Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Different kinds of organizational structures

An organizational structure is the characteristics of the enterprise which consists relationships, coordination, task allocations and control mechanisms between processes, workforce and management, and designs how assets and resources are distributed, assigned and used in the alignment with organization’s strategy and goals.

There are three major types of organizational structure: functional, matrix (strong, balanced, or weak) and projectized.

In functional organization an employee reports to only one direct manager. This organization has a fairly strict hierarchy of responsibility. Individual jobs are the focal point. Each employee is placed to a particular department, based on skill and qualification matching. This leads to good operational efficiency within the department. Chain of command is stable and linear. However communication among departments can be slow and cumbersome. Project manager is a part-time or seasonal (i.e. very little) role, and does have little or no authority. They are usually experts in their particular unit who have been promoted due to high performance. Functional manager holds the control over projects; they possess full management role and authority.

Projectized organization is the opposite for functional organization: it focuses and collocates its recourses around project work. They are built to do projects: fast-paced, deadline oriented. Examples of such organizations are: IT consulting, construction firms, law offices. Therefore project managers possess all authority, responsibility, and power over the budget allocation. They are fully responsible for their projects and personnel. Employees report directly to project managers. Formalized functional manager role may not exist; if they do they mostly focus on staffing coordination, planning and hiring.

Between two extremes, functional and projectized, lay matrix organizations, which group employees by both function and product. This structure combines functional and projectized elements. There is a variety of structural combinations in matrix organizations: from functional (weak) matrix to project (strong) matrix. Project manager can have very different level of authority from very limited and part-time role in weak matrix to high in strong matrix and at least as much formal authority as functional/line manager if not more. Project managers can be primarily responsible for projects (strong matrix) or just oversee cross-functional aspects of the project (weak matrix). Balanced matrix lay somewhere in between: Project Manager here is usually a part-time role with little formal authority, who provides some input to performance reviews.

All three kinds of org structure might be blended and exist in mixed form within one organization. For example overarching functional organization can have subdivisions, which are projectized themselves; and matrix organizations for example have elements of both border cases: functional and projectized, all interlaced and integrated. And because of temporary nature of the projects some particular organization structure may appear temporarily only for the period of the project lifecycle in the organization, which has a different type of the structure by definition.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the search of joy of work (4 minutes oral presentation)

More I was thinking of the topic of the presentation more Iwas becoming puzzled what topic to choose. Among number of things which veryimportant for me are happiness, family, friends, god, health, luck, joy oflife, and work, work which I would really like to perform. And today I willtalk about work, since most of us spendmost of our conscious time working, and YOU AGREE that job takes huge amount ofour lives, right?
I am working in software engineering field for a long time.I liked to explore the internet in its late 90s, when it was very young, Iloved to transform new interesting designs and projects into reality, loved tobe involved into mass media projects, when thousands of people started torecognize my work and sometimes my name.
However, after a while I started to get bored. Life ofprogramming became not pleasant any more, and going to the office every daybecame a torture.
I asked question to myself: what do I do? Coding andprogramming. How do I feel? I feel like I am stuck with this type ofwork, it suppresses personality, it accumulates the anxiety inside, and doesnot help much for conversational English, since almost no speaking is requiredby job duties.
In fact I’ve never liked it, but I didn’t want to give up Ithought it might be my employer, and I changed it, but it did not help much.
How about change of profession? And what would Ilike to do? And I came up with the idea that I would rather do peoplemanagement. However in order to get into management I have to have a managerialexperience, or corresponding education, neither of which I possess. Plus itrequires some interpersonal qualities, leadership, communication and languageskills.
 And here thecommunication in English is a serious constraint. I belong to another culture,I speak another language. I belong to totally different universe. Russianfamily, Russian friends, Russian coworkers… English has always being an extraeffort, and in many cases – a barrier to move forward. It affects everydaylife, personally and professionally, career growth and any career changesoverall.
And I took a decision to continue my education.  Currently I am taking English and ProjectManagement classes. My year resolution goal is to get a professionalcertificate in Project Management, which will help me to jump into management.
I also have a long term goal: Master in businessadministration, or MBA. So, my education has started again, and I hope it willopen new opportunities in my professional life and will help to find a jobwhich I like.
I am on my path to find myself, to find what I enjoy themost, to find out who I am in my world and what my world is about. I believe if I change my daily routine, ANDMY PROFESSION, I will be happier. I am on my way there.