In recent years, a plethora of organizations has been implementing a project-based approach to their performance. It might be assumed that these firms have realized the crucial advantages that the mentioned approach may provide. Many scholars conducted a number of significant investigations and provided case studies that give the opportunity to figure out the strengths of the project-based strategy. Thus, justifications and arguments regarding the need for the project-based approach throughout the presentation of a concise case study might be relevant. Then, the below reflections will allow assessing project management as a strategic aspect inside enterprises.
The case comes from the experience of Tetra Pak – a leader in the production of packaging and food processing. This example will be a foundation for the train of thought regarding the project-based design of a company. In 2006, Dennis Jönsson became the CEO of the firm (Dennis Jönsson, no date). Under his governance, the company focused on the projects of aseptic packaging for juices and dairy products. In 2007, in one of the subsidiary enterprises of Tetra Pak in Europe, the highest board was not satisfied with the outcomes of the business unit’s performance (Söderlund, 2014, p. 80).
Hence, they decided to make a greater accent on the project approach and to reduce the role of the classical line departments. The reasons for such a solution might be listed as follows: “improved integration across knowledge areas, enhanced management capacity, and better possibilities for project managers to do their job” (Söderlund, 2014, p. 80). It should be mentioned that traditional line units were abolished and replaced by networks that were managed by competent coaches.
As a result of the above actions and undertakings, the company was able to significantly improve its profits and world expansion as it started to implement the project-based approach into other subsidiaries. In 2008, Tetra Pak produced more than 141 billion packages that had a remarkable quality (Tetra Pak history, no date, para. 53). The company started to be an organization that was absolutely capable of becoming the most notable actor in the industry on an international scale.
The necessity of the above approach resulted from a number of factors. The company wanted to develop and realize projects of aseptic packaging more quickly without the loss of quality. The top management supposed that the focus was to be made rather on solutions and implementations than on hierarchical structure to provide employees with more freedom and decision-making flexibility. It should be mentioned that the latter feature is the primary characteristic of a project-based organization (Markgraf, no date).
Then, there was a clear intention to substantially change the whole structure of the enterprise in order to strengthen teamwork as well as technology integration. The CEO emphasized the firm’s necessity of enhancing the capability of integration within the scope of various dimensions (Söderlund, 2014). All the mentioned factors noticeably contributed to the decision on conducting the project-based strategy that led to the enterprise’s success in the aftermath.
Furthermore, it might be assumed that project management may be assessed as a crucial aspect of the company’s performance. Competent coaches that were appointed to projects had some critical managerial responsibilities that were focused on the following elements. They concentrated on “HR issues, career development, and competence enhancement” (Söderlund, 2014, p. 80). It should be noticed that they were not in charge of the technical issues and problem-solving actions in particular projects.
Hence, the cooperated with the other managers who had project management responsibilities of a different character. Such an approach allowed the company to increase the extent of job rotation, acquaintance with new professionals in projects, entering new roles, and fulfilling assignments. In this regard, the managers of the lower level claimed the importance of human resource effects and people capability aspects (Söderlund, 2014). Thus, the management team was concerned not only about the integration capacity issues but also about the teamwork environment in which the staff was involved.
The vital strategic capacity that was contained in the project management of Tetra Pak implementing the discussed approach provided the firm with the opportunity to adapt its structure to the projects’ needs. The latter fact depicts the primary advantage of the project-based strategy, which allows the executing of constantly changing assignments (Miterev, Mancini, and Turner, 2017). It should also be stated that Tetra Pak was successful in avoiding the main pitfall of the chosen policy. The firm did its best to refrain from project isolation and make different project teams work jointly and maintain the performance of each other.
To sum everything up, the case study of Tetra Pak was chosen to identify and justify the need for the project-based approach in specific conditions. The projects of the company were related to aseptic packaging, which required the increased flexibility of fulfilling tasks, enhanced teamwork, and technology integration. Then, the project management paid substantial attention to the employees, but not only to the technical aspect of assignments. The discussed activity resulted in the considerable success of Tetra Pak that was able to avoid the isolation of its projects.
Dennis Jönsson. (no date). Web.
Markgraf, B. (no date) Project-based organizational structure. Web.
Miterev, M., Mancini, M. and Turner, R. (2017). ‘Towards a design for the project-based organization’. International Journal of Project Management, 35(3), pp. 479 – 491.
Söderlund, J. (2014) Project based organizations: What are they?. Web.
Tetra Pak history (no date). Web.