Project Management Institute

Project management structures

is there a common language?

Project managers and project management academicians often use different names and definitions to describe the same project management structures. This article examines this difference for the purpose of creating a common terminology that could help reduce confusion and bridge the gap between theory and practice. In doing so, it describes five types of project management and classifies each with an alphabetic title (i.e., Structure A, Structure B, etc.). It explains the differences between these five structures and relates these structures to the various titles and structures academicians define in the literature (as identified from the authors' review of the literature) as well as the various terms and structures practitioners use on the job (as obtained from the authors' 1984 survey of 124 practitioners). It concludes by proposing new titles for each of the five identified structures: functional management, functional matrix, balanced matrix, project matrix, and project team.
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