This paper was printed as Chapter 5 in the GPM state-of-the-art book Dimensions of Project Management edited by H. ReschkeŠ & H. Schelle and published by Springer-Verlag in 1990. The book involved 29 authors from 16 countries and was assembled in honor of Roland W. Gutsch's 65th birthday. Roland, a personal friend, was founder and long-time leader of the International Project Management Association in Europe.

Abstract | Introduction | What is | Dimensions | Internal Culture
Corporate Culture | Influencing Environment | Internal Strategies
Surroundings | External Strategies | Stakeholders | Public Relations
Examples | Recent Projects | Consultants | Summary | References

The Internal Project Culture

The culture which develops within a project is often a reflection of the leadership style and organizational structure which is adopted for the project. This can vary considerably according to the size and nature of the project, but in any case has been dealt with extensively in the project management literature, and will not be repeated here.

However, to the extent that the melting pot of participation and coordination represents the project's internal cultural environment, it is worth considering because it needs to be managed,. A typical situation is shown in Figure 2, in which the project group to be managed will eventually consist of consultants, contractors and specialists, as well as the owner's staff of advisors and the project control team itself.

Figure 2: Project Management in the Corporate Environment

Figure 2: Project Management in the Corporate Environment

From this it can be seen that each group or person involved in the project has two allegiances or "bosses". That is to say, project responsibilities ultimately to the project manager, and "professional" responsibilities to his or her "home" department or firm. This dual reporting relationship is often referred to as a "matrix" structure and accounts for much of the complexity and difficulties of managing a project, particularly a large one.

Similarly, the project manager will also have a dual responsibility. On the one hand under the "project mandate", he or she will be responsible for the project to the project's "Executive" or "Sponsor", i.e. the person that has the authority to approve further project funding. On the other hand, the project manager will be responsible for personal and professional performance to his or her own home department or company.

Of course, the project mandate should be to direct all operational activities including planning, design, procurement, construction and commissioning. Typically, this will include such direct project support activities as estimating, forecasting, scheduling, procurement, project accounting, and progress reports.

In addition, on a larger project, the project manager may require other more specialized services of an indirect nature. These may include financial accounting, legal, payroll, personnel, property acquisition, systems development, government and public relations, and so on. However, because they do not normally affect project control decisions directly, these activities are often carried out by independent departments or companies, which are not under the project manager's direct supervision.

A major duty of the project manager will be to report on a regular basis to the Executive, whose interest will tend to focus on expenditure to date, forecast final cost, and the scheduled commencement of the facility. For this he must render a succinct digest of the required information on progress, forecast, resource requirements, target dates and actions required. If he is to get the quality of information and service that he needs, then he must maintain good relations and communication. That is to say, he must maintain a favorable and positive environment involving all parties serving the project.

As many practicing project managers will attest, this is frequently more easily said than done. In no small part, this is due to the nature of a project in the context of its time environment, and the variation in level-of-effort as described earlier.

Dimensions of the Project Environment  Dimensions of the Project Environment

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