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Chapter 4. Staffing Up > Summary - Pg. 113

Staffing Up 113 Organization Charts Man may be born free, but he elects the comfort of society's chains. I have found this a helpful principle--that structure is a preferred evil--in organizing young, creative companies."Flat" organizations (so-called because there is little or no hierarchy) were the vogue result of a realization that the collaborative approach often creates happier employees and faster development times. However, such structures are more chaos-prone for the simple reason that no one knows whereto take a problem for the authority to solve it. On the other hand, a structure with too many layers can bog down processes and alienate knowledge (usually held by the workers) from decision-making.The goal is to give fertile minds the room to roam, contribute, and problem-solve while providing a support skeleton that is informed and able to listen for and identify trouble, intervening quickly where needed. Creating an organization chart becomes even more important when your organization has more than one project in motion at a time.There are three main philosophies of organizing your personnel: 1. Pure Project: In a pure project organization, people are grouped into teams by project, instead of func- tion.A programmer reports to the project lead, and not to a Technical Director or other functional head.Ad- vantages:Total focus on a project, strong team identity, minimized red tape, maximized flexibility. Dis- advantages: Competition between teams can get out of hand; specialized knowledge can fail to get transferred to the institution (example: team 2 doesn't understand team 1's technology and tools); ren- egade managers can turn the company into fiefdoms; resource allocation can be inefficient (example: art staff lying fallow while waiting for next project). Functional: Personnel report to a functional head, so programmers would report to a Technical Director. Duties for new projects would be added to and divided among function groups (like the technical depart- ment) by the function head, who would also serve as the project manager for a given func-tion.Advan- tages: Stability, cohesion, common pool of knowledge within a department, coherent career paths. Dis- advantages: Competition for resources, communication not as fluid among project contributors, not quite the same goal fervor. Matrix.The matrix format combines the project and function forms by having personnel report to more than one supervisor. Employees are organized on a permanent basis into functional groups and report to function heads, but "seconded" (dedicated) to project teams for a given project for whatever duration 2. 3.