project teams

Updated 19/12/2019

The different models of project teams in project management

When embarking on a new project, one vital aspect to consider is the project teams who will be taking on the work. There is no one correct or right team structure that applies to all project teams. As with the nature of projects, project teams vary from project to project. This can depend on many factors, including what resourcing is available as well as what the project deliverables are. What remains common in building a project team is the goal of successful project completion with an effective group of people.

The basics of project teams:

A project team’s make-up is generally dictated by the specifics of the project, and the organization’s structure. Depending on the organization, project teams may align closely with functional teams, or they may be more project-based. Three organizational structures that affect project teams are:

  • Functional organizational structure: teams are based on specialized functions, giving project managers less power and control as functional team leads are the ultimate authorities (e.g. Marketing, Development, Sales).
  • Project organizational structure: teams are created based on the project’s needs, and the project manager has ultimate authority (e.g. large construction projects).
  • Matrix organizational structure: team members work in functional roles as well as project-based roles, and responsibilities are shared between project managers and functional leads.

These organizational structures depend largely on the size of the company, but aside from that factor, there is no definitive guide to which structure is “right” or proper; it depends on the organization itself. In any of the three cases, it’s clear that someone must take on the role of lead, to be accountable for the project, whether it’s a project manager, functional lead, or both. Aside from this crucial role, the team’s structure can be functional in nature, or project-based. In the case that the project team is quite large, there may be sub-teams for functional pieces or sub-modules of a project. For each of these sub-teams, there may be a lead who deals directly with the project lead, or perhaps the project lead themselves manages each of the sub-teams. One factor that affects project team make-up is whether or not there is an offshore or virtual team, as that group will need to have their own dedicated lead to liaison with the rest of the team.

The higher echelons:

In terms of project management itself, the concepts of team structure also apply. In some organizations, there may be a team of project managers that steps in and manages projects that span across functional groups. This team of project managers is usually led by a senior project manager who oversees and manages which members of their team are available to manage various projects that are taking place throughout the organization. There might also be project managers who specialize in leading projects that are more technical in nature or focused around a certain methodology, like Scrum or Agile. At smaller companies, project managers may also find themselves in multiple roles, blurring the lines between positions and structure on a team. These are all things to be aware of when forming project teams.

We’ve got you covered:

OneDesk’s flexibility allows you to set up project teams for any situation, while still enforcing structure. By setting up permissions, you can limit and control what your team members can see and access, annihilating any confusion. This clarifies the division of labour and allows your project team to focus on the particular tasks assigned to them without distraction. You can also work simultaneously in multiple teams, and have different roles within each team. This allows you to fulfill your duties in all projects, which also helps divide the work between the team. By capitalizing on OneDesk’s team management features, you can streamline your process and build the team that will bring your project success.

Photo Credit: ”Neodymium”/ Brett Jordan / CC BY

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