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Project management is a structured approach to managing project deliverables with an aim to produce a service or product and involves requirement gathering, defining objectives, balancing stakeholder demands and ensuring achievement of project purpose. Project management involves creation of structure for managing commitments of the project and provides control over the project such that its deliverables are sufficiently met. It also takes care of the demands of creating balance between triple constraints including time; scope and quality of deliverables which can assist project managers achieve success. This report would explore the project management structure to understand how it can assist a project team in various ways.

A project organization can have a functional structure or dedicated teams for managing projects.

In a functional organization, project segments are delegated to different functional units of the project organization. Coordination between these departments is maintained using regular communication procedures. This type of structure is most often used in cases where one functional area of the company is dominating the project. Adoption of this project structure does not need any structural changes to be made in the organization for managing project. The post-project transition is thus easy as resources can be easily released form project upon completion and can be shifted to other projects or regular work. However, this approach also has some drawbacks such as lack of ownership in project team, poor integration of functions, lack of focus in teams, and slow delivery.

HCL Infosystems is a functional organization in which project activities are taken care of by people from individual departments that include product, quality control, logistics, delivery, order processing, accounting, sales, after sales service, customer relationships management, and marketing departments . Each department is responsible for managing its own performance so the organization as a whole can have a better control over performance. An example of one project managed in the company could be taken to understand how they work. The company had got a project in which, the IT infrastructure including servers, desktop, printers, scanners, and networking equipments were to  be installed in pan India branches of a bank.  The responsibilities of the project were divided into different departments including sales that were responsible for getting order and payments, production that was responsible for manufacturing, quality control responsible for user testing, logistics responsible for transportation, and customer service responsible for managing complaints.

An alternative to functional delegation in project, dedicated project teams could also be formed allowing them to operate as independent units. This is more appropriate method for a business which involves project as a dominant force in business and functional departments only play a role of support function. Dedicated project team structure is simple, cohesive, and fast and allow for cross-functional integration. However, this can be expensive to implement and can face challenges like internal conflicts, limitations of technology expertise, and difficulties of post-project transition.

An organization can be functional   with different departments forming segments for project management, with dedicated teams for projects, or matrix which is the hybrid of the two. While selecting the right structure to the project organization, some organizational and project considerations are important.

A. Organizing Projects within the Functional Organization

Some questions about the organization can be answered to be able to take appropriate decisions such as:

  • What percentage of the core organization work involves project?

Around 40% of the work of HCL is project based while majority of its work includes selling of existing products.

  • Is resource available internally?

The company has 50,000 employees working full time in the company and have teams dedicated to different types of work who can easily be put onto projects ad thus, resource availability is high.

Project considerations can include:

Project Size: Projects taken by HCL are usually large in size

Strategic Importance: Project taken care of high strategic importance because of branding and project size

Need for innovation: Most projects have less need for innovation as standard products have to be delivered but some projects do require innovation

Need for integration: There is a high need for integration between different departments as project deliveries require work from most of them as they are large scale.

Environmental Complexities: Large scale projects require coordination from multiple channel partners including suppliers, software developers, consultants, and transporters.

Budget and time constraints: Budget and time constraints are high as customers need cost effective deliveries at less time.

Stability of resource requirements: The Company mostly take projects that have standard requirements with specific number of items to be delivered. With defined processes, limited resources can take care of things and even in the case of scale ups , the same people can work    and thus, human resource requirement remains stable more or less.

Considering these characteristics a department driven project structure would be appropriate for the company.

Organizational culture is formed by norms, values, beliefs, and assumptions that are shared by people belonging to one organization. It reflects upon the personality of the organization which also adds a differentiating factor.

There can be different characteristics of culture that can create differentiation for an organization such as :

  • Employee identity:Employees can either identify with the organization or with the expertise they carry. HCL employees are encouraged to work in teams and identify with the organization more than their individual expertise
  • Team emphasis: HCL has people collaborating in teams such that activities are organized around teams rather than individuals. One team member can easily take over the work of other in case of his or absence.
  • Unit integration: It defines the degree to which various departments coordinate with each other. HCL being a project based organization work with different departments working on same projects and thus, a high level of coordination is required.
  • Control: HCL has Human resource policies and rules but they are not stringent. Direct supervision by the immediate senior also depends on the individual but employees have the freedom to bypass immediate supervisor and seek help from senior person or even from a member of different project team or department.
  • Reward Criteria:Rewards are given to employees of HCL based on their performance for which an appraisal system is used. Appraisals are mostly based on performance figures and thus, seniority or favouritism has least impact.
  • Risk Tolerance: Risk tolerance of HCL employees is high and they are willing to take risks to achieve bigger projects.
  • Conflict Tolerance: The employees can openly express their unhappiness or concerns to seniors or even through the employee management system
  • Means versus results: HCL not only respect outcomes but also the processes or techniques that are used to achieve results. The employees believe in codes of ethics and use of standardized processes(SPSU, 2015).

Managing versus Leading a Project 

Managing project involves assuring that activities are completed and resolving conflicts if encountered while leading involves a major change that is brought about in an organization which may even need a complete cultural transformation.

Managing Project Stakeholders 

  • Project Team:Project team is provided support from senior management and recognition against third performance to keep them motivated towards achieving project goals.
  • Project Managers: Project manager would be the person responsible for complete project including initiation, planning, executing, coordinating, controlling, directing, and closing.
  • Administrative Support: administrators must be informed and supported by project team members
  • Functional Managers: Functional managers are assigned responsibilities and are rewarded against their good performance
  • Top Management: Top management would be submitted project progress report and change management report along with details of their responsibilities to seek support from them on project.
  • Project Sponsors :Project sponsors must know the budget and how project would affect it and bring results for the business
  • Contractors: Contractors would be interested in having favourable terms and conditions such that their participation on project gives them profits
  • Government Agencies: Government has rules and regulations bout compliances and standards that must be followed and the management must also disclosure the government about their adherence. For example, HCL would submit tax returns, bill of lading, octroi charges, etc.
  • Other Organizations: Other organizations that a directly or indirectly affected by a project includes competition. For instance,, if HCL sells its products at disruptive prices to a company, it would the competitors as they also are expected to reduce prices.
  • Customers: Customers must be informed about the progress of the project to keep them involved. In HCL, the customers are involved in acceptance testing and are continuously communicated about the status by the sales personnel.

Influence as Exchange 

  • Task-Related Currencies: These include resources that are used for lending money for project implementation. In HCL, when employees come up with new ideas or implementation or upgrading for the benefit of the organization such as research or event, the money is provided to support them
  • Position-Related Currencies: When a task is performed that leads to promotion and recognition of a person who gets an opportunity to get known among the people at higher hierarchical positions, it is called position-related currency. In HCL, employees are always given freedom to take responsibilities of bigger tasks allowing them to meet CEO or chairman to get this kind of recognition.
  • Inspiration-Related Currencies: When a person is involved in a task which is of high importance to the company, the person gets inspiration. In HCL, key account managers are give whole responsibility for managing complete projects that can be large size and strategically very important to the organization.
  • Relationship-Related Currencies: When peers and bosses provide support through emotional backing, it creates a culture of relationship-related currencies. HCL has a people friendly culture in which peers and seniors not just collaborate professionally but also spend personal time together and provide emotional support to others.
  • Personal-Related Currencies: When tasks performed in an organization are shared among different people so as to develop the skills mutually, it can be seen as a personal-related currency. In HCL, the seniors are always delegating key responsibilities to others and even to management trainees so that they can learn the practical skills(Puscasu, 2015).
  • Mapping Dependencies:This is first step in building a social network which involves identification of people on which depends a project. For this, HCL employees would connect with the client representatives and identify decision makers and all those having a say in project management before seeking a project (Gray, 2011).
  • ManagementbyWanderingAround(MBWA) : This is a strategy for developing connections with people around in an office. A person can just roam around the place for no reason and start talking to people he sees around to get to know them and build a network in the process (James Manktelow , 2015). This is a regular habit of the employees of HCL who are allowed to roam around for any problem solving freely into other departments where they can get the opportunity to meet new people and develop network.

Ethics in project management deals with two themes including self-interest coinciding with ethical behaviour and stakeholder model. A project manager should be able to put the interest of the project over his or her own. Further, there can also be conflicts between the interests of corporate and stakeholders like financers, management, suppliers, customers, and communities. A project manager needs to create a balance between interests of these stakeholders for which the project managers of stakeholder involve all major stakeholder representatives before starting of the project through a meeting so that a consensus can be reached on strategy that suits the interest of all (Lock & Scott, 2017).

Contradictory Nature of Work 

  1. Innovate and maintain stability:Project managers thrive on change and foster creativity in people allowing them to innovate. At the same time, it is also important to maintain stability through the use of systems that provide both vision and control. Project managers in HCL are allowed to make changes in procedures based on the project requirements but at the same time, some mandatory procedures have to be followed for stability(DuBois, et al., 2017).
    ii. See the big picture while getting your hands dirty : While project managers have to see the overall impact of project and develop strategies according to holistic view, one is also required to get into the minute details of the project such as making the people at lowest level work by giving them special attention for motivation. The project managers working at HCL involve into talking even with office boys and clerical staff who gives them more sensitive information about project (Larson & Gray, 2006).
  1. Outsourcing Project Work
  2. Advantages 
  • Cost reduction: As specialized people are involved when work is outsources, the cost is reduced as there would not be cost involved in hiring people as internal staff and training them.
  • Faster project completion: Because of specialized knowledge of the outsourced people, the company can complete the work faster.
  • HCL Infosystems outsources its bidding process to a third party who managing the online bidding process for private projects.
  1. Types of closure:Closure can be normal upon completion of all activities, premature with scope reduction or perpetual such that the project is terminated without completion. HCL project managers keep monitoring the project activities with an aim for normal closure but if the cost of project exceeds the income or benefit then they opt for reduction of scope and if the project is seen to be not delivering desired results, management can take decisions for termination.
  2. Wrap-up closure activities: While wrapping up the project, there are four key activities to be taken care of including sponsor or client acceptance, project assessment, project history archiving, and celebration of success. HCL makes customer acceptance testing as a mandatory procedure on the project before it is marked as completed. Every project is assessed and a project report is prepared to be stored in the database for future reference and learning. The HCL team celebrates the success of any project upon receiving the final acceptance and income from them.

Conclusion 

This report explored some concepts and theories on project management that were applied to the case of an IT company called HCL information systems Ltd. The aim of the paper was to understand how these things work in practice. It was found that most concept hold practical value for project management allowing a project manager to improve his or her productivity with the use of appropriate strategies that can be decided based on the understanding of the given concepts.

References

DuBois, M. et al., 2017. Leadership Styles of Effective Project Managers: Techniques and Traits to Lead High Performance Teams. Journal of Economic Development, Management, IT, Finance and Marketing, 7(1), pp. 30-46.

Gray, 2011. Project Management 4E (Sie). s.l.:Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

James Manktelow , 2015. Management by Wandering Around (MBWA). [Online] Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_72.htm [Accessed 10 April 2017].

Larson, E. W. & Gray, C. F., 2006. Project Management: The Managerial Process (Special Indian Edition). s.l.:Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Lock, D. & Scott, L., 2017. Gower Handbook of People in Project Management. s.l.:GPM First.

Puscasu, A., 2015. Influence as Currency Exchange. [Online] Available at: https://apepm.co.uk/influence-as-currency-exchange/
[Accessed 10 April 2017].

SPSU, 2015. Project Management Organization Structure & Culture, s.l.: Souther Polytechnic State University.

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