FIGuRE Weak matrix organizational chart

FIGuRE 1.6 Balanced matrix organizational chart

Matrix organizations have subtle differences, and it's important to understand their differences for the PMP exam. The easiest way to remember them is that the weak matrix has many of the same characteristics as the functional organization, while the strong matrix has many of the same characteristics as the projectized organization. The balanced matrix is exactly that—a balance between weak and strong, where the project manager shares authority and responsibility with the functional manager. Table 1.2 compares all three structures.

TABLE 1.2 Comparing Matrix Structures

Balanced Matrix

Strong Matrix

Project manager

Project manager

Split focus between project and functional responsibilities

Projects and project work

Projects and project work


Manager's Title:


Manager's Focus:


Manager's Power: Project

Manager's Time:

Organization Style:

Project Manager Reports To:

Weak Matrix

Project coordinator, project leader, or project expeditor

Minimal authority and power

Part-time on projects

Most like functional organization

Functional manager

Balance of authority and power

Full-time on projects

Blend of both weak and strong matrix

A functional manager, but shares authority and power

Significant authority and power

Full-time on projects

Most like a projectized organization

Manager of project managers

Most organizations today use some combination of the organizational structures described here. They're a composite of functional, projectized, and matrix structures. It's rare that an organization would be purely functional or purely projectized. For example, projectized structures can coexist within functional organizations.

In the case of a high-profile, critical project, the functional organization might appoint a special project team to work only on that project. The team is structured outside the bounds of the functional organization, and the project manager has ultimate authority for the project. This is a workable project management approach and ensures open communication between the project manager and team members. At the end of the project, the project team is dissolved, and the project members return to their functional areas to resume their usual duties.

Exam Spotlight

Project Management Made Easy

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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