The project manager is the timekeeper for project decision making. When the project stakes are high, the project manager's risks are greater. Split-second timing may sound exaggerated, but since projects have specific duration and cost objectives, decisions missed are literally gone and could be very costly.
The project manager is also in a good position to influence the organizational climate by personal actions. Establishing a reputation of credibility and trust through interpersonal relations will have a far-reaching effect on team motivation and morale. Single-mindedness in pursuit of project objectives, personnel planning to integrate the work flow and prevent conflict, and an honest concern for matching team member goals with project objectives will also help in establishing a more favorable organizational climate. The opportunity to perform these actions, however, rests with top management. Their support is a must for the project manager to make things happen.
Organizing for project management starts with analysis of project characteristics to determine the extent and type of organization needed for getting the job done. A variety of project management "forms," from simple liaison personnel who carry messages unobstructed across forbidden department boundaries to a pure project organization where the project manager controls her or his own "empire," are available and effective as a means for the management of projects. Also available is matrix management which refers to a continuum of organizational forms where the project personnel must relate to two bosses.
Prior to initiating the program, however, an important step is the assessment of organizational climate which is helpful in uncovering potential problems and developing the strategy for implementation. Top management involvement carries a dual responsibility: (1) commitment and visible endorsement of the program, and (2) selection of the most qualified individual for project manager. While the project manager's leadership effectiveness might be diluted by prevailing organizational climate, the "right" style can strongly influence climate and project decision making toward high team performance and successful results.