Types of Organizational Matrices

Project team
Project team (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

There are five organizational matrix types: functional, weak, balanced, strong and projectized. Matrix-type organizations usually have two chains of command with functional and projectized duties clearly defined. Based on the level of control of budgets and resources, as well as the level of reporting, the organization favors either functional management or project management. For example, project managers who report to CEOs have far more clout than those who report to functional managers.

Functional Matrix

The functional matrix has a formally designated project manager whose responsibilities include coordinating project-related activities. In this matrix type, the project manager has absolutely no control over the project's budget or its resources. The project manager acts more as an assistant than as an actual project manager. Functional managers are responsible for the budget and for all of the resources of the projects. This organization type does not see a real need for a project manager.

Weak Matrix

The weak matrix is similar to the functional matrix and has no real desire to designate a project manager to manage its projects. Instead, its functional staff manages the projects while the functional managers manage the budget and resources of its projects. This organizational type spends more money on projects due to the lack of true project management standards, and lack of lessons learned incorporated into the organization's project selection process.

Balanced Matrix

Balanced matrix organizations understand a need for project managers, but believe they should work side-by-side with functional managers to tackle projects. Project managers and functional managers share the budget and resource responsibilities and work together with staff members in the functional areas. The project manager tends to concentrate on identifying and analyzing a project's deadlines and resource needs while the functional manager works with the staff to verify the deadlines and resource needs are being met.

Strong Matrix

The strong matrix organizations have a project management office (PMO) in place where the organization's project management standards are clearly defined, practiced and enforced. Functional managers and/or executives request the assistance of a project manager from the PMO. When the project manager is assigned to the project, she is responsible for the resources and budget of the project. The staff reports to the functional managers and the project manager.

Projectized Matrix

In a projectized matrix organization, the business handles projects and has no true functional management roles other than perhaps payroll and human resources. A projectized organization's project managers and staff coordinate projects and the staff reports directly to the project managers. Employees in these organizations continuously work on projects. When the organization runs out of projects, there is no work for the staff. The project manager reports to clients and its PMO.

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  • "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge -- Third Edition"; Project Management Institute Inc.; 2004
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