This is quite difficult because the question is very open, think about roles and responsibilities of the PM and functional managers, responsibility for time, cost and technical quality, processes for assigning resources. It is not asking for pro and cons?
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Gordon not me, be must have done it…..
A shame Bretts answer removed as would have been very useful?
Brett an very good answer, I have nothing to add or remove, well done.
The operation or a matrix organisation can be described as a hybrid of the project and and organisation structure. The matrix operation allows for resources to be allocated to different projects via a resource pool. This allows specialist skills to be drawn upon when required within the project such as business analyst risk managers.
This organisational structure provides a technical home for specialist skills with the functional manager managing pay and HR elements as well as skills development, the project manager maintains the distribution and management of work and quality criteria attached to it. In theory resources can be allocated quickly and then reduced once the need has been met meaning peaks and troughs can be managed.
Work management within the structure will need to be managed effectively as it is difficult to gauge workloads form this structure due to the hierarchy with line management lines sometimes becoming blurred. Communication within these structures are paramount between managers and those performing he work.
Conflict between project needs and the functional elements of the organisation need to be carefully managed in particular when demands of work come up ( this can be managed by a resources plan with associated product breakdown structure.) Consistency can be provided across the piece around process and procedures.
This is a flexible structure which offers both resources to project and function roles providing benefits to both sides. This means that knowledge can be retained and developed and reused across other projects.
It was a much harder question than you will see in the exam. Your answer is very good. A few of the points are drifting into benefits. e.g In a matrix organization skills are utilized across the different projects and therefore staff are gaining far more experience than they would otherwise be in a project or functional organization. This eliminates the need for resourcing outside of the business as much, as you have the in-house capacity to house staff in each of the projects in the specific roles needed.
I would do it maybe something like this
Matrix organisation draw staff from multiple functions to deliver projects. This means that a team can in theory be assembled quickly to meet the need of a project, and can grow and shrink as the project progress. The challenge in this situation is managing with the resources complexity of managing multiple project and the conflicting requirements for resources. To be successful a organisation needs a way of communicating and prioritising these resource requirements.
but overall I think what you have done is fine.
Sorry about the nice day its hard coded into the software we use for this group. Ben has done a really good job of answering this question. I would structure it around.
1) An overall description of the organisation in which project managers and functional managers share resources.
2) A description of the role of the functional manager, in developing the resources and capabilities of the organisation
3) The responsibility of the PM to deliver project, often to customers
4) The need for an effective resource management system to resolve conflicts between different projects and functions.
5) the fact that is it is the most common form of structure because of it’s flexibility and efficiency.
In a matrix organization the staff work for their own line managers, like in a functional organization where staff work under a line manager (Functional Manager). However the big difference is that in a matrix organization although they work under a line manager they can be utilized to work under a project manager when and if needed for that specific project. This can cause issues with where staff members priorities should be, with their line manager or the project manager and can in turn cause conflict between the two different roles.
In a matrix organization skills are utilized across the different projects and therefore staff are gaining far more experience than they would otherwise be in a project or functional organization. This eliminates the need for resourcing outside of the business as much, as you have the in-house capacity to house staff in each of the projects in the specific roles needed.
The Project Manager is able to take staff from a function and utilize them when and if he/she needs them (Part-time/Full-time), this enables cost control for the specific projects and gives a far more efficient and timely approach to the project. Although it can be interrupted by use of resources elsewhere, however visibility of resource skills and availability is made clear here.
The functional manager has the following responsibilities: He decides how to do the work, he is responsible for scheduling the project work, co-ordinates activities of the different functional members and evaluates project performance. The functional manager is therefore a successor of the PM and therefore the PM must listen to the functional managers instructions.
This type of organization is suitable for multi-project organizations and is widely used in large construction companies whereby each project is looked after by the project manager and he/she is supported by the functional managers and functional staff within the company.
Paul, this was not an easy question at all. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
I do like the way the email signed off with “have a nice day”. Are there specific pointer to help us find where to start?