a) List and describe three advantages of a matrix organisation structure when used in a project environment
1. Shared resources
2. Specialist skills
3. PM have line management authority
The sharing of resources across the business is an advantage of matrix organisation. The Project Manager can source specialist skills by liaising with the Functional Heads and identifying who is available, their ability and ultimately use them on the project. By sharing resources it can save on costs as the staff are already employed within the business. For example, the project is to set up the Company Christmas Party. It will require specialist knowledge from a number of different departments.
Staff with specialist skills working on a project is an advantage of matrix organisation. These members of staff can be seconded from their day job in a functional department to a project environment for a period of time. Their skills can be utilised on the project but will remain within the business once the project ends. It also allows for the members of staff to become more motivated as they can develop in areas that maybe they get no experience in on their day job. For example, the marketing of the Christmas Party and the invitations and banners will be undertaken by the Marketing resource on the project.
Project Managers having a clear line of authority is an advantage of a matrix organisation. Resources will be aware of the reporting line whilst working on the project. For example, the resource brought onto the project from the Marketing Department for the marketing of the Christmas Party will report directly to the Project Manager.
b) List and describe two disadvantages of a matrix organisation structure when used in a project environment
1. Line Management conflict
2. Resource management culture
Line management conflict can be a disadvantage of a matrix organisation. By working in a matrix organisation the resources are only seconded to the project for limited amount of time. They do still have their Line Manager from their Functional Department. This sometimes can cause conflict if they are asked to carry out tasks from both areas. The resources would need to identify how to prioritise work in these situations.
Resource management culture is also a disadvantage of a matrix organisation. The Project Manager would need to be an excellent communicator and ensure they are aware of who the available resources are, their skills and ability and their willingness to join the project. The Functional Manager would need to work with the Project Manager to identify these people. For example they would arrange networking sessions or informal presentations so that both the staff and the Project Manager are fully aware of all the opportunities available to them.