A project manager's role within different organizational structures

Understanding organizational structure is crucial for project managers as it helps determine reporting lines, communication channels, and how to navigate within the organization. The two main types of organizational structures are Classic and Matrix.

Classic Organizational Structures:

  • Definition: A top-down hierarchy where the CEO has direct authority over department managers, who then oversee their respective teams.
  • Characteristics: Employees are grouped by function (e.g., marketing, finance) and typically stay within their functional areas.
  • Project Management: Project managers in a Classic structure must work with functional managers to understand resource capacities and internal processes. They may face challenges due to competing priorities and approval chains.

Example: Friendly Skies Airlines decides to retrofit its airplanes. The project team will include members from various departments like Engineering, Finance, and Marketing, but they will primarily remain within their functional reporting lines.

Matrix Organizational Structures:

  • Definition: Employees have two or more managers, often crossing functional areas, leading to multiple reporting lines.
  • Characteristics: Functional areas intersect more frequently, and employees may report to both a functional manager and a project manager.
  • Project Management: Project managers act as temporary managers for the duration of the project, coordinating with functional managers to achieve project goals.

Example: Friendly Skies Airlines in a Matrix structure has a Project Manager working with the Product Excellence team and collaborating with the Marketing team to develop new materials for an amenity kit.

Key Takeaway:

  • In both structures, defining roles and responsibilities is crucial for project success. In Matrix organizations, project managers may share authority with functional managers.