Functional and Project Manager’s Duel I get many questions from the pmStudent community. One of the highlights of my days is reading and responding. I received this question from a wonderful student, and I wanted to share it with everyone. [Note: I will not include first names or countries. I respect your privacy. Please let me know if you would like me to refer to your name and country in a blog article. Because everyone is comfortable, I will keep it anonymous. Josh, thank you for all your hard work. We are extremely grateful for all the information you provide. However, I have a question. My question concerns the relationship between line manager and project manager. What is the role of a line manager in a project-driven organization? This topic was covered in a book. The more I learn about it, the more I see the conflict between line manager and project manager. Would you be willing to share the details of how line and project managers collaborate effectively? Thanks. The Duel of the Functional and Project Managers – by uwdigitalcollections via flickr You will have at least two types or managers in a matrix organization. Line or Functional Managers, as well as Project Managers. (I will use the terms functional manager and line manger interchangeably). There are many organizational structures that can be used to create high-functioning or highly project-oriented companies. The roles of project manager and line manager change along this continuum. The organizational culture also plays a significant role in their roles. Both line and project managers need to be able to clearly understand their roles and how they relate, regardless of organizational structure. They should work together in a perfect world to manage people, projects, customers, and so on. To the benefit of everyone. They are collaborators. Territorial struggles and other foolishness will result if an organization doesn’t clearly define its roles and ensure harmony. One example is that managers might feel it’s their job to give performance evaluations and then fight with one another. Approval for different things, such as replacement equipment, forms, and so forth. could become contentious. People will fight over stupid stuff, even (perhaps especially?) managers. If the interface between functional and project managers is not clear, they will spend time nitpicking and stepping on each others’ toes. Functional or Weak Matrix

  • Project Manager: Very limited role or authority
  • Line Manager: Full management authority

This organization type does not consider project management a formal discipline. Functional managers manage their own “projects”, which are often little more than telling their direct reports to do something. Similar to a weak matrix, functional managers “authorize” projects. However, staff leads may manage the projects. You may also have pseudo projects teams that span multiple functional teams and departments. Balanced Matrix

  • Project Manager: Part time, with little authority, but provides some input into performance reviews
  • Line Manager: Full-time management role. Performs performance reviews with input from project mangers. Resources spend most of their time working on operational tasks and a small amount on projects when they happen.

This organizational structure introduces project manager. Many companies are at this point. The project manager is responsible only for the project(s), but has no authority over the staff who work on these projects. The project manager must negotiate with functional managers to obtain resources. Ideally, she will have a sponsor (who is).

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