Beijing EAPS Consulting, Inc.
The case study, “Beijing EAPS Consulting, Inc. ” in the Custom Book, (2011), examines the project management structure of the Beijing EAPS Consulting (BEC) company. This case study also addresses about project plan itself and how the co-workers are struggling with this communication between both mangers. This project plan has demonstrated many strengths and weakness. The one thing that the project plan needs put into action is safeguards to insure that the project is completed on time. BEC has taken on the matrix organizational structure.
This type of structure combines functional and divisional organization structure styles.
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There are advantages and disadvantages in utilizing this type of organizational structure. Advantages include resource utilization, specialization, cross functional areas, communication and flexibility. Resource utilization allows for the project departmental managers to focus on their strengths. Also, it allows for the managers to all the workers to specialize in an area of important for that project. In turn, it uses people across the company who specialize in a field that relates to the project at hand.
This matrix structure permits cross departmental communication and flexibility to work on different projects across the company structure. ( Guzman, 2012) However, with advantages come disadvantage with this type of matrix organizational structure. This structure increases complexity within the organization by leading to confusion among both workers and managers. The managers may not know what a certain employee has on their plate. In reverse, the employee will obtain an overload of work because they are receiving work from two different types of managers.
Another disadvantage is an increase in overhead cost for the company due to the need for double management. This double management can lead to confusion between managers as to who has the higher priority of work creating a power struggle. (Johnson, 2012) The case study, “Beijing EAPS Consulting, Inc. ” in the Custom Book, (2011), reveals many advantages and disadvantages to this matrix organizational structure. For instance, the project manager, Ms. Song, and the departmental manager, Mr. Yang, are having a problem deciding who makes the final decisions on work to be completed because they are the same level in the management structure.
Ms. Song feels like she does not have the authority to give direction to Mr. Yang’s employees. She is also wary about asking Mr. Yang to give his employees work from her because of his temperament. The loud and abrasive attitude of Mr. Yang represents the rational personality type. A rational trait is more forceful and can get angry quickly. (Lewis, 2003) Mr. Yang knows he has this type of personality; however, he does not do anything to curve this problem when he notices that Ms. Song is not communicating with him.
Also, the employees do not know which manager to listen to or how to prioritize their work at hand. This causes more conflict between the employees, the project manager and departmental managers. In addition, these employees are not sure if the project manager or the department manager is their direct supervisor. This in turn causes conflict between both managers. There are some strengths and weaknesses that have been made clear about the project plan in the case study, “Beijing EAPS Consulting, Inc. ” in the Custom Book, (2011).
These weaknesses include an overload of individual and team projects. The employees need to work extra hours to keep up with tight deadlines. They are also working across department lines meaning they have to meet the demands of more than one manager at a time. When urgent matters arise they are required to add the new work to meet a new deadline on top of the current work load which now causes more stress on the employees and managers. On the other side, some of the strengths include being more efficient and market-oriented. These strengths will help the company grow in size and profit.
Also, being a matrix structure allows for multiple cross functional teams to work together. This helps the company work in a team environment with collaboration across all departmental boarders. Kloppenborg, Shriberg, and Venkattaman in Project Leadership (2003) discuss many factors about working in a team environment and the type of team behavior that is needed to help balance the expansion and management problems facing the Beijing EAPS Consulting company. To begin, the team environment needs a leader that is committed to the company and to them.
This leader also needs knowledge of the project at hand, as well as the skills to help facilitated the project completion. Also, within this team environment it is a good idea to bring in the team members to participate in the 5 classical team development steps. These include forming, storming, norming, preforming and adjourning. By bringing in the entire team, a sense of community and rapport is built with the rest of the team. This helps to create a better cohesive and happier team environment. Team behavior is very important for a growing company like BEC
. They need to make sure that heir employees have the correct company vision and attitude to expand. One of the big factors in getting a team together is to make sure that they socialize. They need to get to know each other and to understand their team members backgrounds both personally and professionally, along with their skills and behaviors they emanate. This will help lead to respect within the team environment. One of the major factors BEC is missing within its team environment is ground rules and codes of conduct. This helps the team share in understanding and expectations of the team as a whole.
This implementation would help promote the correct behavior for any given situation within the team environment. These rules would also let them know who is in charge and who they report to for a specific project or goal they have been assigned. (Exforsys, 2010). Once you have a team in place, the next important goal is to make sure that your projects are completed on time. There are many ways safeguards and project planning can be done to mitigate the risk of being late for a project completion. The first thing that would need to be done is a Work Base Structure (WBS).
This would insure that all aspects of the project have been planned out with timelines and schedules of smaller milestones. The WBS would take into account any risk management planning that would need to occur along with any communication planning. Another great safeguard is to build on some time to the end of the project deadline for any unforeseen events but have a set firm deadline. This firm deadline will give the project team a sense of responsibility to get the project done within that timeframe. This is a commitment from, not just the company, but the sponsors, team and project managers.
In saying that, the project manager would need to track the progress of the work completed and the schedule to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Once milestones are met upper management would be notified as to the progress of the project. (Phillips, 2004) Every company needs a designed structure for communication between employees and management. The employees need to understand the reporting structure up though management and whether they are reporting to a project manager or a department manager However, it is not just the employees that need this definition of reporting structure but the managers need it as well.
When the project manager is developing the team they need to create a community type of feeling within the team environment. This will help to insure that there is communication and good rapport with the team. Finally, making sure that a team stays on track and meets deadlines is a major under taking for the project manager. They need to build a WBS and take into account safeguards to insure that deadlines are met.