Rethinking Matrix Organizations to Reduce Uncertainty
By Richard Lepsinger
More companies today are adopting a matrix structure-one that rewards collaborators over “lone wolves.” In a matrix organization, employees often have dual reporting relationships rather than one established boss and responsibilities are coordinated across departments or teams, rather than in a solely vertical arrangement. In addition, although work relationships have historically resembled a grid, today the matrix structure can be more complex and look more like a network or conglomerate.
The matrix has worked well for some of the world’s most successful companies, including General Electric, Dow Chemical, Procter & Gamble and Cisco. One key advantage is the opportunity to share resources and expertise more efficiently, which can save both time and money. But this structure is not without its flaws.
The most common complaint among employees and leaders in a matrix organization is it lacks clarity.
“To ensure leadership is effective, you need organizational clarity-short decision paths, a smaller number of committees, and above all, an unequivocal allocation of responsibilities,” said professor and consultant Guido Quelle in a Businessweek opinion column. Read the Complete Article
Project Management Roles in different Organizational Structures
By Edward Bell
Note: This list and very helpful post is courtesy of Edward Bell. Edward is not the actual author (who remains unknown).
Last weekend, I ran across this handy Project Coordinator/PM chart – that defines roles in various types of Projectized Organizational Structures. I put it here as a reference, and possibly a study tool for anyone studying for their PMP.
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||Traditional organization with a direct supervisor.
||The PM and FM share responsibility, with the FM having more authority.
||The PM and FM share responsibility, with each having equal authority.
||The PM and FM share responsibility, with the PM having more authority.
||Projects do not exist under functional departments. The PM has sole management authority.
|Authority of project manager
||Low to medium.
||Medium to high.
Working in a Matrix Organization – Keys to Success
By Michelle Moore, , Global Knowledge Course Instructor
As organizations look to do more with fewer resources and leverage scarce knowledge better across their entire organization, we see lots of companies moving to matrix structures. A matrix structure can be defined as “a mixed organizational form in which normal hierarchy is overlaid by some form of lateral authority or influence resulting in two chains of command – one along functional lines and the other along project lines.”
There is no question that a matrix structure can offer a significant number of benefits including a more efficient usage of resources and standardisation of processes/working practices across different implementations. The challenge is that working in a matrix organization requires new skills and competencies to ensure that the planned benefits of the matrix are realized as intended.
To work effectively as a functional resource manager or as a project manager in a matrix structure, leaders need:
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- Organizational Thinking – this can be defined as having a deep understanding of the formal organization (e.g., goals, roles, processes, etc..) and the informal organization (e.g., politics, informal processes, power, etc…) and applying that knowledge to make all decisions.
Perils of Matrix Organization Structure
By Atul Gaur
Given the complex nature of engineering projects, it is pertinent to mention that there should be a well defined project organization structure at all times. Project teams should know exactly who to report for all matters of the project, diluting this structure affects the overall team dynamics and greatly impairs project progress. An engineering project requires a well defined organization structure and an established chain of command, with project manager at helm of affairs. However, with a matrix organization structure the authority, role, and responsibility of a project manager gets diluted to a great extent.
Theoretically, we have three main types of project organizations viz; functional, projectized, and matrix. Matrix organization has been further sub divided into weak and strong matrix. Irrespective of the nomenclature, the problems faced while working in matrix organization remains the same. The most serious problems faced are lack of centralized leadership, absence of a cohesive team, and improper implementation of project plan. Read the Complete Article
Organizational Influences in Project Management
By Ryan Donahue, Northwest University
When managing a project, it’s important to look for, pay attention to and, ultimately, comprehend the influences of the organization you’re working for. There are several areas in which the structure of an organization can influence a project.
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- How is your organization structured? Some organizations are mainly focused on ongoing operations. These organizations, such as manufacturing businesses and retail businesses, depend on the day to day operation of their businesses to create a steady stream of revenue. Do these businesses not use projects to create and improve processes? Of course they do, but that most likely won’t be at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Other types of businesses, like software developers, rely solely on the project to generate revenue. What impact can these different structures have on a project and project manager? Authority. A project manager is more likely to be given a lot of authority to manage and complete a project if the business they’re working for is project driven.
Project Management – Organizational Influences
By Timber Chinn, Northwest University
Organizational influences directly affect a project’s success—either positively or negatively. These influences include the organization’s culture, its structure and its general style. Although organizational influences fall under the umbrella of enterprise environmental factors, it is important to grasp their unique importance to a project. One of the first things a project manager must consider is the organization’s culture; those beliefs, values and traditions that define the organization’s members and how they work. Culture is an important consideration because it alone can determine the success of a project. For example, if a stakeholder of a conservative organization wants to implement a radical new program, the project manager must take this into consideration before starting the project. In this case it is highly likely that the project will meet with resistance, so one of the project manager’s most important tasks is to tightly nail down the scope of work and expected deliverables. Read the Complete Article
Moving Toward a Productive Organizational Culture
By Keith Mathis – PM Expert Live
Recognizing the culture of your organization is vital in order to understand how your employees think and act. Organizational culture is the way your company acts and conducts business. It is influenced by the treatment of workers, organizational values, leadership, vision, strategy and direction, and the type of atmosphere. Each of these affects every aspect of the business. What’s your ability to make decisions? How do you manage conflict and stress? Do your employees trust you? If you’re not there already, your goal should be to move your organization into one that encourages their employees to do their best.
There are five types of organizational culture. Let’s look at the characteristics and dangers of each. Do any of these sound like your organization?
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- Ritualistic Culture
This culture focuses on rules and does everything by the book. They follow a strict chain of command.
Functional to Matrixed Organization
By Coty Smith
The audience of this paper is not primarily project managers, but leaders of the organization that make decisions on the organizational structure of project management within a company. The paper will examine organizational structures that support project management, along with the benefits and challenges of each organizational type. The research questions addressed in this paper are: For a functional or line organization beginning to implement large projects, what is the best organizational structure? Once that structure is identified, what steps are required to implement that structure in the organization? While the project management function is the target of the organizational change, many of the processes that are addressed are broader business functions of the organization. In order to implement lasting change, general business processes must be revised to develop a sustainable environment. Some of these broader functions include the staffing process, performance and development processes, along with a general assessment of the overall organizational culture, and organizational change. Read the Complete Article
Moving from Functional to Project Structure
By Bruno Collet
Many organizations face the challenge of moving from a situation where they produce a limited number of standardized products, to a situation where they have to constantly tailor their products and innovate in order to remain competitive. These two situations require very different organizational structures. The first one is better served by a functional structure, whereas the second one is made easier by a project structure (or a matrix structure with a strong project component).
As a whole, a functional organization is best suited as a producer of standardized goods and services at large volume and low cost. Coordination and specialization of tasks are centralized in a functional structure, which makes producing a limited amount of products or services efficient and predictable. – Wikipedia
In a project organization, team members are often co-located, most of the organization’s resources are involved in project work, and project managers have a great deal of independence and authority. Read the Complete Article
Synchronization: A Key to Effective Project Management
By William Hoefle
The key to effective project management is synchronization – which, frankly, runs completely contrary to the way most organizations of any size are set up. Ironically, conventional infrastructure is established in an effort to better management of the various pieces – unfortunately, that is usually not the result.
As organizations grow, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain visibility of the holistic picture – that is to say when an organization is small, one can see and touch and manipulate the various pieces of the organization. As it grows, and the number of resources and links in the chain explode, the ability to see all of the connections diminishes exponentially.
In order to try to maintain control of a large organization, typically management will begin dividing them up into various pieces – departments, divisions, projects, etc.
The idea, of course, is that these smaller pieces will be easier to control, and then if we can control the outputs of these various pieces, we can gain a higher level of control over the organization as a whole. Read the Complete Article