MAIN PROJECT MANAGEMENT FEATURES OF IMPROWARE
The Project Management of Improware is featured by a balanced matrix organization. Since its planning the project has been set up by its promoters (working in the Italian Ministry for the Environment – IMELS -, where the WP1 has been settled), dividing the activities in different Working Packages, and in this shape has been proposed to the five partners and its main stakeholders.
The different Packages, shown in the Fig. 1, could be identified synthetically in the following way:
The WP1 represents the Project Management, and its functions have been centralized in the Italian Ministry For the Environment.
The WP2 embodies the competences of a data collector and a research sub-Team that will allow the WP3 (entrusted to in-field geophysical investigations), to develop an advanced Hydrological Setting, availing the entire joint Technical Team (composed by both WPs) with sophisticated equipments and innovative software modelling that will support the main conclusive expected reports.
The WP4 represents the core component of IMPROWARE. In two sites, one per country, the project will develop techniques, management and monitoring, that intends to upgrade, and then enhance, according to the local circumstances, an existing plant devoted to the Waste Water Treatment. In one of these (in Nobariya, Egypt), part of the water outflow will be driven to a Constructed Wetland that intends to provide the site with a demonstrative plant with innovative sustainable integrated water resource management solutions.
The WP5, including Public Participation, Communication, Capacity Building, Policy and Technical Guidelines, is the remaining Working Package, that is aimed to communicate and disseminate in the Mediterranean region all the advancements achieved by the project. The WP5 is fully animated by advanced components of Knowledge Management.
Fig. 1 The Five Working Packages of IMPROWARE
Certainly WP1 and WP5, since the origin, were strictly linked and were envisaged to create cohesion and consistency to the whole project, through the gradual and progressive establishment of a Project Management Information System, to be based on webex, the website, the use of an array of advanced excel spreadsheets for financing and cash-flows, Gantt simple softwares and an e-learning platform.
The shape of the Project Management as a balanced matrix organization gave the certainty that each WP would have been autonomous and independent each the other. In a certain sense since the beginning, in the first conception of the whole planning, each partner could aim to be attached to one or two of the specific tasks and to pursue its own strategy. This is the case for the IMELS regarding WP1, the Aarhus University in relationship to the WP3 and to the Consortium CUEIM and CURSA, in relationship to the WP4, animated by the wish to provide two Mediterranean countries with an array of the best Italian experiences in the water resources management.
The partnership with ONAS and EEAA brought in the project clear goals of strategic development of actions in its project management features, transforming in Teams the different components, and making of almost each WP a single project, interpreting Improware in a sort of Program.
WP1 has been expanded in order to conceive the basis for an institution building project, with the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, pursuing a long-term partnership with two of its possible counterparts in the Mediterranean Region. WP2 and WP3 aim to enhance the local hydrogeologic and geophysic mapping in two areas of Tunisia and Egypt, experiencing an high added value in terms of research and knowledge in these specific areas.
WP4 intends to offer practical solutions for water resources integrated management.
WP5 results in a complete set of components aimed to manage the knowledge mobilized and utilized in the project, making it available for the project stakeholders, the communities and the constituencies associated. The principles to which WP5 inspired its action have been the best communication and the dissemination guidelines of any project carried out under the guidance of the European Commission, securing that the ownership of the project remained at community levels, and increasing the level of participation between the different social groups characterizing the local stakeholders.
In a context of project execution and implementing phases, the 4 functions, thanks to the integration of WP1 and WP5, have become complementary giving the project staff and the family of stakeholders the best opportunity to achieve the highest cooperative and participatory approach, letting the partners maintaining their necessary autonomy, as required by the planning. This is reflected properly in the balanced matrix organization, definitely selected as the optimum choice for such a project and its nature of large partnership and integrated approach.
Andrea De Angelis, Team Leader of IMPROWARE
 Balanced Matrix Organization is referred to Characteristics in the organization of a project, conferring the project manager a moderate authority and a full-time role. The project manager has relevant control over the budget and the resources, with a shared legal responsibility but with an accountability that is centralized (Martinati – Caccamese, Professione Project Manager, Francoangeli, 2010.