Program/Project Authority versus Organizational Structure

The extent to which the project leaders manage the resources deployed to their projects can vary dramatically according to the impact of the projects on the corporation.  Matrix Project Leader authority and effectiveness tends to vary from “Part-Time Coordinator” to a fully articulated professional “Project Management Office”,[1] depending on the amount of risk, the relative value, cost and commitment the company foresees with any given project, Figure 1.  Thus, when risk is high, value is low and the project poses little cost to the company, and the staff that work on the project, tend to reside within line departments and the line managers are likely to have a large influence on the conduct of the project.  For this reason the project leader is likely to be a part-time coordinator.  On the other hand, when the value is high, and the cost is high, the company is likely to take the outcome of the project very seriously and will likely commit resources to enable full-time professional project leadership of the project, and if there are many such projects the company will establish a project office to manage the projects.  In extreme instances, the company may dissolve the matrix of line departments and assign all resource across the set of projects.

Figure 9, Project Leader Authority from Part-time Coordinator to Professional Project Office.[1]

We explore this topic further in the whitepaper “The Differences Between Discovery and Development Project & Portfolio Management Come Down to the Level of Risk”. This information is also available in the format of a webinar. If you are interested in either the white paper or webinar, please Contact Us.

[1] Derived from Project Management Institute Basic Skills & A Guide to the PMBOK Intro, ,Chicago Ill., 3-Oct-00.


[1] Section 1.9.1 The Standard for Portfolio Management, 2nd Ed. P. 17, Project Management Institute, 2008.