In project management circles we tend to talk often about a matrix management environment. Matrix management isn’t anything new. It has become the de facto standard for management in virtually all high-tech organizations.
The idea of matrix management came out of management thinking in the early 70s. J.R. Galbraith gives us one of the first published works on the subject in 1971 talking about how to combine organizational and functional responsibilities. The prevailing management environment at the time was hierarchical. Organizations were huge silos of departments ruled by strong department leaders. That works great until there is more than one project that must span more than one department in order to be completed. The notion of a ‘projectized’ matrix has been promoted by project managers and associations like the Project Management Institute for over 30 years.
In a projectized matrix, we establish a second axis to our organization and we give some responsibility to that part of the organization that manages projects. The result has organizational departments along one side of the display and project managers delivering projects or products down the other.
Why talk about this while talking about Enterprise Project Management? Because this model has become the cornerstone of virtually every Microsoft EPM Solution deployment. If you’re now working on deployment of Project Server then you’re sure to run into this model in your travels. There are exceptions to the Matrix Management model which I’ll discuss before I’m done here, but suffice it to say that it is close to universal if we look at technology organizations.