Defining Organizational Structure


organizational influence

Over the last 15 years, I’ve seen a lot of interesting ways an organizational structure will influence a project.  I’ve worked in projectized, functional, matrixed, and even composite environments.  These terms of management are interesting to me because I had to understand the definitions as part of the PMP exam.  At my last engagement, ironically, my boss went so far as to use Wikipedia to get the definition for Matrix Management without realizing I was one of the contributing authors to the page.  Personally, I would prefer to use the PMBOK.  I’ve noticed quite a few people have modified the Matrix definition on Wikipedia.

Today I was reading the PMBOK (I’m strange like that) reviewing differences between the 3rd and 4th editions.  What I noticed were definitions (in the glossary) for each organization structure with the exception of composite.  Composite, by the way, is new to the 4th edition.  Perhaps PMI will take notice and add it at a later date.  Below you’ll find figures and definitions of each.


Projectized is any organizational structure in which the project manager has full authority to assign priorities, apply resources, and direct the work of persons assigned to the project.


Functional is a hierarchical organization where each employee has one clear superior, and staff are grouped by areas of specialization and managed by a person with expertise in that area.


Matrixed is any organizational structure in which the project manager shares responsibility with the functional managers for assigning priorities and for directing the work of persons assigned to the project.


Introduced in PMBOK Revision 4, Composite Organization involves all of the previous structures at various levels. For example, even fundamentally functional organizations may create a special project team to handle a critical project.