It soon became obvious that control of a project must be given to personnel whose first loyalty is directed toward the completion of the project. Thus the project management position must not be controlled by the functional managers. Figure 3-4 shows a typical line-staff organization.
Two possible situations can exist with this form of line-staff project control. In the first, the project manager serves only as the focal point for activity control, that is, a center for information. The prime responsibility of the project manager is to keep the division manager informed of the status of the project and to "harass" or attempt to "influence" managers into completing activities on time. Referring to such early project managers, Galbraith stated, "Since these men had no formal authority, they had to resort to their technical competence and their interpersonal skills in order to be effective."10
The project manager in the first situation maintained monitoring authority only, despite the fact that both he and the functional manager reported to the same individual. Both work assignments and merit reviews were made by the functional managers. Department managers refused to take direction from the project managers because to do so would seem an admission that the project manager was next in line to be the division manager.
The amount of authority given to the project manager posed serious problems. Almost all upper-level and division managers were from the classical management schools and therefore maintained serious reservations about how much authority to relinquish. Many of these managers considered it a demotion if they had to give up any of their long-established powers.
In the second situation, the project manager is given more authority; using the authority vested in him by the division manager, he can assign work to individuals in the functional organizations. The functional manager, however, still maintains the authority to
10. Jay R. Galbraith, "Matrix Organization Designs." Reprinted with permission from Business Horizons, February 1971, pp. 29-40. Copyright © 1971 by the Board of Trustees at Indiana University.
perform merit reviews, but cannot enforce both professional and organizational standards in the completion of an activity. The individual performing the work is now caught in a web of authority relationships, and additional conflicts develop because functional managers are forced to share their authority with the project manager.
Although this second situation did occur during the early stages of matrix project management, it did not last because:
• Upper-level management was not ready to cope with the problems arising from shared authority.
• Upper-level management was reluctant to relinquish any of its power and authority to project managers.
• Line-staff project managers who reported to a division head did not have any authority or control over those portions of a project in other divisions; that is, the project manager in the engineering division could not direct activities in the manufacturing division.
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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.