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Functional vs. Project Manager and Coordination

Project and functional managers

Project and functional managers play the most important roles in project implementation. One of the similarities between project and functional managers is team leadership. According to the Project Management Institute (2013), project and functional managers coordinate project teams by offering project guidelines, specifications, and objectives. Every manager has to demonstrate high coordination and leadership skills set towards realizing project goals.

A functional manager identifies and recruits project employees from different departments while a project manager assigns responsibilities to specific team members based on the skills needed in different project stages. Despite the similarity of team leadership, a functional manager is the overall leader and coordinator of project processes, while a project manager acts as a team leader by guiding project employees on what is expected to realize the objectives set by functional managers. Project and functional managers have different timelines set towards realizing project objectives.

A project manager has specific timeframes aligned to the project goals and stages. Project managers must understand the order of events and plan for a specific start and specific end. However, functional managers have long-term goals without specific deadlines. Functional managers use quarterly, bi-annual, or annual progress reports that assess growth patterns of an organization according to the number of complete projects.

Resource utilization roles differ between the two managers. While project managers identify infinite resources to complete a project, functional managers are flexible to reallocate resources from different organizational units to meet specific project requirements (Kerzner, 2013). In a real case scenario, for example, a general manager can assign the marketing manager with the task of initiating online marketing to increase sales. The general manager acts as a functional manager by assigning roles to the marketing manager with the aim of improving sales. The marketing manager acts as a project manager and identifies an implementation team to implement the initial project within a specific deadline.

Communication and coordination

Communication and coordination are some of the most important attributes influencing organizational growth. One of the driving forces towards initiating organizational projects is personnel coordination. Employees’ conduct and intinfluencenfluences productivity, consumer loyalty, and competitiveness. However, the ability to coordinate employees without interfering with organizational duties requires effective structures that connect employees with consumers and management. Personnel coordination requires effective and reliable communication structures and infrastructures that enhance integration and organizational operations.

According to Kerzner (2013), executives are motivated to initiate project management plans whare there is disorientation and poor coordination of personnel operations. Weak communication structures affect productivity and integration leading to reduced sales. However, communication structures enhance tracking processes of customers’ orders, while promoting coordination among different organizational units. For example, an organization jeopardizes its operations if it cannot address coordination between management and other employees.

Every organization requires efficient and reliable communication structures to connect personnel with management and customers. The communication platforms ensure efficient coordination and supervision of operations without interfering with normal employee duties. At Century Software Solutions, for example, the company lacks an efficient communication structure to coordinate personnel operations and activities.

Personnel activities are becoming hard to track due to the lack of advanced technological structures to centralize operations. Additionally, the company does not have any coordinating infrastructure to reduce tracking durations of customers’ requests. Inefficient communication structures affect different organizational operations and reduce productivity by disorienting personnel from designated roles and responsibilities. When executives identify communication gaps, they initiate project management plans with the aims of enhancing coordination and integration among employees and customers. Communication gaps contribute to losses due to reduced sales, low productivity, and unmotivated workforce.


Kerzner, H. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Project Management Institute. (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Newtown Square, PA: PMI.

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StudyKraken. (2021) 'Functional vs. Project Manager and Coordination'. 1 October.

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