Organizational culture and project management

Organizational culture and project management
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Organizational culture in project management is broad concept, that involves proper use of project management methodology in creating and maintaining effective cooperation within project management team. The main reason for the use of project management methodology is the need to focus organizational capacity on the current activities of the organization. To remain competitive, managers need to constantly improve the products and services delivered to customers, and organizational processes connected with it. There is no way to do this without theory and practice of project management.

The teams involved in the implementation of various projects introduce their own organizational culture. In part it reflects the universal ways of implementing all types of projects (it uses common knowledge of methods and techniques), but to a large extent is influenced by the impact of organizational culture of company implementing the project. Organizational culture is an important factor for efficient implementation of project and reflect operating style of team members (forms of communication, dress code, language, symbols, etc.).

Purpose of project team

Fig.1. Elements of organizational culture

The purpose of the project team is to integrate specific expertise so that the project was carried out within the framework of the adopted budget and schedule. Main role of team is to satisfy internal or external customer needs, and at the same time remain consistent with the strategy and objectives of the whole organization. Projects are performed due to the necessity for continuous change and adaptation of the organization to dynamic external environment. Gaining a competitive advantage requires competences and skills to implement a long-term strategy of continuous improvement. They can take many forms. To skillfully manage changes and improvements, the project team must demonstrate ingenuity and creativity, and inspire confidence among members. Increasing the effectiveness of the project team organization through the effective use of assets, and development of good strategy, lead to greater efficiency.

Organizational culture that promotes project management

Firstly, project managers and specialists. must be in favour of the changes. Project team member is engaged in detailed planning of projects and supervision of their implementation. Individual project tasks are performed by a project team members and other people (employees, subcontractors, etc.). The task of project management is not only to create a detailed schedule for implementation of the project, together with the allocation of resources to individual tasks, but also to examine the consistency of its objectives, the creation of the communication plan of the project and risk management.

Project management specialist prepares its implementation plan and directs the project by the following activities:

  • Definition of the project (together with the main parties involved in the project) describes the objectives, scope, results and precisely defines the criteria for success,
  • Decomposition of the project to main tasks and subtasks, thus creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) of tasks,
  • Creating a project schedule by estimating the durations of individual tasks and determination of the temporal relationships between them,
  • Defining a set of resources necessary to complete the project: people, contractors, machinery, equipment and materials,
  • Allocation of resources to individual tasks and troubleshooting overload or shortage,
  • Analyse of the critical path and the duration of the entire project,
  • Project risk management, identifying potential risks and developing response strategies in each case,
  • Monitoring progress from the planning stage to the implementation stage of the project, Leading a team of contractors and possibly modify the schedule in case of unexpected events.

Secondly, both managers and project management specialists should, together with management of the company, create an atmosphere that brings out of the people all that is best in them`. The key task of the project manager (project leader) and other managers is to create conditions fostering the creative and structured environment to support efficient operation of the project team.

Formation and sustaining of organizational culture for project management

In the formation and sustaining of such a culture can help the following activities:

  • Creation and implementation of permanent and systematic methods of planning, organization and control of the project management system. (providing to the project team efficient project management methodology).
  • Opening for the creativity team, encouraging innovative activities which are not accompanied by concerns about possible repercussions in the case mistake.
  • Provide to the team necessary guidance and support. Understanding the competence and commitment of the team members by the project manager, is necessary to achieve maximum efficiency of team activities.
  • Creating awareness of ownership of the project among the team members. If team members are convinced that their views and opinions are important, it increases their self-confidence and creative potential to grow.
  • Maintaining adequate control over the project and providing necessary resources.
  • Informing team members and maintaining open communication.

Organizational culture and project management methods

Organizational culture that accepts and supports the use of project management methods, is characterized by the following features:

  • Theory and practice of project management are common and often used as a method of response to changes in the organization and its environment,
  • Managers developed appropriate strategies, methods, procedures and organizational arrangements, which were submitted to the members of the organization and that they are fully understood,
  • Training events are organized explaining the issues related to the scope of powers and responsibilities of individual team members. As new teams are created, managers define their common role in matrix organizations,
  • Top executives know the methodology of project management, and are aware of the importance of project teams in the use of inter-organizational opportunities faced by the company. They focus their activities of supervising project teams on the proper allocation of resources,
  • There is an active educational and training program based on the continuous updating of knowledge, skills and methods of employees in the theory and practice of project management,
  • There is an adequate system of evaluation, measuring of results, people and teams involved in the implementation of projects in the organization and rewarding those who achieve the best outcomes,
  • Outstanding performance or experience of project managers is an important asset in their careers within the organization.
  • Project management to such an extent dominates the organizational culture, that all employees says: "so this is what we are doing."

Trust is the most important factor in the popularity of project management in the organization. There is high level of confidence in the effectiveness of organizational project management methodology and the competence and commitment of the project manager and his team. When an organization realizes the importance of this trust, it will allow to create conditions for the best use of the positive features of project management methodology.

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