|Diagram of a matrix organisation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
With large projects having all the required resources to hand is sometimes a difficult job in itself. While systems and hardware are easily acquired, the skills and specializations that people can bring to bear need time to develop. You could “hire” for it, but to some extent, that is a losing proposition as someone coming into the company fresh, will often not have the necessary internal knowledge or skills required to get the job done. This is where Matrix Management comes into play.
TAKE THE BLUE PILL
Matrix management is something that has been around for quite a while and despite your initial thoughts, it really does not have anything to do with Keanu Reaves and a long standing war between humanity and the machines! Rather, Matrix management (with respect to Projects) is a way of utilizing resources that exist in other teams so that you are able to accomplish your objectives. These resources are on temporary “loan” and must revert back to their previous home when the project or task is completed.
ADVANTAGES OF MATRIX MANAGEMENT IN PROJECTS
A significant advantage of this method of sourcing your resources in your project is the fact that you can get the best people possible to assist you in completing your project. While it is possible to hire externally and get the same or better skills, anyone that has come in from the street will not have the “company” knowledge that is sometimes the key requirement in getting things done. By obtaining resources from other internal departments and teams, you are able to bypass this bottleneck and ensure that you have got the team you need to get the job done.
Another significant advantage of this Matrix Management is that while you have the resources you need – you (as a manager) are still not their direct line manager. This means that you can leave the minutiae of people management tasks by the wayside and focus on what is of interest to you – completing that project!
DISADVANTAGES OF MATRIX MANAGEMENT IN PROJECTS
While not having to manage your new resource is a definite plus, the fact that you are not their manager can sometimes be a disadvantage also. Often – unless clearly defined – staff get pulled in multiple directions between the demands of their new project team and their existing team. If this is not addressed quickly, it can become quite a drain on your team and their morale.