Projects are temporary hierarchical organization of human activities. Projects are used for work that does not really fit the routine day-to-day activities.
The ordinary line organization is often rigid and thereby unable to cope with change. Especially if the rate of change is high and there is a high degree of uncertainty about the conditions for the activities.
Often a well functioning line organization is likened to a well-oiled machine where every worker is an important cog. There is on odious smell of Scientific Management and Fredrik Taylor to it. If the organization has worked with its quality certification, there are often meticulous work descriptions and tightly specified work processes.
It may function as long as the road is straight ahead and nothing unpredicted occurs. But that is never the case in new product development and very seldom so in other areas where project work form is chosen.
Projects are not miniature line-organizations
We see two cases
The line organization is governed by aid of structures whilst projects are governed by vision and knowledge. Therefore to see projects only as a mini-line organization and run it as such will not be profitable. There are many similarities, but also many differences in planning, leading, teambuilding, organizing, localizing and reward systems. One has to be skilled in, and understand the very special prerequisites to be successful in managing projects.
- Line-organization - permanent, static, rigid, rules and regulations, predicable, planning is possible, structure based.
- Project - temporary, dynamic, flexible, visions, unpredictability/uncertainty, planning is impossible (in detail), knowledge based.
But if you succeed you can then enjoy the most efficient and satisfying work form there is.