View Full Version : How does a project manager differ from a regular boss?

07-01-2019, 10:30 PM
Organization structure tells us something about the boss and project manager. For example, in a project-ized organization, the project manager is the boss, however, few companies are structured thus. From experience many organizations are set up functionally. In functional organizations there are departments that perform some specialization work for the company, for example a software test department. A project would then obtain the required talent for the project by working with the managers of these departments. These managers are effectively the boss of the talent employed on the team, and the project manager also have some influence on the team member as well. In these instances, the team member will have two bosses in some instances (the organization structure known as the balanced matrix). This dual boss, of sorts, can cause some difficulty for the team member. Who is the true boss when things conflict? It can also pose some difficulty to the project manager as there can be conflict on how to approach the project. This will require taking time to resolve the difficulty to keep the project on schedule. A schedule that does not consider the organizations structure and these potential issues is a schedule at risk. The version of the matrix wherein the project manager retains the majority control is known as the strong matrix, and at the other end of the spectrum is the weak matrix in which the line manager really calls the shots on how the project talent will be deployed and employed.

Functional organization – run by the manager- the person running the functional department such as electrical engineering, software engineering, wire harness group, etc.
Matrix organization – range from weak to strong matrix. Weak matrix the power is in the hands of the manager. The balance matrix pits the manager and the project manager -each have equal strength in the companies eyes, setting opportunities for conflict. The strong matrix structure type puts the strength in the hands of the project manager
Projectized organization – the project manager is the boss. These organizations contain all of the required talent required to perform the project. In these organizations, for example an department that develops instrument clusters, there will be embedded hardware person, software person, a systems engineer (perhaps) and test personnel and perhaps even more. This entire team consists of all of the talent required to deliver the expected project results and the project manager is both the project manager AND the boss.