Choosing an Organizational Form

Choosing an Organizational Form

Just as there are several product development life cycles to choose from when planning a software development project, there are many organizational forms to choose from. How many kinds are there? Where did they come from? Where are they going? Which one is best under what circumstances? Exactly what is an organization, anyway? These are some of the questions that a software project manager might worry about when planning for a software development project.

This section explains what an organization is and discusses the typical organizational forms relevant to a software project. Then we can discuss advantages and disadvantages of each form. It is important for the project manager to recognize which type of organization the project will operate within, and which type is best suited for the project at hand.

Where We Are in the Product Development Life Cycle

Where are we in the basic software life cycle model that serves as our map? As illustrated in Figure 1, we are still at the beginning of the product development life cycle, planning the project. Particularly, we are planning how to do the project that we already described in "Defining the Goal and Scope of the Software Project" , "Creating the Work Breakdown Structure" and "Identifying the Tasks and Activities". The location of the organizational form selection activities is shown in Figure 2.

Product Development Life Cycle

Project Process Framework

"Choosing an Organizational Form" Relation to the 34 Competencies

To correctly understand and select a proper organizational form for a software development project, you must have an understanding of the competencies pointed out.

Obviously, in product development techniques, you must understand development activities and also know how to evaluate various approaches and how to select methods and tools. Modifying existing structures to fit the current project is important to organizational design and has bearing on how to effectively manage and control any subcontracting relationships that may be required. The project management skills needed involve selecting project management tools and processes, as well as documenting the organizational choices made and the reasons for them. The people management skills required are the leadership, interaction, and communication skills to properly select the organizational form and manage the changes required to implement a new organizational structure. All the preceding affect recruiting a staff and building them into an effective team, while furthering their careers from the work of the project. Your skill with these competencies helps determine the success chances for your software development project.

Product Development Techniques

04. Evaluating alternative processes - Evaluating various approaches
06. Managing subcontractors - Planning, managing, and monitoring performance
08. Selecting methods and tools - Defining selection processes
09. Tailoring processes - Modifying standard processes to suit a project
11. Understanding development activities - Learning the software development cycle

Project Management Skills

13. Documenting plans - Identifying key components
20. Selecting project management tools - Knowing how to select PM tools

People Management Skills

26. Interaction and communication - Dealing with developers, upper management, and other teams
27. Leadership - Coaching project teams for optimal results
28. Managing change - Being an effective change agent
30. Planning careers - Structuring and giving career guidance
32. Recruiting - Recruiting and interviewing team members successfully
33. Selecting a team - Choosing highly competent teams
34. Teambuilding - Forming, guiding, and maintaining an effective team

Learning Objectives for "Choosing an Organizational Form"

Upon completion of this section, the reader should be able to:

●  Explain how organizations evolved into the forms we have today;
●  List and explain the organizational structures that a project may operate within;
●  Explain a generic model of an organization;
●  Evaluate which organizational form is best under what conditions;
●  Describe what an organization is, using at least four characteristics;
●  List the forms of power that a person might have in an organization;
●  List the steps and explain ways to make an organizational change effective.


life cycle, software development project, product development
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