Example Business Essay

Example Business Essay
Organisations in contemporary times face an increasingly volatile and fast changing business environment. Customer choices are becoming ever more fickle, and by extension, difficult to address. This scenario has led to a focus on ‘customisation’ that challenges the traditional focus on standardised offerings (Lampel, 2001; Beaume et al., 2009). The often referred to silo form of organisational functions and work processes has been replaced by a network or matrix form to gear organisations towards such customisation. This has had serious implications for how organisations leverage and develop their resources and capabilities
Such an orientation can permit organisations to deliver better value. However, there are diverse combinations of variables that shape product and service choices to orient what organisations offer to their customers (Cooke-Davies and Arzymanow2003). Projectification, or working through projects allows clustering relevant attributes that a particular client may require, as distinct from another client’s requirements. Such projectification has also come to be known as a ‘competence’ of organisations to deliver their strategy through the “vehicle of projects” (Lampel, 2001:273; Frederickson and Davies, 2008: 295). This paper examines projectification of organisations using assertions from extant literature (Gareis, 1992). In doing so it elucidates issues in, and nature of, strategic alignment of projects in organisations.

Projects and the organisation

Projects are micro-organisms embedded within the going concern that is understood as an organisation. They are unique by virtue of the resources and capabilities they deploy and by way of their requirements, processes and deliverables (Shenhar et al., 2002). From a ‘management of projects’ perspective there are several variables that relate to the approach of top management towards doing projects (Morris, 1987). Essentially these are about the nature of project portfolio, the way projects are resourced, the relative influence projects exercise on functional areas, and strategic choices that organisations make (Raz et al., 2002). Such choices could relate to technologies, operating practices, personnel, or even organisational growth strategies (Cooke-Davies and Arzymanow, 2003).

The idea of “best practices in project management” can be used as an illustration to show the influence of top management “sensemaking of the control and support” requirements that projects have (Lampel, 2001: 278; Gareis and Hueman, 2000: 716) . When the organisation tends to prescribe best practices for its portfolio, or for certain types of projects in its portfolio, it seeks to provide some standardisation based on performance reflections from past, and also address the need augment future project performance. On the other hand, when an organisation is flexible and is looking at ‘good practices’ instead, it is being more liberal about how ‘projects emerge’ in terms of how they choose to adapt guidelines in the way they see fit to achieve project objectives (Leroy, 2002). Both sides have their pros and cons. In case of the former- overt control will affect the unique nature of projects that work towards customised solutions, and in the case of the latter, too much flexibility can cause chaos that may put organisational identity itself at risk (Spender and Grant, 1996; D’Adderio, 2001; Chatterjee and Wernerfelt, 1991). We develop this idea further in this paper as we discuss projectification, extent of project orientation, and the consequent issues and challenges organisations encounter.

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