and reporting network form a framework viewed as the organisational structure, which defines roles and responsibilities commissioned and handled within the institution and monitors information flow between grades of management.– Definition


  1. Functional (or Traditional)
  2. Matrix
  3. Projectised


People who become specialists “become very good at what they do” in their careers. The traditional organisation has been the top form for over a hundred years, primarily based on organising people with matching skills into identical batches. This batch of people has a similarly qualified leader. Institutions like these are not easily changed even when the market demands the new technologies are hard to enter their business areas.

Examples – Automotive industry. Public sector

Matrix organisational structure came into existence in the 1970s to jointly put the most useful of the projectised and classic organisations. In the matrix, organisation employees are organised strictly by skills. All employees report to a functional manager in the matrix organisation, similar to the traditional organisation. All staff with the same skill report to the same operational manager. An example, all engineers could be grouped in a conventional organisation. In a matrix organisation, this does not occur. The operational manager is responsible for staffing the project and the administrative work.

The project managers control the majority of the work done by the employee as they are responsible for the work done by the individuals who do it. The project managers are not responsible for the day to day administrative work, which employees must do. Which allows the project team to focus on the project and not be stuck down by administrative work. It will enable the project team to focus on the stakeholders and the project much like a projectised organisation.

There are several hardships with this kind of organisation that must balance the project and operational managers to eliminate one group dominating the other. A project manager can balance by arranging when the project team should do the job and when the job should be assigned to the operational divisions. A balanced matrix organisation with a balance of power between functional and project managers is an organisation.



The traditional type is likely the pure project organisation. The project manager has total authority and can answer all questions regarding the project referred to them as the supreme authority to make all the decisions. In this type of organisation, the project team’s focus is clear, and the project goals are in the picture. There is a clear connection with the client, and communications with the client and the project team are usually good.

Example – Pyramid construction.


In a business context, an organisation is a unit of people structured to meet collective goals on a continued basis. A crucial part of every organisation is the management structure which determines roles and responsibilities and how they are delegated and controlled.

Directly or indirectly, projects serve strategic goals because projects are a means of achieving the results of strategic plans that are often drivers for change. Often, they cannot be effectively executed by day-to-day operations management. Consequently, all projects must finally serve one or more of the institution’s strategic intents to be considered successful.


  • Projects donate to the institution’s strategic goals.
  • Institutions have a decision-making ranking.
  • The committee makes strategic decisions and/or administrative strategies for achieving corporate goals are business unit decisions made by the individual business departments.
  • The business unit forges a program to contribute a distinctive group ofdeliverables to meet business unit goals
  • A project contributes an individual deliverable as part of a program.
  • Operations support the endless activities of the entire organisation.


A company’s planning is required to decide which strategic goals are most important to the organisation and how to obtain them. Planning and objective setting transpire at all levels of the organisation.

The following model illustrates planning within the five-level organisational hierarchy.

  • Level 1: Corporate Management
  • Level 2: Divisional Management
  • Level 3: Departmental Plans
  • Level 4: Team Management
  • Level 5: Individual Planning (Self-Management)


  • 5-10 year plans aligned with vision and mission
  • Development of strategic business directions, organisational goals and objectives
  • Oversight of significant programs

These three elements are generic in that they can apply to any organisation:

  1. Mission – the reason for being
  2. Vision – defines the field of endeavour for the organisation.
  3. Strategic Plan – identifies how the organisation will achieve the vision given the objectives defined in the mission.


  • 3-5 year plans aligned with Strategic Plan objectives
  • Involves in setting goals, strategies & actions with significant budget and resource allocation.
  • Major programs with multiple starts and end dates


  • 1-3 year plans aligned with financial cycles
  • Goals, actions, broad resource & time constraints
  • Complex Projects with moderate impact
  • Minor programs with multiple starts and end dates


  • 12-month plans aligned to financial year
  • Tasks and actions with identified resources and time constraints
  • Some mini-projects with defined start and end dates


  • Tasks and short-term personal goals
  • Engaged in ongoing processes


Projects need to be executed to achieve the outcomes of the organisation’s strategic plans. Operations and projects differ because operations are ongoing and repetitive, while projects are temporary and unique. Projects need to be witnessed as a tool to answer the strategic objectives that cannot be managed within the organisation’s normal operational boundaries. In the diagram below, hierarchical layers in the organisation develop plans at their respective levels. All projects are ultimately subordinate to the organisation’s strategic plan. Each program comprises several objectives, which are executed using Project Management methods.

Mission the overriding belief in the string with the importance of influential stakeholders is affected by the organisation’s overall objective, scope, and boundaries. A project manager needs to understand ‘What business are we in?‘ and ‘What is our reason for being?

Vision represents the occupation of work for the institution. So the project manager needs to know, ‘Where do we want to be x years from now?’

Goal/s generally aim in line with the assignment; they may be qualitative.

Objectives are quantification, a more specific statement of the goal.

Strategies are relatively comprehensive declarations of purpose that show the activities required to accomplish the objectives.

Actions or tasks are individual steps to execute strategies to link comprehensive direction to specific operational problems and individuals.

Thought Provoking Change Management

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans; the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger.It is necessary, however, in order to investigate thoroughly this question, to examine whether these innovations are independent, or whether they depend upon others, that is to say, whether in order to carry out their designs they have to entreat or are capable to compel.In the first case, they will invariably succeed ill and accomplish nothing; but when they can depend on their own strength and are able to use force, they rarely fail.“From: The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527)


A project manager can evaluate the project management processes in an institution to align with one of five levels on a scale of maturity:

Level 1: Common Language

  • Token acknowledgement of project management
  • Little or no executive-level support
  • Ad-hoc interest in project management
  • “Do it my way” attitude to managing projects
  • No investment in project management training/education

Level 2: Common Processes

  • Recognition of benefits of project management
  • Organisational support at all levels
  • Recognition of the need for processes/methodologies
  • Recognition of the need for cost control
  • Development of a project management training curriculum

Level 3: Integrated Methodology

  • Integrated processes
  • Cultural support
  • Management support at all levels
  • Informal project management
  • Return on investment for project management training dollars
  • Behavioural excellence

Level 4: Continuous Improvement

  • Lessons learned files
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Formal mentoring program
  • Strategic planning for project management best practice

Level 5: Benchmarking

  • Establishment of the project office
  • Dedication to benchmarking
  • Looking at project management across industries
  • Benchmarking against processes, methodologies and cultures


Interface management includes the activities of defining, controlling, and communicating the information needed to enable unrelated objects (including systems, services, equipment, software, and data) to co-function. Most new systems or services require external interfaces with other systems or services. All of these interfaces must be defined and controlled in a way that enables efficient use and change management of these systems or services. Therefore, the practice of interface management begins at design and continues through operations and maintenance.Definition

Interface management happens in three key areas:


This interface can occur anytime two people are working on the same project. There is a potential for personal problems or conflict to exist. When the two people operate under the same line manager, the project manager usually has limited authority (unless they are their superior) and must call the line boss to settle disputes. Suppose the people are not in the same line or discipline project manager takes the role of negotiator, with the power to get line management to resolve the problem if required. Issues in the personal interface are even more challenging to solve when two or more managers are involved; therefore, the project manager must be capable of dealing with all conflicts that affect people in or related to the project.


The organisational interface is probably the most difficult to deal with because it involves people and involves organisational goals and conflicting executive techniques. Conflict can occur on the interaction because of variable team goals and misunderstandings of the technical language used within each corporate team. These interfaces are mostly management interfaces dealing with activities, decisions, or authorisations affecting the project; however, they can also involve units outside the immediate organisation or project.


The system interface deals with the product, facility, construction, resources, or other types of non-people interfaces within the system itself or developed by the project. Some of the interfaces may include schedule problems where information passed on from one task to another is incorrect or delayed, which can throw the project schedule off. Many of the technical issues generated as the project progress are of this type. System interfaces are critical to the project’s success. The project manager must deal with them, but not to the exclusion of the personal and organisational interfaces. Because of their technical backgrounds, many project managers tend to over-involve themselves in specialised system interfaces to the detriment of individual and corporate concerns.