A paper presented to the first Engineering Congress, The Institution of Engineers, India - Calcutta, January 1987

Introduction | Definition | Traditional | Hard-Soft | Environment
Characteristics | Concepts | Control | Breakdown | Fundamentals
Prerequisites | Summary | Appendix A | Appendix B

Traditional Management

For emphasis let us take a moment to compare project management with "traditional" management. Traditionally, management has not been concerned with projects but with on-going enterprises. Change is minimal and slow, with sufficient time to adjust, and hence can be thoroughly programmed and slowly integrated. Time is not an immediate concern.

Such on-going enterprises typically have the following characteristics:

  • Relatively simple and certain technology;
  • Large production quantities per time period;
  • Continuous flow of products and/or services with substantial similarity in performed tasks;
  • Tasks are repetitive, relationships and responsibilities are clear and the people are functioning in a high stable environment; and
  • Roles and responsibilities of all members are well understood; relation- ships develop and are adjusted over long periods of time.

In such enterprises, management's role has been to maintain the flow of authority and responsibility by ensuring that:

  • Established on-going organizations function on a vertical basis;
  • A chain of authority exists within the organization from the highest to the lowest rank, through every link in the chain. Hence, an employee receives orders from one superior only.
  • Strong superior-subordinate relationships exist to preserve unity of command and to ensure unity of purpose;
  • Work progresses within autonomous functional units of the organization;
  • Line and staff relationships are clearly defined;
  • Functional managers have clearly identified, finite responsibilities; and
  • Functional managers establish "staff" relationships where collective action is required.

Unfortunately, this traditional management approach breaks down where projects are concerned. Consequently, new management relationships are then required. These tend to cut across the normal flow of authority and responsibility and to radiate outside the functional unit.

Definition  Definition

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