MGT 598 – Matrix Reflections

During our last MGT 598 Project Management class, we discussed the Matrix Organization Structure. When our professor asked the class if anyone had worked in a similar work structure I assumed I did not because I have a single boss and I don’t really work in the project management field. During the class, I realized that I do have exposure to the Matrix Organization Structure even if is not called out in that manner at my work.

I am a Senior Cost Analyst supporting a Manufacturing Plant. I have a single identified boss within the Finance organization. Yet, I also support specific products and business units within the plant. Those managers are also an effective boss of mine. I report to them every month with financials and results of various queries that they have. While the finance manager will ultimately be completing my performance review, pleasing and effectively supporting the plant managers will directly impact my performance review.

In the case study we went over in class, Moss and McAdams Accounting Firm, I can completely relate with Zeke Olds and the way in which he was being pulled in different directions. There have been many times that I have had requests from the Plant Managers that have conflicted with the wishes of my finance managers. Typically these are a result of different goals and areas of focus between the finance managers and the plant managers; finance wanting to tell one story with the numbers and the plant managers wanting to tell another story. Much of my job involved sorting through the numbers and commentary to reflect either both stories equally or reflecting the most accurate story. Finance is much more that simple accounting and reporting; it is the narrative described in the numbers that the various managers are going to have to speak to.

3 thoughts on “MGT 598 – Matrix Reflections

  1. Good post and reflection. I can also relate to you and Zeke. My primary organizational role is technical product sales support manager. I have one manager dictating my workload and responsibilities. Although, at times I feel the pull from our sales group to give extra attention to one project or one customer. Other times, the quality group may push their specific project tasks on my group, which is outside our scope. I tend to tread lightly when dealing with other departments since I am fairly new to the role and my manager is fast approaching retirement.

  2. This post and our conversation in class made me think about a new project management process recently implemented at my company for new product development projects. The new process clearly defines a cross functional, core team that is accountable for the project’s success. Although this process has improved cross functional alignment, it has also brought new challenges. Project team members are now required to spend more time supporting these NPD projects which has caused conflict with department specific goals and time required to support these. As we discussed in class, I think one way to improve here is to ensure a high level strategic alignment of all functions. At the end of the day, all functions should be working towards common objectives.

  3. I too work in a manufacturing setting as a cost control analyst. I know what it is like to deal with my direct management, ops, PMO, SCM, etc. Each organization pulls you in a different direction. Each function has their own goals and needs to get information from you… because you are the numbers, the financials and are a priority to everyone in the end no matter what org/function they are. I just try to remember what my organization stands for in the end, and that is accurate and complete financial reporting with thorough and comprehensive analysis. It is about providing the best information I can to everyone. If individual functions have requests or need help with the numbers I step in where I can and help them sort through the numbers. My priority is always to the financial homeroom and then the program. As a matrix organization I feel strongly that is the way it should be. That being said, I strive to better the program and the team through my analysis and financial reporting.

    Great reflection.

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