We define the structured organization of a project as being the graphic representation or description of persons and organizations which are in some way involved in or affected by a project, a designation of their roles and the depiction or description of the relationship between them. Included are usually the commissioning organization (funder), the executing organization (organization in charge of the project, project leadership, project team), target groups and other stakeholders as well as the advisory group/steering committee, possibly also relevant departments and administrations, parent programmes, networked projects, associations and political groupings ("Structured organization chart).
The depiction of the project structure using the structured organization chart will clearly show the role of each actor, the way the project is institutionally embedded and networked. It also shows up potential supporters or detractors of the project who – through their spheres of influence - would be in a position to contribute to its success or failure; furthermore, technical, financial and political resources will be made transparent as well as sources of potential or real structurally inherent conflicts.
Ideally, the structure of a project is established in its initial planning phase. It will need to be completed and revised in later stages. The "structured organization chart should contain all relevant institutions, groups and (key-) individuals who play – or should play – a role in the project. When developing the plan the following key issues are central:
Parallel to the definition of the project structure ("Structured organizational chart) the duties and responsibilities of eachactor need to be clarified and described. The "activity distribution chart serves as a template.
First, the key tasks must be identified (e.g. writing the project design, defining the structure, creating the budget, project planning, personnel management, public relations, and more) and the actors, both paid and voluntary, are named according to the organizational chart. Then, it has to be decided which project actor (named by function or specific individual) is responsible for each task and, in fulfilling his/her respective task, the degree of responsibility that is given to each of them (proposition, preparation of decisions, participation, decision, information, follow-up, and more).
Only when the required input and competences of each actor and for each task have been resolved can job profiles for the members of the "project team and the advisory group be created and can the search for suitable people start.
A project is a continuing process and organizational changes are often required due to developing project objectives and changes in contextual conditions. Thus, changes in the project structure are more the rule than the exception.
Only the implementation phase will reveal if the original project structure is adequate and helpful for the project’s progression and whether the different actors and groups are fulfilling their assigned duties satisfactorily. There may be misunderstandings about the roles and tasks and they may only need to be more clearly explained. Perhaps roles and responsibilities need to be reassigned. These adaptations would require changes in the organizational chart too.
The structural organization of a project changes during its course, for a variety of reasons. Project actors might leave or arrive, relationships change and priorities are sometimes reviewed and changed too.
The search for stronger political support or additional professional expertise might result in new key persons joining the advisory group. If the organizational structure of a project changes this should also be noted in the "structured organization chart.