Week4 - Organizational structure and culture

Project managers must clearly define roles and responsibilities in order to work effectively regardless of sructure.

Classic and Matrix structure


Your authority may be slightly limited due to competing priorities, approval chains, and other complexities, but setting expectations up front will enable you to navigate the organization and execute your project successfully.



The Matrix structure differs from the Classic structure in that the employees have two or more managers. In Matrix structures, you still have people above you, but you also have people in adjacent departments with whom you will need to communicate on your work progress.

Some project managers or department leads may have the same level of authority as the functional managers and operate more directly.


Project Management Office (PMO)

PMOs offer guidance and support to their organization's project managers. They share best practices, project statuses, and direction for all of the organization's projects while often taking on strategic projects themselves. The main functions of a PMO include:

  • Strategic planning and governance
  • Best practices
  • Common project culture
  • Resource management
  • Creation of project documentation, archives, and tools


Identity: An organization's culture defines its identity. Its identity essentially describes the way the company conducts business, both internally and externally. A company's values and organizational culture go hand-in-hand; its values are part of its identity. You can almost think of an organization's culture as its personality. That is why it is important to learn your company's (or target company's) mission and value statements. The mission and value statements will help you understand why the company exists and will give you insight into what the company believes in and how it will behave.

People: Strong, positive organizational culture helps retain a company's best employees. People who feel valued, engaged, and challenged are more likely to give their best and want to drive for success. An organization's culture can help keep talented employees at a company, and it can attract great people too! On the other hand, a toxic culture can have the opposite effect. It is important to find an organization with a culture that fits your personality. One way to find out more about an organization's culture is to talk to the people who work there. You can also take note of the current employees' attire, expressions, and overall behavior.

Processes: Organizational culture can have direct impacts on a company's processes, and ultimately, its productivity. The organization's culture is instilled throughout the company—from its employees to how its employees do their job. For example, a company that values feedback and employee involvement might have that reflected in their processes by including many opportunities for employees to comment. By allowing employees to feel their voices are heard, this company is adhering to its culture.

Ask questions


  • What is the company's dress code?
  • How do people typically share credit at this company?
  • Is risk-taking encouraged, and what happens when people fail?
  • How do managers support and motivate their team?
  • How do people in this role interact with customers and users?
  • When and how do team members give feedback to one another?
  • What are some workplace traditions?
  • What are some of the ways the company celebrates success?


  • What are the policies around sick days and vacation?
  • Does the company allow for employee flexibility (e.g., working from home, flexible working hours)?
  • What policies are in place that support employees sharing their identity in the workplace?


  • What is the company's onboarding process?
  • How do employees measure the impact of their work?


  • What are the company's mission and value statements?
  • How might the person in this role contribute to the organization's mission?
  • How does the organization support professional development and career growth?

A project manager's relationship to organizational culture

  • Learning the company's values
  • Clarifying the company's expectations
  • Applying organizational culture to a project

Change Management

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will the organization react to change?
  • Which influencers can affect change?
  • What are the best means of communication?
  • What change management practices will lead to the successful implementation of my project?

Best practices

Be proactive Proactive and inclusive change management planning can help keep any potentially impacted stakeholders aware of the upcoming changes.

Incorporate change management into your project management steps. For example, you can schedule time during team meetings or create a feedback document to ensure that your team members know there is a place to voice their suggestions and concerns.

You can also plan steps towards the end of your project to introduce the deliverable to stakeholders in the form of demonstrations, question and answer forums, or marketing videos. You can factor all of these decisions into your plan so that any potential changes are less likely to impact your timeline. If these steps have not been built into your plan, you can escalate and stress the importance of a change management plan to your stakeholders.

Communicate about upcoming changes Communication should occur regularly among impacted stakeholders, the change management team, and the project team. Check in and communicate throughout the project about how the changes will provide a better experience for end users of the project deliverables. In this way, you support the process by providing everyone with the information they need to feel prepared to adjust to changes once the project is ready to launch.

Follow a consistent process. Following a clear change management process helps maintain consistency each time there is a change. The change management process should be established and documented early on in your project to guide how the project will handle change. Your organization may also have an overarching change management plan that can be adopted for your project. This may include when the promotion of the change should happen, when training should occur, when the launch or release will occur, and corresponding steps for each phase of the process.

Practice empathy Changes are inevitable, but we are often resistant to them. By being empathetic to the challenges and anxiety change can bring, you can support the process in subtle ways.

Use tools Incorporating tools to assist in the adoption of a change can be very helpful. Here are a few examples you can use on your next project:

Corporate and project governance

Governance in business is the management framework within which decisions are made and accountability and responsibility are determined. In simple terms, governance is understanding who is in charge.

Corporate governance

A set of standards and practices that direct and control its actions. Corporate governance is the framework by which an organization achieves its goals and objectives. Corporate governance is also a way to balance the requirements of the various corporate entities, such as stakeholders, management, and customers. Corporate governance affects every part of an organization, including action plans, internal and external controls, and performance measurements.

Governance and change management go hand-in-hand. Think back to the previous videos on change management. To successfully implement change management, it is essential that you understand the structure and culture of the organization. Effective governance in change management provides clearly defined roles and responsibilities during change. This enables the people within the organization to have a precise understanding of who makes decisions and of the relationship between those managing and participating in the change management process.

Another example of governance within an organization is the creation and use of steering committees. Steering committees decide on the priorities of an organization and manage the general course of its operations. The steering committee essentially acts as an advisory board or council to help the project manager and the company make and approve strategic decisions that affect both the company and the project.

Project governance

As a project manager, you will be responsible for project governance. Project governance is the framework for how project decisions are made. Project governance helps keep projects running smoothly, on time, and within budget. Project governance involves all the key elements that make a project successful. It tells you what activities an organization does and who is responsible for those activities. Project governance covers policies, regulations, functions, processes, procedures, and responsibilities.

How project and corporate governance intersect

Make sure projects are aligned to the organization's larger objectives by:

  • Considering the long- and short-term interests of your organization
  • Making thoughtful decisions about which projects to take on and avoiding projects if you do not have sufficient resources
  • Providing timely, relevant, and reliable information to the board of directors and other major stakeholders
  • Eliciting the input and buy-in of senior managers since they are the decision-makers
  • During the initiation phase, prioritizing clear, reachable, and sustainable goals in order to reduce confusion and conflict
  • During the planning phase, assigning ownership and accountability to an experienced team to deliver, monitor, and control the process
  • During the execution phase, learning from mistakes and adapting to new or improved knowledge

Uncover job opportunities

Understand your target role

To understand everything from minimum must-have requirements to skills that might help you stand out from the crowd, you can begin by researching and analyzing job descriptions across different organizations.

Create job listings

Pull up ten job descriptions for your target role Make sure the roles you select come from different companies, share similar titles, and are roles you would actually apply for. In each job description, you should be able to identify a section listing requirements for the role.

Combine all the job requirements Create a new Google document and copy over all the required responsibilities from all ten job descriptions.

Order requirements based on appearance frequency Certain requirements will likely appear in multiple descriptions. The more commonly they appear, the more likely it is that they're essential for the role. Put the most frequently appearing requirements at the top of your list. For example, a requirement that appears in all ten descriptions would go at the very top.

After completing these steps, you should have a clearer picture of which requirements are most common and important for the role. You may also have questions:

Why do requirements differ across job descriptions? One of the most common reasons for this has to do with overly general job titles, or job titles that don't necessarily communicate the specific scope of a given role at a particular company. For example, a program manager at one company might be focused on customer management, while at another company, the emphasis might be on project management. A Data Analyst might primarily use SQL at one company and Python at another. Because of these differences, it's important to look beyond job titles. This is why we recommend the process outlined above—to help ensure you're targeting the exact roles that are right for you—and that you understand the requirements for those exact roles.

Why are some requirements higher on my list than I thought they would be, while others I expected to see barely show up at all? If you're surprised by your results, you may need to spend more time learning what the role really entails, as you may have some preconceptions about the role that require adjusting. You might also need to do additional research to ensure you're targeting the right roles in your job search.

How do I know if I'm really right for my target role? It's perfectly normal to experience self-doubt at this stage of the process. Remember, this is a new career for you. You're not expected to know everything about the role, and it's likely that your existing skills and experience won't line up perfectly. The more you learn about the role, the better you'll understand what's required for success, and the more you'll know about how to prepare yourself for that success.

Create professional inventory

Existing professional qualifications, and any other skills or experience you possess that might be relevant to your target role and of value to a potential employer.

  • Assemble a comprehensive list of the following:
  • Technical (hard) skills. These are skills relating to a specific task or situation such as programming, technical writing, project management, and more.
  • Non-technical (interpersonal) skills. These are the skills that enable people to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals. They include skills like communication, leadership, team management, and more.
  • Personal qualities. These are positive attributes and personality traits such as being honest, having a good sense of humor, and being dependable. You can also include your professional interests on this list.
  • Education. This includes any post-secondary education, certifications, or independent classes completed online or offline.

Tip: You do not need to limit your professional inventory to skills and qualities developed through professional experience. Consider any volunteer, extracurricular, or personal experiences that might help a hiring manager understand your capabilities.

Once you've created your inventory of skills and experience, you're ready to line these up against your requirements list.

Match your profile to the job requirements

The concluding step in this process is to match your profile to the job requirements. The goal here is to make it easy for any hiring manager to see why you're a great fit for their role. You'll accomplish this by learning what to emphasize and focus on in your search, on your resume, and during interviews.

To begin, go through your professional inventory of skills and experience, highlighting each item in green, orange, or red, depending on its relevance to your target role. Relevance is determined by whether a given skill appears on your role requirements list, how high it appears on your list, and how directly it aligns with your list.

For example, let's say you're interested in a program manager role. If you're skilled at using project management software, and project management software skills are high on your job requirements list, then highlight that item in green. If you have some experience with tools that do not consistently show up on job descriptions but could still be relevant, highlight these skills in orange.

Green should be used for skills that are directly relevant to your target role. You should look for roles that emphasize these skills. You should also highlight these skills on your resume, and be prepared to discuss them in an interview.

Orange should be used to identify those skills and experiences that are relevant for the role but not necessarily in a direct way. These are generally your transferable skills—skills that you bring with you from past experiences that can help you succeed in your new role. Plan to have to explain these to recruiters and hiring managers, as their relevance may not be immediately evident.

Red should be used for items that are not relevant for your job search. De-prioritize these skills, and steer clear of highlighting them on your resume and focusing on them during interviews.

Of these three categories, the orange items are where you'll need to focus extra attention. When it comes to transferable skills, you have to do the convincing, as you can't count on a recruiter or hiring manager making the connection. For example, no job description for a project manager role calls for waitstaff experience. However, that project manager job description will likely mention excellent communication skills—which you would have developed during your hospitality career. When applying for the project manager role, make sure your resume specifically mentions excellent communication in addition to listing "waiter" or "waitress" as your previous occupation. Once you've categorized your skills and experience based on how well they align with the requirements for your target role, you're ready to move your job search forward.