Navigating the project management matrix
As projects in many organisations become more complex they become more “horizontal”, they increasingly cut across the traditional vertical silos of functions, geography and business units. Whether the organization has a formal matrix structure or not these projects create their own “matrix” which needs to be mastered for the project to succeed. Project managers need new skills to master this matrix environment.
The typical challenges in managing projects in this more matrixed environment include
- less clarity and more ambiguity – project team members are often working on multiple teams with multiple bosses and stakeholders, they have competing demands for their time and attention and high levels of change drive ambiguity. We need to bring clarity and an active sense of ownership where we can, but also be much more adept at managing ambiguity and even conflict.
- poor quality collaboration – if we are not clear about how we collaborate and who needs to be involved in discussions and decisions we can see an increase in the number of unnecessary meetings, unproductive team members and slow decisions. We need to be more connected and more effective at the same time
- increasingly complex stakeholder engagement – project managers need to manage greater numbers and variety of stakeholders and to exercise influence without authority in getting things done.
- more accountability and less control. Project managers are held accountable for success but may not have direct control over the resources they need to achieve it. Managing this balance is critical to project delivery
… and we still need to deliver results on time and to quality and budget!
We have worked with hundreds of virtual and matrix organizations and the people issues are remarkably consistent across industries, cultures and functions. You can see more about the challenges we observe in our free webinar “leading the journey from virtual to matrix and digital teams” or by downloading one of our research led white papers here
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