Due to limited dedicated resources, Matrix Management is often employed, requiring the "matrixed" resource to report to two bosses, one of which is functional and the other operational. When approached properly, Matrix Management can prove to be an effective tool in Resource Management.
Resource Management is the component of Project Management which includes the processes that organize, manage and develop the project team. It pertains to managing the capacity and deployment of project team resources needed to carry out project tasks. This requires setting goals and strategies for effective human resource management.
What is Matrix Management?
Matrix Management is the vertical and horizontal interface of an organization. As opposed to traditional organizations which often consist of horizontal layers with a distinct line of command, this interface allows individuals to report to multiple people. In other words, in Matrix Management organizational structure, a project team member reports to, and is accountable to, two or more different managers.
Establishing the Project Team
Establishing the project team includes the process of obtaining the human resources needed to complete the project. Project team members are drawn from available internal and external sources. The project management team may or may not have control over the team members selected for the project, specifically on projects in Matrix Management environment. The nature of such projects necessitates effective communication among the entire project team and throughout the entire project. It is helpful to understand how human resource practices work in PMBOK methodology.
Challenges with Matrix Management
While Matrix Management can be effective and productive when properly executed, it does present some challenges. One of the most common concerns is that it impedes traditional career paths. Unless properly managed, the project team members under this type of management may find themselves uncertain or confused as to which manager loyalty is due. This, in turn, can impose an adverse impact on productivity and progress as the team member loses clarity, focus and ultimately, confidence in the project, project team and his or her ability to contribute and perform. Matrix Management environments may also lead to tension and conflict among managers competing for control and the shared project resource’s time and contributions.
When Matrix Management Works
Matrix Management can and does work, in environments, for example, where there are wide fluctuations in workloads, such as those with major project work. Research and Development is an example of this type of project environment. Employing effective resource management is a sure way to improve the success of projects.
Effective and efficient Matrix Management requires that the organization has clearly defined goals. When this is the case, many benefits can be achieved, including enhanced human resource skills, better utilization of resources and greater accountability. Whether a Matrix Management organization is used or another any other type of organization, strong ongoing communication is key and absolutely necessary in order to result in successful projects.
For related information related to effective Project Resource Management, read the article, Creating Status Reports for Software Project (part 1 of 4).