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.

Free Project Team Organization Worksheet

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Project Team OrganizationToday I’m going to write about (and provide) a free Project Team Organization worksheet to complement the Project Charter Template so many have downloaded. Both files are free for download, modification, and distribution. [Team Organization Worksheet] [Project Charter Template]

When using the Project Team Organization worksheet, note that there are 4 sections:  Structure, Roles and Responsibilities, and a Responsibility Matrix, Project Facilities and Resources.  I’m going to focus on the first three.

Step 1: Describe the organizational structure of the project team and stakeholders, preferably providing a graphical depiction (organization chart).

Step 2: Summarize roles and responsibilities for the project team and stakeholders identified in the project structure above.

Step 3: Complete the responsibility matrix for each of the project roles. As a graphical depiction of a more detailed perspective of responsibilities, the matrix should reflect by functional role the assigned responsibility for key milestones and activities.

Step 4: Describe the project’s requirements for facilities and resources, such as office space, special facilities, computer equipment, office equipment, and support tools. Identify responsibilities for provisioning the specific items needed to support the project development environment.  Hey, you’re people need places to sit and equipment to get their work done.

With preliminary approval, copy these values into Section 3 of our free Project Charter Template. Upon Project Charter approval, apply the identified team members to activities in Microsoft Project or your selected Project Management application.

Another thing I would recommend is leverage the data from this worksheet in your Communications Management Plan.  You’ve already identified people and their roles or responsibilities.  The most important thing to remember is do what makes sense.  This planning worksheet isn’t required to do a Charter.  It’s supposed to make things easier for you and lower the risk of not knowing who is on your team and what they are responsible for.

[Team Organization Worksheet] [Project Charter Template]