Matrix (Strenghts And Wekanesses) – Feedback Required

Paul Naybour

List & Describe 3 advantages of a matrix organisation structure
when used within a project environment ? 30 Marks

Make efficient use of resource
when compared to a functional organisation
Provide for organisational
learning when compared to a project organisation
Provide greater visibility of
resources when compared to functional organisation
Matrix organisations allow for more
efficient utilisation of resource when compared with a functional organisation.
They allow specialised resource to be used both for BAU (to maintain capability)
and also for projects (which allows staff to develop their skills in new
areas). Matrix organisations provide variety of work which increases motivation
and improves overall quality of work delivered.
Matrix organisations facilitate
greater development and retainment of knowledge relating to the project
(organisational learning). The advantage of a matrix organisation is that it
provides continuity so that when a project ends and transitions into BAU the
understanding of how and why a product was developed in a certain way is not lost
and neither are the solutions or workarounds to issues which may arise in BAU. This
will potentially speed up the fault finding / resolution cycle within a BAU
environment with expertise available within the organisation.
A matrix organisation provides
for a greater visibility of the number and type of skills which an organisation
has when compared to a functional organisation in which such information would
only be available through the functional 
line manager. This visibility ensures that resources are best used and reduces
the need to recruit externally, but also allows for talented individuals to be
identified and promoted through other means than the functional line.
List and describe 2 disadvantages of a matrix organisation structure
when used within a project environment (20 Marks)
Require an effective resource
management system
Not always clarity over who is
managing resource conflict (line manager v project manager)
Matrix organisations require an effective resource
management system. This can be expensive and must be kept up to date by all
parties including the team worker, line manager and project manager. This must
be adopted at the organisational level to prevent errors when
checking availability. For example a line manager may not have booked a
resource to be on leave, which is then attempted to be booked by the project
manager causing a resource availability issue.
Project managers must be excellent communicators. One of the
biggest problems with a matrix organisation is that team workers have
difficulties in prioritising workload. Work will be being directed by both
their functional manager as well as the project manager and when a conflict
arises the team manager will typically favour their line manager. A project
manager therefore must establish good relationships with both functional head
and team members to avoid this situation.

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