Project manager jobs can be structured in different ways. Strong project managers have direct authority over teams. Weak project managers have indirect authority over teams. Matrix or hybrid project structures fall in between the strong project manager and weak project manager structures. The best project management structure depends on the need for speed and flexibility.
- Part of resolving to a course of action is understanding exactly what the project managers job will be, so let's look at some of the common ways to structure the project managers role. I remember a big project meeting that I attended a few years ago. We went around the room and everyone introduced themselves, as I listened, nearly half of the people introduced themselves as being project managers. I remember asking one of my colleagues, how many project managers do we really need for this one project? But we soon realized that there was plenty of room for all of us.
In some cases, there's only one project manager, and that person is really the boss. Everyone on the team reports to the project manager, and the project manager has the authority to hire and fire people, to award bonuses, and to discipline team members if necessary. These are called strong project managers because they have a lot of power. Having a strong project manager has benefits, but it also comes with challenges. On one hand, working on the project is everyone's full time job, but that also means that the project team is structured like a permanent group.
It might take a while to ramp up and hire your staff, and you may have a hard time finding and keeping employees because everyone knows that the project and their job will eventually come to an end. On the other end of the spectrum is the weak project manager. This occurs when no one reports directly to the project manager, instead the team members all report to another manager in a functional division, but they're shared with the project manager.
Since these folks don't report to the project manager, the project manager doesn't usually have the authority to hire or fire them, to give them a bonus or a promotion, or to discipline them if there's a problem. That's why this arrangement is called a weak project manager. The advantage to having a weak project manager is that it's fast and easy to bring teams together, to change things around, and to add and remove people from the team.
But the downside is that the team members may have conflicting priorities and they lack many of the incentives that managers use to motivate performance. In between these two extremes, the strong project management structure and the weak one, there are an endless variety of hybrid or matrix models. Perhaps the team members report to their functional managers, but the project manager provides input to their performance reviews and compensation.
Or, they report to a functional manager but they're eligible for a bonus based on the performance of the project team. In the case of H+ Sport, they'll probably go with a weak project management structure. That will be the easiest and fastest way to bring a team together, add and remove team members, and allow everyone to go back to their regular jobs once the project is complete. Remember, every project is a little bit different, so there is no single best answer about how to organize your team, but it is important to understand the spectrum, from strong project managers to weak ones, and to select a structure that makes sense for your project.
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- Describe the responsibilities of a project leader by using the DIRECT framework.
- Explain the role of Root Cause Analysis.
- Identify the common elements of a Project Charter.
- Describe the contents of a SWOT Analysis.
- Explain the difference between a weak project manager and a strong project manager.
- Understand the difference between qualitative metrics and quantitative metrics.List several tools that can be used for managing a project.
- Describe several techniques that can be used when managing the change created by a project.
- Explain the difference between a change and a transition.
- Explain the importance of capturing lessons learned from a project.