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One of the most interesting business trends in recent years has been the increasing focus on teams within organizations. Businesses that formerly had a top-down philosophy of business success—the idea that having the right people in management positions was the highest priority—are now beginning to see that building and supporting the right types of teams may be even more important.

A well-publicized study by Deloitte has brought the importance of teamwork into the foreground, revealing that organizational design and team structure are the most significant issues being discussed by business leaders today. Forward-thinking companies are moving away from traditional hierarchies and function-based structures, and are creating cultures in which ad hoc teams are assembled from diverse areas within the organization in order to complete specific projects. These team-based structures are becoming more popular in a wide range of industries because they give companies more flexibility while facilitating better project outcomes.

Greater Flexibility

Traditional organizational structures are often based on the assumption that each project will be completed by employees within a single department. This approach can make it difficult or impossible to bring team members together from multiple areas, even when project needs or staffing levels would make it desirable. Companies with a team-centered structure remove obstacles such as rigid accounting policies or HR practices, allowing managers to form teams from an assortment of geographical areas, functional specialties and business units.

Better Resource Alignment

The increased flexibility that comes from a team-centered structure gives companies the ability to put the right people on each project, regardless of location or reporting relationship. Rather than having to make do with the resources available in a specific office or business unit, team-based companies are able to assign employees with the right skill set and capacity. Not only does this help keep workloads balanced, it leads to better overall project results, as employees are more likely to be assigned to projects for which their skills are a good match.

Leaner Structure

One often-overlooked benefit of the team-oriented philosophy is that it allows companies to operate more efficiently by eliminating unnecessary layers of management and administration. Traditional hierarchical structures generally include an abundance of siloed departments, each with multiple managers and support personnel. Shifting the focus from departments to teams can help companies identify redundant processes or resources and allow employees to focus on productive work.

But Someone Needs to Steer the Ship…

When an organization places a stronger emphasis on teamwork skills, it still needs to ensure that appropriate leadership is in place. Every team, in every organization, in every industry, needs a leader who can enable team members to do their work and guide the project to completion. Only a solution that provides visibility into projects and whether they are tracking to meet their objectives can arm executives with the information they need to succeed. Project and portfolio management software like Clarizen can help companies shift their organizational structure and improve teamwork in the workplace by providing online collaboration tools and a centralized resource for project information.

Contemplating a change to your company’s structure or management style? Find out how Clarizen can help you reduce costs, use resources more effectively and improve project outcomes.

Jen Howard
Jen Howard, Director Corporate Marketing