3/6 - Designing a Project Management Structure

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DESIGNING A PROJECT MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE you should choose the type of governance which is the most suitable for your project. Every project needs to have some sort of management and governance structure to succeed and to ensure that the project objectives are being achieved efficiently.

'Governance' is related to the more strategic tasks of a project such as the steering, monitoring and directing of its implementation, whereas 'Management' refers much more to being in charge of the day-to-day operations of a project, the allocation and overseeing of tasks and resources. In contrast, the 'Coordination' of a project deals more with the synchronising of tasks, teams and resources.

There are a number of questions to be asked when composing the management and governance structure of a project. For example, which organisation or who will lead the project? How many project posts do you need to cover all management requirements? What are the different roles and responsibilities of project staff and project governance bodies? How will the relationships with other partners, and with other projects be managed and coordinated? How often will a project management team or project monitoring group meet? What communication structures and plans will be in place to ensure good communications, internally and externally? etc.. This task will encourage you to think through these questions.

 

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This tool is an Aide Memoire of a number of key project management positions and their key roles and responsibilities, including examples of a small number of project management entities.

 

Who is this tool for ? When should the tool be used?

Project Design Team

When you know what the project seeks to deliver, over what period of time, and how many project partner organisations the project will have.

 

Click on the stations to navigate through the Project line!

 

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Key challenges of this step

  • To find the most appropriate structure which is suitable for the size and complexity of a project can be a challenge. A heavily structured project can end up being overly bureaucratic and ineffective in its management, whereas a lack of structure could lead to an authoritarean management style or lack of transparency which can also lead to inefficiencies.

Main risks

  • Outsourcing the project management role to external service providers carries a risk of weakening the control of your organisation over your project.

Helpful tips

  • Whatever structure you will choose for your project, ensure that the roles and responsibilities of the various positions and post-holders are clearly defined and understood by everyone in the project team and the project partnership.
  • Projects are rarely implemented in a vacuum and the identification of relevant stakeholders is essential to ensure a good level of integration and participation and buy-in across the community to provide the relevant support and context for your project. In terms of project governance stakeholders can be very helpful to have on board, ideally from early on at planning stage of the project. They can bring context and are therefore often suited to participate in the project by being part of a governance function.
  • Ensure that you are aware of any project partners or representatives of the community or target groups of the project who would like to be involved in a project management or governance role. Even before the project will start, they can help liaise with the target groups/communities, others might be able to influence local authority budget decision makers for example, they can assist in identifying funding sources from their own organisations or networks; they can help making connections to funding partners or community leaders, they can be funding partners / fundraisers in their own rights, etc.
  • Any funder requires assurance that your project will be managed effectively and efficiently so that all required financial, administrative and managerial procedures are well attended to.
  • Should internal capacities be unavailable, consider to externalise some of the tasks of project management or coordination. However, care needs to be taken to work closely with the external service provider so not to weaken the control over the project by the Lead Organisation.