If you are to be successful in project management, you need to know how to work effectively in a matrix environment. This means that you need to align and coordinate all individuals that support the project. Anything that pulls those individuals in various directions needs to be deflected. Below, we are take a look at how you can ensure you get the best standard of work from your team members while also guaranteeing that senior and functional managers offer effective and timely support. This is something that is taught in a lot of project management courses.
Get support from other individuals in the environment – First and foremost, it is important that you elicit support from other people in the environment. Get an ally that has authority as quickly as possible. After all, despite being the project manager, it is unlikely you are going to have authority over all individuals that influence the chance of your project being a success.
Create and reinforce a team identity – Make sure that there is a common goal that everyone is working towards, and that you continually reinforce this goal. This will help people to overcome any problems they experience along the way. There are numerous strategies you can use to achieve this. You need to be aware of and attend to the functioning of your team. Help team members to form interpersonal relationships that are productive and comfortable. You also need to clarify each person’s authority and define team procedures. In regards to the former, clarifying the level of independent authority each team member has to make decisions and determine who else can make decisions will ensure the identity of the team is clear. Finally, make sure working relationships and team vision are both clarified. No matter what type of project management training you do, you will learn that this is imperative.
Address problems in advance – The next step is to create procedures in advance that will address the more common issues that are likely to occur throughout your project. You should plan this in sufficient detail so that when any conflicts arise you can identify and dress them promptly. This will stop them from manifesting and putting the whole project behind schedule. You also encourage upper management to put together an oversight committee that can address resources and other conflicts while also monitoring the performance of the project. Also, encourage open communication amongst all members of your team, especially when it concerns frustrations and problems.
Get the commitment of your team – Last but not least, team member commitment is of paramount importance if you are to achieve success in a matrix environment. In such circumstances, team members often have no or little authority over each other. This means they must perform well on their assignments as a result of their own choosing, not because they must. This is why you need to encourage all members of your team to commit to their project goals. There are numerous tactics you can use to ensure these individuals remain motivated throughout.