Project Management

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How does the responsibility matrix assist the project manager and resource managers to allocate resources to a project? Is this tool used by your Company? If so, is it effective? If not would it be effective if instituted? Why, what were/would be the benefits?

I worked in an aerospace company that used the matrix system effectively. It was called TRW Systems at that time. There was a line management system arranged by area of expertise, which was expected to seek most of its own funding by writing proposals. The company would augment their contracts with Independent Research Development and sales acquisition money, as needed. There was also a separate organization and chain of command associated with major projects, which would draw from the required expertise throughout the company. We probably had a higher percentage of PhD's than any other company in the aerospace and defense industries, and it seemed to work. Some resented being ordered to work on certain projects and proposals that seemed doomed, when were were happy in their ivory towers doing what they were good at and getting government support. I was among them, but we did what we had to do. There was always a problem with incompetents in high positions, directing projects, allocating resources and marketing initiatives badly.

I wish to clarify my last sentence above, by changing "always" to "occasional" in the last sentence. Effective use of matrix system management requires excellent engineering judgement at high project and line organization management levels. Conflicts arise when line managers and project managers compete for the same people. They also arise when deciding how to allocate R&D and marketing resources. These decisions are made at high levels of the company. Frequent reorganizations result. This can affect employee morale.

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