Advantages of functional organization over project organization

Even though greater communication among the team members may appear as an avoidable overhead, the functional format has many advantages.

The main advantages of a functional organization are:

• Ease of staffing
• Production of good quality documents
• Job specialization
• Efficient handling of the problems associated with manpower turnover.

The functional organization allows the engineers to become specialists in particular roles, e.g. requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, maintenance, etc. They perform these roles again and again for different projects and develop deep insights to their work. It also results in more attention being paid to proper documentation at the end of a phase because of the greater need for clear communication as between teams doing different phases. The functional organization also provides an efficient solution to the staffing problem.

We have already seen that the staffing pattern should approximately follow the Rayleigh distribution for efficient utilization of the personnel by minimizing their wait times. The project staffing problem is eased significantly because personnel can be brought onto a project as needed, and returned to the functional group when they are no more needed. This possibly is the most important advantage of the functional organization. A project organization structure forces the manager to take in almost a constant number of engineers for the entire duration of his project. This results in engineers idling in the initial phase of the software development and are under tremendous pressure in the later phase of the development.

A further advantage of the functional organization is that it is more effective in handling the problem of manpower turnover. This is because engineers can be brought in from the functional pool when needed. Also, this organization mandates production of good quality documents, so new engineers can quickly get used to the work already done.

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