Characteristics of Project Management and the Factor of Success

Seminar Paper, 2013

25 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 The aim of the course paper

2 The definition of a project

3 Project Organization
3.1 Project-oriented organizational structures
3.2 Pure project organization
3.2 Project management gain on signification

4 The factor of success
4.1 The different definitions of project success
4.2 Major differences and main conclusions of project success
4.3 How to control and measure a project success

5 Why fail almost 90 percent of all projects?

6 Conclusion


1 Introduction

In this day and age short project life-cycle, outpace technological progress, the globalization and the cost pressure of the companies are requirement for the economic system. Furthermore the companies must react on increasing costumers’ requirements in terms of commitment and flexibility. Consequently companies should react to all changes in their environment. These influences respond the companies with copious alterations of their structure. The aim of the companies is to gain strategic competitive advantages. By means of high product quality, flexibility and high service could achieve these advantages vis-à-vis competitors.

Project management is a quickly rising focus discipline inside most businesses and organizations. It is a continuous challenge to find the optimal way of managing projects. Today concerns project management the whole organization, whether it is a private venture or public ability. Nearly everyone in their professional careers comes across projects. This refers on the individual member of staff, who might be involved in one or more projects, right up to the senior management were it is decided which projects to run and how to distribute resources.

Nevertheless, the knowledge on project management and what ii really comprises is weakly disseminated and is often misunderstood. Regretfully there are many frustrated project managers who do not get the support and the resources they need to succeed their projects. (Tonquist, 2008)

1.1 The aim of the course paper

The aim of this course paper is to reveal some main characteristics of project organizing. In addition this course paper should elaborate the increasing importance of project organization in the popularity. It will show the main advantages and drawbacks with project-oriented organizational structures. Consequently solutions are searched to counteract against the disadvantages. By the help of the assigned literature project success should be defined and discussed. The conclusion shows the main points in the relevant papers. Following the author’s personal opinion about project success clarified and which kinds of measurements rations of evaluation and control of project success are suggested.

On the basis of the fact that some management scholars and practitioners claim that almost 90 percent of all projects fail, the author’s own opinion stated.

2 The definition of a project

In the technical literature a huge number of definitions of “project” are findable. One good example of them is the following:

”A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service. Temporary means that every project has a definite beginning and a definite end. Unique means that the product or service is different in some distinguishing way from all similar products or services.” (PMBoK, 1996: 4)

Consequently, a project is a plan which is carried out for the realisation of certain aims in an agreed period. In modern time’s projects, project work and the associated project management for the companies gain more significance. This process is accelerated by a shorter growing life cycle of products and the quicker technological change of the environmental conditions and circumstances of competition. To carry out such a project it is necessary, to go forward in a systematic manner and also supported by a premeditated method. For that reason the project organisation receives more importance. Projects are not from long duration but limited in time, consequently there are temporarily. Beyond projects are cross- departmental and ranged above several departments of a company (Wessels, 2008, p. 1).

3 Project Organization

Today project organization exists because there is something significant and complex to be resolved. Another reason is that there is a need for a focused organization effort and a high need of organization in order to execute a number of tasks. (Söderlund, 2004, p. 187)

Every enterprise also owns a management structure and organizational regulations for the accomplishment of tasks. In a project it is necessary to work with an interdisciplinary collaboration in innovative task. Thereby, conflicts arise in the matter-of-fact-manner as well as in the leadership area. If you want to conveyed the solution of such conflicts on a conventional line organization you would have to draw for the conflict management of a higher hierarchy. So it comes to an overload of this leaders and delays on the project flow. To avoid these problems it is a good way to succeed a special organisation – the project organization (Litke H.-D. , 2007, p. 63).

“Project organizing is one of several cornerstones of new organizational forms. Project organizing is affected by and affecting other parts of the general development.”
(Söderlund J. , Project-based organizations and project competence, 2013)

The organization should ensure the following points:

- An unimpeded flow of the project
- Results-oriented definition of the function structure of the project
- Definite attribution of tasks, responsibilities and competences
- Effective cooperation and reconciliation between all involved people in the project
- rapid adaption of the project organization at chanced aims and boundary conditions

These points can be accomplished only in close collaboration of the superior management, with the project manager and the line management of the project (Litke H.-D. , 2007, p. 64). The project organisation is reasoned to conclude a project efficiently. Principal, contractor, project managers and project employees form the core of the project organisation. If necessary, it can be extended by other deciding bodies and control committees.

The aim of a project organization is to achieve increased efficiency. On the basis that resources are always limited, is it the goal to optimize the use of available resources. With a good structured project organization it is easier to achieve that aim. (Tonquist, 2008, p. 1) The use of project organizations today is the driving force in the search for factors that influence project success.

3.1 Project-oriented organizational structures

The project-oriented organization transacts the predominant part of tasks and processes with a help of projects. They work together with project orientated strategies and, organization structures and specific qualified employee.
(Hölzle, 2009, p. 25)

For an organizational implementation of project management are recommended the typical forms of project organization:

- line organization
- matrix organization
- pure project organization

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1 : Models of project organization

The matrix organisation offers often the best requirements for a righteous task- and competences allocation. Certainly it comes consistently through creation decentralised and autonomous project units to problems in the organization. Many employee face to the change distrustfully. Therefore, the project manager gets often insufficient authorities; especially the power to direct remains often in central controlled departments. (Madhauss, 2000, p. 109) The efficient and effective management couldn’t accomplish alone through a conversion to a matrix organisation, rather it must be succeed a project-oriented organization. There can occur temporary organization for a better implementation of complex processes.

Usually is a project-oriented organization an organization with a flat organization structure. The main task focused on the handling of projects. That involves most companies from plant manufacturing, building industry, software development and also consulting firms. The importance of project management increases also in such companies. On based of a good line organisation were the companies more successful in the past. In this way they can react flexible on the different changes, the costumer requirement and on the increasing completion conditions. (Meredith, 2003, p. 5)

A company owns permanent structures and organizational regulations. For the progress of the project it required a specific temporary organization, so-called project organization. The project organization is necessary because the collaboration is often unusual interdisciplinary and implicate new task. Furthermore the project organization mobilizes the form of the new collaboration. The collaboration can modify the different phases. On that reason it is important that the project organizations are flexible to react on possible alterations. (Jenny, 2005, p. 64)

3.2 Pure project organization

At the other end of the organization spectrum is pure project organization. Special is, that the project is estranged from the rest of the parent system. It becomes a self-contained unit with its own technical staff, its own administration.
(Meredith J. , 1995, p. 155)

At the highest level in the organization you can find staff posts – senior manager, directors, administrative staff, etc. On the next level down is a series of project managers who have manage over one or more projects at the same time. The creation of project team depends on the stage in the life-cycle of the project. At the planning stage there will be architects, structural engineers, quantity surveyors and different other specialties. These will be replaced by a range of contractors who are brought in to carry specific tasks as the project moves through the operational phase. Some time ago the specific task is completed and the team in each case is resolved. To move on to other projects, the project manager retained. (Maylor, 2005, p. 223)

Söderlund describes in his paper “Competence dynamics and learning processes in project – based firms: Shifting, adapting and leveraging” that “the most evident advantage of project-based forms of organising includes the possibilities of local, cross-disciplinary problem solving and learning across disciplinary domains. The challenges involve the effects of local and situated problem solving and particularly the problems of transferring such local knowledge to other projects and other organisational contexts” (Söderlund, 2008, p. 42)

Other than that mentioned advantages you can find in different literature more advantages and disadvantages of a pure project organization structure.


- the project manager has complete authority over the project
- communication between dedicated team members is more efficient and effective than communication between partially team members working in different departments
- team members report only the project manager instead of reporting to both the project and functional managers
- the project team can develop a strong sense of commitment
- enables the implementation of complex projects
- clear task allocation for all involved
- clear allocation of responsibility
- increased motivation and commitment through a good identification with the project
- increased coordination skills
- a quicker reactivity on variations of aims
- a good suggestibility of quality, cost and appointments
- less conflicts during the project flow (Fiedler, 2010, p. 46) (Werren, 2008, p. 9)


- pure project teams tend to conform inconsistently to policies and procedures because, unlike the parent organization
- pure project teams do not follow a process that tests and reinforces procedures
- completion between team members and the parent organization can result in an unhealthy work atmosphere that impedes project success
- Uncertainly about team members’ future after project completion can adversely affect their work. This uncertainly arise primarily when a project nears completion and the team members are not assigned to other projects
- trouble on the usage of the employee after project end
- high switching costs
- momentum in the project group
- the pure project organization is more complex und less flexible as the matrix organization (Fiedler, 2010, p. 46) (Werren, 2008, p. 9)

How the facts demonstrated there are next to the advantages a lot of disadvantages. The range of the right organization form plays already on the decision a great significance. Litke describe that project management can be only successful, if the established management system and the project organization work in a good combination. (Litke H. , 2004, p. 75) Due to the fact that it is very difficult to avoid all of these disadvantages, it is from the first step important to choose the right organization structure. As mentioned previously is the matrix organization more flexible than the pure organization. On that reason it is sometimes better to choose another organization structure.

Keßler/Winkelhofer mentions the following criteria to choose the suitable organization structure. (Kessler & Winkelhofer, 2004, S. 30)


Excerpt out of 25 pages


Characteristics of Project Management and the Factor of Success
Linköping University
Project Management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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531 KB
Project Management, Project Organization, Project Success
Quote paper
Inga Martin (Author), 2013, Characteristics of Project Management and the Factor of Success, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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