In the way of organizational success, there lies a noteworthy foe that is ever-present and makes sure that you and your goals are berated and questioned at every step of the project development process. Not to make it sound too comical, but the general idea is the same.
This “foe” is the stakeholders’ approvals and reviews. Trust me, if you haven’t suffered from this, then you are one of a few that haven’t.
Because the companies or the development teams that are constantly being questioned and demoralized by these approval requests and reviews are relentlessly searching for different ways that can help them move quickly through the work that they have to perform without these constant interruptions. In comes the “Organizational Chart”.
As we know that the companies or businesses in the organizational paradigm have several chains of command in place so that every single person in the organization has the knowledge and clarity about the decision-making authorities when it comes to their work or the overall company workflow.
Normally, a hierarchal organizational chart of the companies in the organizational paradigm has the chief executive officer (CEO) at the very top. Below the CEOs are the chief operating officer (COO) and the chief financial officer (CFO).
After these three main roles, the department managers are broken off from the top leadership roles, and below them are the project managers that are appointed for each specific project that the company is executing.
A new way to handle these types of hierarchal complexities is a matrix organization. This type of organization is quite different from the classic organizational structure because the development team members report simultaneously to a department head and a project manager.
But what is a matrix organization? In this article, we are going to talk about just that and how you can create a matrix organization to easily facilitate the execution of complex projects that your company is handling.
What is a Matrix Organization?
A matrix organization is a new work structure form in which the development team members of the company report to multiple leaders like the department lead and the project management, etc. These team members have to report to these two entities whether they are working from home or if they are working in the office.
The best thing about this organizational structure form is that it can help you create some complex new products and services without realigning the whole spectrum of the project development team.
Let’s see how a matrix organization works in the organizational paradigm.
Working Process of a Matrix Organization
Whenever we are talking about a matrix organization, we are talking about two or more management reporting structures that are going to take place in the overall organization.
While this all might seem confusing to you at first because how can there be two heads of the same team, team members in the organizational paradigm generally have a primary manager for their department.
One thing that you need to know is that the team members reporting to a department functions quite similarly to a traditional work organizational structure.
For example, the development team members that are working in the IT department will report to the IT department head. Simple. And the IT department head generally reports to the VP of the entire division.
Eventually, as we all know that all of the department heads and the VPs report to the CEO.
When it comes to matrix organizations, things are a bit different, because the team members of a matrix organization also report to project managers.
Different projects in a company often require work from many other members of different departments like marketing, IT, and finance. This is why having a separate manager for each specific project is perfect because it will allow the company to make complex projects.
Let’s now take a look at the different types of matrix management, and find out how they are different from one another in the overall course of things.
Types of Matrix Management
There are three types of matrix management that we are going to talk about in this article. Each of these different types of matrix management gives more or less authority to the project manager in charge of the whole shebang.
You can understand all of these different types of matrix management on a scale with the department manager at one hand and the project manager at the other.
Here is a list of the different types of matrix management that we are going to discuss in this article.
- Strong Matrix
- Balanced Matrix
- Weak Matrix
Let’s take a look at these different types in detail and find out how they are different from one another.
1. Strong Matrix
Starting with the strong matrix. In this type of matrix management structure, the project manager has the most note-worthy decision-making power over the whole shebang. In this type of matrix management, the department head has more limited authority than the project manager.
This situation makes a strong organizational structure as the project manager is in full control over the project and he and the team won’t be disturbed much by the department head.
In other words, the department head can oversee the project from a distance, but can’t make any key decisions and undermine the authority of the project manager.
2. Balanced Matrix
When we talk about the balanced matrix, the project development process that the company and its team members are performing is managed and looked after by the project management and the department head simultaneously.
They both have the same authority on every single thing and all of the team members report to both of them on every single activity that they perform.
This is an incredible type of matrix organization as it improves communication between all of the entities that are performing leadership roles, and as there are no communication gaps between them, every project moves forward smoothly without any issues and obstacles.
3. Weak Matrix
The third type of matrix organizational structure that is used nowadays is the weak matrix. In this structure type, the project manager has the last amount of power or any decision-making privileges, compared to any other type of matric management type that we have studied earlier.
And one thing that all project managers and stakeholders associated with the project know, is that the matrix becomes incredibly weak when the project manager has the last amount of authority and the timeline and the project budget are in the hands of the department head.
If you or your team are part of such a situation, then the best thing that you can do is to create a communication plan so that the communication channels are not ridiculed and there are ample collaborations and communication amidst the weak matrix.
Let’s now take a look at some of the advantages of the matrix organization structure.
Benefits of Matrix Organization Structure
As we know that the matrix organizational structure is quite complex than the hierarchal structure, but it has many different benefits. Here is a list of those benefits that we are going to discuss in this article.
- Efficient Use of Resources
- Training for Project Managers
- Team Retention
- Clear Project Objectives
- Free-Flowing Information
Let’s discuss these benefits in detail and find out how the matrix organizational structure helps different companies and teams in the market right now.
1. Efficient Use of Resources
One of the best things about matrix organizational structure is that it allows efficient use of the resources between all of the teams including all of the other professionals that are working from different departments on the project.
The best thing about this efficient use of the resources is that it greatly reduces the overhead costs of the whole shebang and is also the amount of time that is needed to complete the whole project development process.
2. Training for Project Managers
Even if you are a senior professional in the role of the project manager or if you are just starting to get the hang of it, the matrix organizational structure gives a large amount of responsibility to the project manager, whether they like it or not.
This is because the project development market is so fierce and you need to get things done quickly so that your project and your company can gain value and retain their reputation.
This is why, in a matrix organizational structure, the project managers have to lead their entire project development team through the project lifecycle and get things done accordingly.
Before you judge this structure in favor of the project managers who don’t want to learn, this structure greatly challenges the project managers so that they can educate themselves on the role that they have embarked upon and be more seasoned professionals for the more complex projects that they might have to face one day.
3. Clear Project Objectives
Another great thing about matrix organizational structures is that the design of it can ensure greater clarity on the project goals and objectives that have been set by the company and the people in charge, at the start of the project.
This comes to benefit the project development team when they have to report to both the project managers and the department heads because when the goals are set and there are no miscommunication issues or any communication gaps, the project can be done quickly without any obstacles or issues.
4. Free-Flowing Information
When the development team is reporting to two different managers or people in charge, a great thing that happens is that the communication channels are opened wide and there is free-flowing information for every single individual that needs it.
While the traditional organizational model wants the professionals to remember to relay information to their superiors and their peers, the matrix organizational structure practically orders the professionals to make this flow of information a requirement.
5. Team Retention
Last, but not least is team retention, and the matrix organizational structure helps with this, excellently. When the team members are being heard and are appointed to the work that they have experience and skills for, they are happy and they stay at the company more.
This was our guide on Matrix organizational structure, its benefits, and its different types. If you have something to add to this article, then write to us and we will make sure to review it ASAP.
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