Project Management Work Breakdown Structure

Work Breakdown Structure

Project Management work breakdown structure

The success of a project relies on various factors, such as project team, efficiency of project manager, availability of resources and funds and so on. An important factor that is crucial for the success of the project is the organizational structure, which can have a positive or a negative impact on the project. The organizational structure affects the authority of the project manager and his performance. There are many types of project organizational structures, which are discussed as follows:

Functional Organizational Structure: This type of structure is generally followed in the organizations, which are more tuned to operational activities. For example, automobile manufacturers, cement manufacturers, oil and gas refineries, banks, telecom operators, etc. In this structure, people having same skills and capabilities are grouped together. The operations department runs the operations and produces automobiles, cement, oil and gas or banking and telecom service. These are marketed by the Marketing department. Human Resource (HR) in the organization is handled by the HR department; technology is handled by the Information Technology (IT) department; and financial transactions and management are handled by the Finance department. Each of these department is typically headed by a CXO — X being the name of the department, such as Chief Operations Officer and Chief Marketing Officer.

Division by Function

Projects in such organizations are few and far between. Whenever any project needs to be undertaken in such organizations, mostly a Cross Functional Team (CFT) is formed. The project team does not have much authority to acquire resources and budgets, and needs approvals from heads of the departments to get them. Chief Functional Officers are generally assigned the responsibilities of the functional aspect of the project. This could result in delays in the completion of projects and may increase project complexities due to lack of co-ordination and conflicting objectives of each department.

Matrix Organizational Structure: In this structure, the authority is shared between the project and functional managers. The team members associated with the project will have dual reporting structure and will have to abide by the decisions made by both the project manager and the functional manager. In this structure, the project manager is responsible for the entire project, and the functional manager is accountable for the functions involved in the project. 

The matrix organizational structure can be strong or weak. In strong matrix structure, the authority of project manager is higher than that of the functional manager, and the project team reports to him only. On the other hand, in weak matrix structure, the functional manager has higher authority than the project manager, and the project manager has no control over project resources and funds.

Project-oriented Organizational Structure: The organizations having this structure are always involved in the project activities. Organizations such as construction companies, software development firms, etc. have this type of structure.

For example, a milk powder producer may want to expand their existing plant capacity. They will employ the service of some milk powder plant and machinery manufacturer to set up this project for them. The supplier side business development team bags the order for delivering the project for the client. Once the order is bagged, work is transferred to the delivery team, headed by a delivery head. This delivery head may be handling multiple projects, each of which is handled by a project manager and a project team. The project manager is entrusted with the compete authority of the project. The project manager decides the project budget, schedule and the project team.

Hybrid Organizational Structure: In this structure, the combination of the aforementioned structures is adopted. The authority, responsibility and resources are mixed as per the need of the project.


  • Projects are undertaken to achieve certain objectives by following a set of interrelated tasks and utilizing the resources efficiently.
  • Projects need coordinated efforts of all the people involved in it and proper planning. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt the project management to deliver the results on time.
  • Project manager is the individual who leads the project and makes decisions for its successful completion. He/she is accountable for success/failure of the project.
  • Triple constraints refer to a concept to be understood by the project managers to assess and comprehend the complications that may arise due to the three interdependent constraints of time, cost and scope, which impact each other while delivering quality product or service.
  • Every project has a certain tenure, i.e. a beginning and a finish date, and progresses through four phases, namely concept, design, execution and finishing.
  • Stage gates are decision points for deciding whether to move to the next stage or not.
  • Conflicts in the project management can be resolved using various techniques, namely withdrawing, smoothing, compromising, collaborating and forcing.

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