Matrix Management

Large projects are best organized with teams that work on functional areas rather than project or specific task boundaries. These boundaries should be clearly defined but definition based on functions have the following advantages:

  • Allows team members to share infomation more readily across task boundaries.
  • Allows for more specialization which can increase depth of knowledge.

This basically describes a matrixed organization where all people who do one type of job are in one pool. For instance, all engineers may be in one engineering department and report to engineering management. These same engineers may be assigned to different projects which each have a project manager. Therefore each staff member may have several managers to interface with. The disadvantage here is that loyalties may be split and more confusion may result, but a properly managed cooperative environment can neutralize these disadvantages. However, depending on the size and structure of the organization, matrix management may or may not be a worthwhile management method.

Matrix management can put some additional difficulty on the project managers. This is because of the number of other managers and workers that must be interacted with. Also the functional managers may have different goals, objectives, and priorities than the project managers.

Matrix management advantages include the fact that it makes it easy for a manager to "loan" an employee to another manager without making the change permanent. Therefore it is easier to get work done in an envirenment when task loads are shifting rapidly between departments.