Matrix structure

With increasing frequency, projects today involve and affect many functional areas within an organization. As a result, personnel in these different units must work in concert to successfully address people's individual and collective needs. The matrix structure facilitates the participation of people from different areas of the organization in projects that need their expertise.

As Figure 9-1 illustrates, in a matrix structure people from different areas of the organization are assigned to lead or work on projects. Project managers guide the performance of project activities while people's direct supervisors perform administrative tasks (such as formally appraising people's performances and approving promotions, salary increases, or requests for leave). Because an individual can be on a project for less than 100 percent of his time, he may work on more than one project at a time.

Figure 9-1:

General matrix-organization structure.

Project A

- Project B

Project C

Executive Office

Project A

- Project B

Project C

Finance Production Sales

"w

ponsibility

o c

o in CD

A matrix environment is classified as weak, strong, or balanced, depending on the amount of authority the project managers have over their teams.

Weak matrix: Project managers have little if any direct authority over team members and actually function as project coordinators rather than managers.

Strong matrix: Companies with a strong matrix structure choose project managers for new projects from a pool of people whose only job is to manage projects. These people are never asked to serve as a team member. Often these people form a single organizational unit that reports to a manager of project managers. In addition to directing and guiding project work, these project managers have certain administrative authority over the team members, such as the right to participate in their performance appraisals.

1 Balanced matrix: This environment is a blend of the weak and strong environments. People are assigned to lead a project or serve as a team member based on the project's needs and not their job descriptions. Although the project manager may have some administrative authority over team members (such as approving leave requests), for the most part he guides, coordinates, and facilitates the project.

Advantages of a matrix structure

A matrix environment offers many benefits, including the following:

1 Teams can assemble rapidly. Because you have a larger resource pool from which to choose your project team, you don't have to wait for a few people to finish current assignments before they can start on your project. Additionally, this approach reduces the time-consuming process of hiring someone from the outside.

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Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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