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Monday, March 26, 2018

Guest Post: How to Choose a Proper Team Structure for the Highest Efficiency?

Managing projects with different stakeholders, goals and milestones can be difficult for the novice and uninitiated project managers. Even individual teams without outside collaboration do need proper management. What are the most famous and effective team structures that can provide the highest efficiency should you need to shuffle your team up?

·       Functional team
Functional teams are usually separated into different departments that operate within each other’s boundaries. These teams answer to a project manager and have no correlation between each other. Imagine a marketing team working on marketing and HR working on employee management.

These teams work well if the manager is well informed about their individual strengths and weaknesses as well as how to utilize them to get the best results. Functional teams are not a viable solution if there are too few team members or if the project requires multitasking due to strict deadlines.

·       Cross-functional team
As the name would suggest, this team structure is the polar opposite of the functional structure. Cross-functional teams operate on an “all-in” basis and every team member is required to pitch in towards the final product. These teams are very creative and have unconventional ideas that can often flourish into imaginative results.

However, having no real leadership or structure, team members are often prone to conflict and individualism. This is a good choice of structure for small teams and those with vastly varying skillsets that wouldn’t function otherwise, for example, an essay writing service, or design studio.

·       Matrix team
Matrix teams operate on a dual-leadership basis. Simply put, teams with matrix structure answer to project managers and upper management at the same time. This can often lead to confusion and broken deadlines due to miscommunication errors.

Matrix teams are also very traditional and team members are strictly assigned to their specific tasks without an ability to stray from it. If the management knows what they are doing, this can be a very good option for managing large teams or those without proper leadership.

·       Self-managing team
Putting no one in charge of your team might sound disastrous at first. Unlike the previous structures we have discussed, self-managing teams offer an unprecedented level of autonomy and personal responsibility for team members.

This is the best way to let a team decide whether or not they can put their differences aside and work together as professionals. Members of self-managing teams will also gain far more experience from a free working environment and even manage to develop leadership skills themselves as a result.

·       Virtual team
Managing a virtual team might not be the ideal solution for inexperienced managers. Those who prefer working online will find that people work much better if their mutual interactivity is limited to chat rooms and Skype meetings.

Working in a virtual environment allows each team member to feel comfortable by staying at home, all while pitching in and working on a common project that everyone has a stake in. While virtual teams might be harder to manage, they also allow for the highest level of flexibility, allowing members to literally be on different sides of the world and still work together.

Drawing the line
Before opting for a definitive team structure, ask yourself the question of what the point of that team really is. Why are you putting together a team and do you really think that the people you choose can work together?

Most team management problems stem from a lack of understanding for the members involved as well as mismanagement of said members by pairing them with people they can’t work with. Use your best judgment and weigh your personal leadership skills against the needs and wants of the project. It’s the only way to pinpoint what the proper team structure is for you.

About the author: James Scott, experienced writer and co-founder of writing service Essay Supply. A bit of musician, a bit of a dreamer, a bit of introvert. From parts you get the full me, without them I won't be complete. 

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