Tuesday, April 27, 2010


T= Together
E = Everyone
A = Achieves
M= More

A team comprises a group of people linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize his or her strengths and minimize his or her weaknesses.
Thus teams of sports players can form (and re-form) to practice their craft. Transport logistics executives can select teams of horses, dogs or oxen for the purpose of conveying goods.

Theorists in business in the late 20th century popularized the concept of constructing teams. Differing opinions exist on the efficacy of this new management fad. Some see "team" as a four-letter word: overused and under-useful. Others see it as a panacea that finally realizes the human relations movement's desire to integrate what that movement perceives as best for workers and as best for managers. Still others believe in the effectiveness of teams, but also see them as dangerous because of the potential for exploiting workers — in that team effectiveness can rely on peer pressure and peer surveillance.

Compare the more structured/skilled concept of a crew, and the advantages of formal and informal partnerships.

Team size, composition, and formation
Team size and composition affect the team processes and outcomes. The optimal size (and composition) of teams is debated and will vary depending on the task at hand. At least one study of problem-solving in groups showed an optimal size of groups at four members. Other works estimate the optimal size between 5-12 members.[citation needed] Less than 5 members results in decreased perspectives and diminished creativity. Membership in excess of 12 results in increased conflict and greater potential of sub-groups forming.

David Cooperrider suggests that the larger the group, the better. This is because a larger group is able to address concerns of the whole system. So while a large team may be ineffective at performing a given task, Cooperider says that the relevance of that task should be considered, because determining whether the team is effective first requires identifying what needs to be accomplished.

Regarding composition, all teams will have an element of homogeneity and heterogeneity. The more homogeneous the group, the more cohesive it will be. The more heterogeneous the group, the greater the differences in perspective and increased potential for creativity, but also the greater potential for conflict.

Team members normally have different roles, like team leader and agents. Large teams can divide into sub-teams according to need.

Many teams go through a life-cycle of stages, identified by Bruce Tuckman as: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.

Types of teams
Independent and interdependent teams

Of particular importance is the concept of different types of teams. A distinction is usually drawn between "independent" and "interdependent" teams. To continue the sports team example, a rugby team is clearly an interdependent team:
No significant task can be accomplished without the help of any of the members
Within that team members typically specialize in different tasks (running the ball, goal kicking & scrum feeding), and
The success of every individual is inextricably bound to the success of the whole team. No Rugby player, no matter how talented, has ever won a game by playing alone.

On the other hand, a chess team is a classic example of an independent team:
Matches are played and won by individuals or partners,
Every person performs basically the same actions, and
Whether one player wins or loses has no direct effect on the performance of the next player. If all team members each perform the same basic tasks, such as students working problems in a math class, or outside sales employees making phone calls, then it is likely that this team is an independent team. They may be able to help each other — perhaps by offering advice or practice time, by providing moral support, or by helping in the background during a busy time — but each individual's success is primarily due to each individual's own efforts. Chess players do not win their own matches merely because the rest of their teammates did, and math students do not pass tests merely because their neighbors know how to solve the equations.

Coaching an "interdependent" team like a football team necessarily requires a different approach from coaching an "independent" team because the costs and benefits to individual team members — and therefore the intrinsic incentives for positive team behaviors — are very different. An interdependent team benefits from getting to know the other team members socially, from developing trust in each other, and from conquering artificial challenges (such as offered in outdoors ropes courses).

Independent teams typically view these activities as unimportant, emotion-driven time wasters. They benefit from more intellectual, job-related training. The best way to start improving the functioning of an independent team is often a single question, "What does everyone need to do a better job?"

Self-managed teams:
Normally, a manager acts as the team leader and is responsible for defining the goals, methods, and functioning of the team. However, interdependencies and conflicts between different parts of an organization may not be best addressed by hierarchical models of control. Self-managed teams use clear boundaries to create the freedom and responsibility to accomplish tasks in an efficient manner.

The main idea of the self-managed team is that the leader does not operate with positional authority. In a traditional management role, the manager is responsible for providing instruction, conducting communication, developing plans, giving orders, and disciplining and rewarding employees, and making decisions by virtue of his or her position. In this organizational model, the manager delegates specific responsibility and decision-making authority to the team itself, in the hope that the group will make better decisions than any individual. Neither a manager nor the team leader make independent decisions in the delegated responsibility area. Decisions are typically made by consensus in successful self-managed teams, by voting in very large or formal teams, and by hectoring and bullying in unsuccessful teams. The team as a whole is accountable for the outcome of its decisions and actions.

Self-managed teams operate in many organizations to manage complex projects involving research, design, process improvement, and even systemic issue resolution, particularly for cross-department projects involving people of similar seniority levels. While the internal leadership style in a self-managed team is distinct from traditional leadership and operates to neutralize the issues often associated with traditional leadership models, a self-managed team still needs support from senior management to operate well.

Self-managed teams may be interdependent or independent. Of course, merely calling a group of people a self-managed team does not make them either a team or self-managed.

As a self-managed team develops successfully, more and more areas of responsibility can be delegated, and the team members can come to rely on each other in a meaningful way.[1]

Project teams:
A team used only for a defined period of time and for a separate, concretely definable purpose, often becomes known as a project team. Managers commonly label groups of people as a "team" based on having a common function. Members of these teams might belong to different groups, but receive assignment to activities for the same project, thereby allowing outsiders to view them as a single unit. In this way, setting up a team allegedly facilitates the creation, tracking and assignment of a group of people based on the project in hand. The use of the "team" label in this instance often has no relationship to whether the employees are working as a team.

Sports teams:
A sports team is a group of people which play a sport together. Members include all players (even those who are waiting their turn to play) as well as support members such as a team manager or coach.

Virtual teams:
Developments in communications technologies have seen the emergence of the virtual work team. A virtual team is a group of people who work interdependently and with shared purpose across space, time, and organisation boundaries using technology to communicate and collaborate. Virtual team members can be located across a country or across the world, rarely meet face-to-face, and include members from different cultures. Many virtual teams are cross-functional and emphasise solving customer problems or generating new work processes. The United States Labour Department reported that in 2001, 19 million people worked from home online or from another location, and that by the end of 2002, over 100 million people world-wide would be working outside traditional offices (Pearlson & Sounders, 2001).

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams:
Teams, such as in medical fields, may be interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary.
Multidisciplinary teams involve several professionals who independently treat various issues a patient may have, focusing on the issues in which they specialize. The problems that are being treated may or may not relate to other issues being addressed by individual team members. Interdisciplinary team approach involves all members of the team working together towards the same goal. In an interdisciplinary team approach, there can often be role blending by members of the core team, who may take on tasks usually filled by other team members.

Not all groups are teams:
Some people also use the word "team" when they mean "employees." A "sales team" is a common example of this loose or perhaps euphemistic usage, though interdependencies exist in organisations, and a sales team can be let down by poor performance on other parts of the organisation upon which sales depend, like delivery, after-sales service, etc.. However "sales staff" is a more precise description of the typical arrangement.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some Interview Questions (Good to know)

Below are the Interview Questions, which were asked in HR. Very impressive questions and answers.

Question 1:
You are driving along in your car on a stormy, wild night. It is raining heavily when suddenly you pass by a bust stop and you see three people waiting for a bus. An old lady who looks as if she is going to die, old friend who once saved your life and the perfect partner you have been dreaming about. Which one would you choose to offer a ride, knowing very well that there could only be one passenger in your car?

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

* You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first;

* or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.

* However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.

Guess what was his answer?

He simply answered:

"I would give the car keys to my Old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations.

Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."

Question 2:
Interviewer: He ordered a cup of coffee for the candidate. Coffee arrived kept before the candidate, and then he asked what is before you?

Candidate: Instantly replied "Tea"

He got selected.

You know how and why did he say "TEA" when he knows very well that coffee was kept before.

(Answer: The question was "What is before you (U - alphabet) Reply was

"TEA" (T - alphabet)

Alphabet "T" was before Alphabet "U"

Question 3:
The interviewer asked to the candidate "This is your last question of the interview. Please tell me the exact position of the center of this table where you have kept your files."

Candidate confidently put one of his fingers at some point at the table and told that this was the central point at the table.

Interviewer asked how did u get to know that this being the central point of this table, then he answers quickly that "sir u r not likely to ask any more question, as it was the last question that u promised to ask....."

And hence, he was selected as because of his quick-wittedness. .......

This is What Interviewer expects from the Interviewee. ...


Making the Rules

 Every project is different. Different schedules, different products, and different people are involved.
 On any given project, the stakeholders may have differing ideas about what the project is about.
 Your job, as project manager, is to make sure that everyone involved understands the project and agrees on what success will look like.
 Skilled managers need to do clarify the rules of the game for a new project .
 There are four methods to ensure that everyone understands, and agrees to the project rules.
 The first, project charter, is an announcement that the project exists. The following three, the statement of work, the responsibility matrix, and the communication plan are developed concurrently and constitute the actual written documents containing the project rules.

Project Charter:
 A project charter announces that a new project has begun. The purpose of the charter is to demonstrate management support for the project and the project manager.
 It is a one-time announcement.
 As an announcement, it can take the form of an e-mail or a physical, signed document.
 It contains the name and purpose of the project, the project manager’s name, and a statement of support from the issuer.
 The charter is sent to everyone who may be associated with the project.
 The sponsor is the best person to sign the charter, because he or she is the one who will be actively supporting the charter.

Statement of Work:
 It lists the goals, constraints, and the success criteria – the rules of the game.
 The statement of work, once written, is then subject to negotiation and modification by the various stakeholders.
 Once they formally agree to its content, it becomes the rules for the project.

Statement of Work: Minimum Content:
1. Purpose Statement
2. Scope Statement
3. Deliverables
4. Cost ad Schedule Estimates
5. Objectives
6. Stakeholders
7. Chain of Command

Conflict Management

What is conflict?
 Conflict is the result of group problem solving.
 Where two or more people need to make decisions, there eventually is disagreement.
 Conflict is natural.
 Conflict is inevitable.
 Conflicts can, for example, easily develop out of a situation where members of a group have a misunderstanding of each other’s role and responsibilities.

Types of conflicts:
 Manpower resources
 Equipment and facilities
 Costs
 Technical opinions
 Priorities
 Administrative procedures
 Scheduling
 Responsibilities

Project Objectives:
 Each project must have at lest one objective.
 The objectives of the project must be made known to all project personnel and all managers, at every level of the organization.
 If this information is not communicated accurately, then it is entirely possible that upper-level manager, project managers, and functional managers may all have a different interpretation of the ultimate objective , a situation that invites conflicts.

Project objective must follow the SMART rule;
 S = specific
 M = measurable
 A = attainable
 R = realistic or relevant
 T = time bound

Approaches to Conflict Management:
1. Withdrawing (or avoiding) from the conflict.
 Avoid both the issues and the people associated
 Belief on avoiding conflict than working on it
 Avoiding should be used:
• When you can’t win
• To gain time
• To preserve neutrality or reputation
• When you think the problem will go away
• When you win by delay

2. Smoothing over the conflict.
 Attempt to reduce the level of emotions that exist in a conflict
 Focus on the positive relationships and de-emphasize the areas of conflict
 An example of smoothing would be to tell someone, “We have agreed on three of the five points and there is not reason why we cannot agree on the last two points.”

3. Forcing resolution to the conflict.
 One party tries to impose the solution on the other party.
 Forcing should be used when:
• When you are right
• When a quick decision must be made
• To gain power
• When it’s understood that a game is being played
• When a do-or-die situation exists
• When you are stronger (never start a battle you can’t win)

4. Compromising, accepting a no-win solution.
 Compromise should be used:
• When both parties need to be winners
• When you can’t win
• When others are as strong as you are
• When you are not sure you are right
• To avoid giving the impression of “fighting”
• When you don’t have time

5. Confronting or Collaborating
 The conflicting parties meet face-to-face and try to work through their disagreements.
 These approaches focus more on solving the problem and less on being combative.
 This method should be used:
• To attack a common enemy
• When there is enough time
• When there is trust
• When you have confidence in other party’s ability
• When you and the conflicting party can both get at least what you wanted

Project Stakeholders and their roles

 Stakeholders are individuals or organizations who participate in the project or are impacted by its result.
 Some stakeholders are “active” or “key”.
 Five Primary Stakeholders:
1- Project Manager
2- Project Team
3- Functional Management
4- Sponsor
5- Customer
 The heart of successful project management involves satisfying the expectations of these stakeholders.
 “Satisfy Stakeholders!”
 The first step in this process is gaining agreement of all the stakeholders on the goals of the project.

Stakeholder Roles: Project Manager:
 Project manager is involved in magic, or, more precisely, practical magic.
 The project manager must ask questions like this: “What is my authority?” “Who do I report to?” “What are my expectations?”
 If you are a project manager, you are an important stakeholder, too. Don’t forget to satisfy yourself!

Stakeholder Roles: Project Team:
 All groups and individuals who contribute time, skills, and efforts to the project are considered team members.
 In addition to the people from the company assigned to the project, these can be contractors, and even customers.

Stakeholder Roles: Functional Management:
 Management refers to functional management, also known as line management.
 These can be department managers, or first-level supervisors.
 Functional managers are responsible for an organizational unit, such as “engineering” or “marketing” rather than for a specific project.
 These are the people with long-term control over employees and other resources in the firm.
 Project managers describe help from functional managers in “getting the right people at the right time” and “timely decisions based on the facts presented by the project team.”

Stakeholder Roles: Sponsor:
 The sponsor is the person with formal authority who is ultimately responsible for the project.
 A sponsor may be a senior executive or a junior manager.
 The sponsor provides the authority that the project manager often lacks.
 Why are Sponsors Important?
 First, sponsors are ultimately responsible for the success of the project. The formal authority that comes from their title and position in the organization endows them with the responsibility.
 Why are Sponsors Important?
 Second, the sponsor’s primary task is to help the project team be successful. The best sponsors know they aren’t sponsoring a project; they are sponsoring the project manager and the project team.

Stakeholder Roles: Customer:
 Somebody will be paying for the project.
 Note: in public sector projects, customer group is composed of all the citizens who will use the road, or other service built by the project.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stress and Burnout

 Project managers are subject to stress due to different facets of their jobs:
 Being Tired. Being tired is a result of being drained of strength and energy, perhaps through physical exertion, boredom, or impatience.
• Typical causes : meetings, report writing, and other forms of document preparation.
 Feeling depressed. Feeling depressed is an emotional condition due to discouragement or a feeling of inadequacy.
• It is usually the result of a situation that is beyond the control or capabilities of the project manager.
• Management or client considers your report unacceptable, you are unable to get timely resources, the technology is not available, or the constraints of the project are unrealistic and may not be met.
 Feeling rejected. Feeling rejected can be the result of a poor working relationship with executives, line managers, or clients.
• Rejection occurs when people with authority feel that their options or opinions are better than those of the project manager.
 Feeling worthless. Feeling worthless implies that one is without worth, that is valueless.
• This situation occurs when project mangers feel that they are managing project beneath their dignity.
 Feeling trapped. The most common situation where project manager feel trapped is when they have no control over the assigned resources on the project and feel as if they are at the mercy of line managers.
• Employees favor the manager with reward power, and that is usually line manger.
• Remedy is to provide project manager with reward power.
 Being physically and emotionally exhausted. Project mangers are both managers and doers. It is quite common for project managers to perform a great deal of the work themselves.
• The most common cause of emotional exhaustion is report writing.
 Burned out. Being burned out implies that one is totally exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and that rest, recuperation, or vacation time may not remedy the situation.
• The most common cause is prolonged overtime, or inability to work under continuous pressure and stress.
 Stress is not always negative, however. Without certain amounts of stress, reports would never get written, deadlines would never be met, and no one would even get to work on time.
 But stress can result in illness and even disease, and must be managed if it is to be controlled and utilized for constructive purposes.
 Stress become detrimental when it is prolonged beyond what an individual can comfortably handle.

Effective Time Management

 Use your time effectively by:
 Allocating work clearly to the team members
 Delegating some of your authority where and when appropriate
 Consulting as required, but taking decisions promptly and explaining them.
 Avoiding unnecessary memos
 Setting a fixed agenda for meetings
 Setting your own priorities and generally sticking to them.
 Refusing to do the unimportant
 Doing the difficult tasks first
 Not holding meetings for the sake of getting together – having a clear purpose.

Time Management Forms

 There are two basic forms that managers can use for practicing better time management:
 “To-do pad”
 “Daily Calendar Log”

 The manager or the secretary prepares the list of things to do.
 The manager then decides which activities he must perform himself and assigns the appropriate priorities.
 The activities with the highest priorities are then transformed to the “daily calendar log.”
 The manager assigns the activities to the appropriate time blocks based on his own energy cycle.
 Unfilled time blocks are then used for unexpected crises or for lower-priority activities.

Management of your time and Stress

It is often said that if the project manager cannot control his own time, then he will control nothing else on the project.

Time Robbers:
 The most challenging problem facing the project manager is his inability to say no.
 Poor communication
 Lack of information
 Too many meetings
 Unclear objectives and project scope
 Work overload
 Company politics
 Too many people involved in minor decision making
 Lack of authorization
 Shifting priorities
 Failure to delegate, or unwise delegation
 Changes without explanation
 Waiting for people
 Executive interference
 Excessive paperwork

The consequence of these robbers of time is a reduction in the working day for you and your team.

Consider the situation in which an employee comes into your office with a problem. The employee may be sincere when he says that he simply wants your advice but often the employee want to take the monkey off of his back and put it onto yours. The employee’s problem is now your problem.

To handle such situations:
 First, screen out the problems with which you do not wish to get involved.
 Second, if the situation does necessitate your involvement, then you must make sure that when the employee leaves your office, he realizes that the problem is still his, not yours.
 Third, if you find that the problem will require your continued attention, remind the employee that all future decisions will be joint decisions and the problem will still be on the employee’s shoulders. Once employees realize that they cannot put their problems on your shoulders, they learn how to make their own decisions.

Project Meetings

 Project review meetings are necessary to show that progress is being made on a project. There are three types of review meetings:
 Project team review meetings
 Executive management review meetings
 Customer project review meetings

Guidelines for Effective Meetings:
 The following are general guidelines for conducting more effective meetings:
 Start on time. If you wait for people, you reward tardy behavior.
 Develop agenda “objectives.” Generate a list and proceed. Avoid getting hung up on the order of topics.
 Conduct one piece of business at a time.
 Allow each member to contribute in his own way. Support, challenge, and counter. View differences as helpful. Dig for reasons or views.
 Silence does not always mean agreement. Seek opinions: “What is your opinion on this, Nasrat?”
 Test for readiness to make a decision.
 Make the decision.
 Assign roles and responsibilities (only after decision-making)
 Agree on follow-up or accountability dates
 Indicate the next step for this group
 Set the time and place for next meeting
 End on time
 Ask yourself if the meeting was necessary

Barriers to Project Team Development

 The understanding of barriers to project team building can help in developing an environment conducive to effective teamwork. The following barriers are typical for many project environments.
 Differing outlooks, priorities, and interests.
 Role conflicts.
 Project objectives/outcomes not clear.
 Dynamic project environment.
 Competition over team leadership.
 Lack of team definition and structure.
 Team personnel selection.
 Credibility of project leader.
 Lack of team member commitment.
 Communication problems.
 Poor communication exists on four major levels:
 Problem of communication between team members
 Between project leader and the team members
 Between the project team and top management
 Between the project leaders and the client
 Lack of senior management support.

 Effective project communication is needed to ensure that we get the right information to the right person at the right time using the right media and the right format and in a cost-effective manner.

Screens or Barriers:
 The screens or barriers are from one’s perception, personality, attitudes, emotions, and prejudices.
 Perception barriers occur because individuals can view the same message in different ways. Factors influencing perception include the individual’s level of education and region of experience. Perception problems can be minimized by using words that have precise meaning.
 Personality and interests, such as the likes and dislikes of individuals, affect communications. People tend to listen carefully to topics of interest but turn deaf ear to unfamiliar or boring topics.
 Attitude, emotions, and prejudices warp our sense of interpretation. Individuals who are fearful or have strong love or hate emotions will tend to protect themselves by distorting the communication process. Strong emotions rob individuals of their ability to comprehend.

Determining the Number of Communications Channels:
 As the number of people involved increases, the complexity of communications increases because there are more communications channels or pathways through which people can communicate.
 Number of communications channels = n (n-1)
where n is the number of people involved.

Breakdown in Communication:
 When a breakdown in communication occurs, disaster follows.

A project manager may very well spend 90 percent or more of his time communicating.

Communication is also listening:
 Good project managers must be willing to listen to their employees. The advantages of listening properly are that:
 Subordinates know you are sincerely interested
 You obtain feedback
 Employee acceptance is fostered
 The successful manager must be willing to listen to an individual’s story from beginning to end, without interruptions, and to see problem through the eyes of the subordinate.
 Finally, before making a decision, that manager should ask the subordinate for his solutions to the problem.

 Three important conclusions can be drawn about communications:
 Don’t assume that the message you sent will be received in the form you sent it.
 The swiftest and most effective communications take place among people with common points of view. The manager who fosters good relationships with his associates will have little difficulty in communicating with them.
 Communications must be established early in the project.

Management Functions

 Controlling is a three-step process of measuring, evaluating, and correcting.
 Measuring: determining through formal and informal reports the degree to which progress toward objectives is being made.
 Evaluating: determining cause of and possible ways to act on significant deviations from planned performance.
 Correcting: is taking necessary action to achieve or exceed the objectives.

 Directing is the implementing and carrying out of those approved plans that are necessary to achieve or exceed objectives.
 Directing involves such steps:
 Staffing: seeing that a qualified person is selected for each position.
 Training: teaching individuals and groups how to fulfill their duties and responsibilities.
 Supervising: giving others day-to-day instruction, guidance, and discipline as required so that they can fulfill their duties and responsibilities.
 Delegating: assigning work, responsibility, and authority so others can make maximum utilization of their abilities.
 Motivating: encouraging others to perform by fulfilling or appealing to their needs.
 Counseling: holding private discussion with another about how he might do better work, solve a personal problem, or realize his ambitions.
 Coordinating: seeing that activities are carried out in relation to their importance and with a minimum of conflict.

 Project managers must understand human behavior in order to motivate people toward successful accomplishment of project objectives.
 Douglas McGregor recommends that most workers can be categorized according to two theories.
 Theory X
 Theory Y

 Theory X assumes that:
 The average worker is lazy and requires supervision
 The average worker dislikes work and avoids work whenever possible
 The supervisor must threaten punishment and exercise careful supervision
 The average worker avoids increased responsibility and seeks to be directed.
 The manager who accepts Theory X normally exercises authoritarian-type of control over workers and allows little participation during decision making. Theory X employees generally favor lack of responsibility, especially in decision making.

 Theory Y assumes that:
 Employees are willing to get the job done without constant supervision.
 The average worker wants to be active and finds the physical and mental effort on the job satisfying.
 Greatest results come from willing participation, which will tend to produce self-direction toward goals without coercion and control.
 The average worker seeks opportunity for personal improvement and self-respect.
 The manager who accepts Theory Y normally recommends participation and a management-employee relationship.

The guidelines for proper motivation are:
 Adopt a positive attitude
 Do not criticize management
 Do not make promises that cannot be kept
 Circulate customer reports
 Give each person the attention he requires
 Giving assignments that provide challenges
 Clearly defining performance expectations
 Giving proper criticism as well as credit
 Giving honest appraisals
 Providing a good working atmosphere
 Developing a team attitude
 Providing a proper direction (even if Theory Y)

LOL: Definition from Answers.com

LOL: Definition from Answers.com

Here, in this post, i want to point out and describe the definition of LOL which is always used in chatting on the internet and also for comments in facebook or other sites.

LOL means laughing out loud.

For more information, click on the link which will open a new browser and website by the name of answers.com for you.

ASL: Definition from Answers.com

ASL: Definition from Answers.com

Friday, April 2, 2010

Functional Structure/Matrix Structure

Functional Structure:
 Each major functional area is represented as a unit in the organization with a line manager and reporting staff.
 The unit’s scope of responsibility is limited to the functional area in which they work.
 Work is transmitted to the unit. They do their work and pass it along to the next functional unit.
 Team work exists within the unit but not across units.
 In the functional structure, projects frequently have no identity of their own. When the first functional manager finishes working on an activity in the project, the deliverable is thrown to the next functional manager, and so the process continues. There is no project manager. Thus, the risk of failure is high.
 The greatest advantage is skill development. Because the project work undertaken within a functional unit is typically repetitive and must be completed within the functional unit, the manager has to develop the required skills among his staff.
 Everybody understands his task. Jobs tend to be more repetitive.

Matrix Structure:
 It is probably the most common organizational form found in today’s organizations.
 In the matrix structure, there are two things to consider:
 The functional home of the individual
 The project home of the individual
 The functional home deals with development and deployment of individuals to projects. This is where the line manager of the individual is found.
 The project home is where the individual actually engages in work.
 Matrix structure is flexible and can adapt to changing environments. As projects start, end, or are cancelled staff can be easily reassigned.
 It has few communication problems. The project manager can focus on managing the work; the functional manager can focus on managing the staff. The individual understands the role of the two managers and is able to work more effectively.
 Project objectives are clear and visible. Team members are fully informed on the project objectives, deliverables, schedules, and so forth.
 The individual is assigned to a project and understands not only the project but his or her role and responsibility in it.
 Matrix structure has a few disadvantages:
 Success depends on manager interactions.
 Project management is difficult. The project manager does not have line authority over his team members. The line authority belongs with the functional managers. This means that the leadership skills of the project manager will be called into action.
 Each project has two bosses. This can place the team member in a difficult position. Whose wishes do the team members respond to?
 There are conflicting goals (project versus function).

Project Structure

 The project structure aligns its professional staff with projects. In these organizations, a person is assigned to only one project at a time. Project team possesses all of the skills needed to achieve their goal.
 In this organizational structure, the project team works full-time on the project until its completion. The project manager has the line responsibility for the team members.
 The major disadvantage of the project structure is its inefficient use of resources. If time to market is the dominant constraint, then resource efficiency suffers. On the other hand, if the efficient use of resources is the constraint, then time to market suffers. You can’t have it both ways!

Project Structure Advantages:
 Team members are assigned 100 percent to the project and do not have the diversions that other structures create.
 If offers better individual visibility. The project teams are self-contained, with every member accountable for deliverables. There is no place to hide.
 It has greater adaptability. The project manager has line authority over the team members. Schedules can be adjusted as needed without having to worry about creating scheduling conflicts due to other assignments.
 Personnel demonstrate loyalty to the project.
 It has better cost control. The project manager controls all of the resources and therefore has better visibility and control of those costs than in other organizational structures.
 Strong communication channels.

Project Structure Disadvantages:
 It has poor stability. Project can be cancelled due to changing market conditions, business priorities, and many other reasons. In those cases deployment of the team members to other projects may be problematic. The same situation exists when the project is completed.
 Because of the changing projects in the organization, more management attention is required than in the case of more stable structures.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Project Authority

 Authority is the power granted to individuals (possibly by their position) so that they can make final decisions.
 Authority can be delegated from one’s superior.

Power, on the other hand, is granted to an individual by his subordinates and is a measure of their respect for him.
 A manager’s authority is a combination of his power and influence such that subordinates and peers willingly accept his judgment.
 Project manager are generally known for having a lot of delegated authority but very little formal power. They must, therefore, get jobs done through the use of interpersonal influences.
 There are five such interpersonal influences:
 Legitimate Power: it represents the power a leader has as a result of his position in the organization. Legitimate power and authority are the same.
 Reward Power: it is based on the ability to control and provide valued rewards to others.
 Coercive Power: it is the ability to punish others if they do not display desired behaviors.
 Expert Power: it is the influence that is based on expertise, special skills, or knowledge.
 Referent Power: it comes from being admired, personally identified with, or liked by others. When we admire people, want to be like them, or feel friendship toward them, we follow their directions more willingly and exhibit loyalty toward them.

Organizational Structure/Terminologies

 Organizations can be defined as groups of people who must coordinate their activities in order to meet organizational objectives.
 The coordination function requires strong communication and a clear understanding of the relationships and interdependence among people.
 Organizational structures are dictated by such factors as technology and its rate of change, resource availability, product, and competition.
 You must keep in mind that there is no such thing as good or bad organizational structure; there are only appropriate or inappropriate ones.

 The following definitions will be used in the discussions of organizational structures:
Authority is the power granted to individuals (possibly by their position) so that they can make final decisions.
 In other words, authority is the right to take and implement management decisions.
 You can make decisions – it is just a process of generating options for a solution to a problem. You need authority to decide which to use and then implement the selected option.
Responsibility is the obligation incurred by individuals in their roles in the formal organization to effectively perform assignments.
 Your role demands that you create a climate in your team where responsibility is clearly defined and accepted. Without acceptance there is no commitment and the work is not done or willingly.
 Responsibility is completely separate to an individual and cannot be shared. A shared or split responsibility is no responsibility and generates a blame culture!
 When you are given authority you are held to account for its effective use and abuse! No authority means no accountability.
Accountability is being answerable for the satisfactory completion of a specific assignment. (Accountability = authority + responsibility.)
 You are only accountable for the use of management authority that is given by delegation.