The Matrix

Use a matrix in the time management of cross-functional projects.

The final organisational structure to be considered is the matrix. Matrix organisations grew out of the need to have a compromise between the functional grouping responsible for competence and resource utilisation, and the product grouping responsible for coordination, control and goal accountability. There are three basic types of matrix organisation.

1. Co-ordination Matrix

• Managerial authority retained by department heads (HODs).

Project Manager (PM) has monitoring and coordinating authority and project control.

• PM negotiates with HODs for staffing, scheduling and change of plan.

• PM leads the project team and links with "customer".

2. Overlay Matrix

• Managerial authority shared between PM and HODs.

• Project staff directly involved with both their professional group and the project team.

3. Secondment Matrix

• Specialist staff (e.g. R&D) seconded full-time to the project team.

• PM has full managerial authority.

• Staff return to department at the end of their assignment.

• HOD retains responsibility for long term training and development.

In most companies the co-ordination matrix is the one used, especially where projects involve R&D. In this matrix, as with the R&D contractor mode described in Section B, 1.1.3, scientists are bound into their various functions or disciplines for all professional and personnel matters. There is a set of Project or Programme man agers, outside the functions, forming the other axis of the matrix, who are responsible for running the projects as defined by the business. In order for them to carry out this responsibility they have staff allocated to them from the various functions. It is important to realise that Project or Programme Managers do not have any line management role. At the end of the projects, the staff concerned return to work in their respective functions whilst awaiting reallocation to new projects. This structure is shown in Figure B6.

Matrix management is very effective in the time management of cross-functional projects involving the introduction of new products, processes or plants. However, it is of little value in those programmes that are heavily biased to one function, or have an extended time frame with an uncertain endpoint, typical of the more speculative R&D programmes.

The matrix brings with it the problem, already alluded to in Section B, 1.1.3, of the staff having two bosses. The personnel issues are an area for potential conflict between managers, which can impinge on the allocated staff. Recognising the different roles of each manager helps to eliminate such a problem:

• The Project Manager sets the Project objectives and is in quantitative control.

• The Functional Manager ensures the quality of the input from the individual.

Issues such as reward and promotion are the ultimate provinces of the functional manager. However, in the area of performance related pay and performance management the setting of criteria should be a collaborative effort between the two managers and the person concerned.

Classification Semiconductors
Figure B6. The Project Matrix

When R&D supplies some of the Project Managers to the matrix there is one point that needs to be watched. It is important, if it is intended that these people should come back into R&D, that they do not stay too long in this role. If the time out ofR&D is lengthy, technical obsolescence is a danger for the individual involved.

The matrix system is commonly used internally within R&D Groups, especially when research is product orientated and multi-disciplinary. This will be covered in Section B, 1.2.1. Most companies use matrix management for major projects, whether these be internal, e.g. the construction of a plant or facility, or have an external end point, e.g. the delivery of a product or service to the market. The specific use of empowered multi-disciplinary or cross functional teams working in a matrix, applied specifically to the reduction in the lead time for delivering projects, will be considered again in Section D.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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