Matrix Management

Making the Matrix Agile

Over the last 10 years more and more organisations have introduced some form of matrix organisation or a more integrated “matrixed” way of working.

They have done so to serve their customers better, improve their internal systems and coordination, share resources and learning, and enable digital transformation by cutting through the silos.

The logic is compelling, and this has become the preferred way of working for most of the world’s leading organisations. However, the search for consistency and integration can sometimes be at the expense of flexibility and agility.

This is not the fault of the matrix itself, a matrix is designed to be multidimensional, to enable us to respond flexibly to competing priorities. Once any one dimension or “leg” of the matrix becomes too strong, you lose this flexibility.

Many organisations who operate the matrix for the benefits of coordination and integration were also attracted to agile working to provide more flexibility and speed of response. Whilst this has worked impressively well in projects and other activities with short iterative delivery cycles, it has proven difficult to scale beyond the level of the individual team and in some cases autonomous agile teams have become their own silos, resistant to engaging with the rest of the organisation.

Agile also tends to ignore the role of the middle manager, which is vital to making the matrix work.

The big trick is how to combine the connectedness of the matrix with the flexibility of agile working.

This year we are publishing a 10th anniversary update of our best-selling book Making the Matrix Work with an agile update to share our views on how to achieve this balance.

We’ve also updated our matrix management learning path to bring in new techniques incorporating autonomous teams, accountability without control, influence without authority and managing continuous change.

If you are new to the matrix or wanting to make your matrix more connected and flexible at the same time, why not get in touch and find out more. You can download a brochure with fuller descriptions of each of the modules here (click on any of the modules)

If you are one of the tens of thousands of people who’ve been through our matrix management training in the last 20 years and found it useful, this is an opportunity to get an update on our latest thinking.

The book Making the Matrix Work – the agile remix is available for pre-order now on Amazon and other platforms. Then new training programs are now available. Please get in touch to find out more.

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