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Friday, February 20, 2009

How to Survive Matrix Teaming

Many of us, especially those with project management experience, work with matrix teams where there is no clear power structure. How does a person survive this type of environment and why is this even a question?

While most people are used to a linear organizational chart, matrix teams are quite a bit different and also challenge certain personality types. Executives & Professionals: Changing Jobs?

Amazon.com is known for matrix teaming and having a very flat organizational structure. The matrix teaming model allows for very rapid project execution and flexible resources allocation. However, it does make for some sticky situations where there is no clear authority and considerable ambiguity. (For more information about this Web 2.0 style, click here to find the first of a 5-part series on the topic.)

Certain personality types flourish in an environment filled with ambiguity as it promotes creativity and free flowing collaboration. Other personality types don't do well in these groups as they are structured thinkers and are good at developing boundaries and putting form to the formless. Elite Jobs for elite professionals! Let Doostang help accelerate your career. www.doostang.com

If you are one of the more structured thinkers, it helps to identify who in the group has the most influence and has the attention of the person requesting the output of the team. It also helps to develop key requirements and identify who in the team best can deliver those requirements. In short, facilitate the group to organize itself and provide a framework for how the work should be structured to deliver the output (product) of the team. This facilitation isn't constraint, but rather a method of delivering accountability and insuring success. Try RingCentral Fax FREE for 30 days

If you are a less structured thinker, recognize that there is a shared goal to the project. Also recognize that nobody is trying to stifle creativity when they set boundaries or ask for deliverables. Rather, seek to find the balance between your creativity and others' need for a framework. While it is difficult working with those who have "control issues," definitive action should be the result of cooperate work.

It is a compromise of styles. Free thinking personalities bristle at control. Structured thinkers are riled by ambiguity. Allowing both styles requires a balance of both. When accountability becomes an issue, influence is the best way to resolve it. Open and honest feedback also encourages accountability as it highlights competency and commitment. Online incorporating services backed by people.

Surviving a matrix team requires compromise. Structured thinkers must accept the need for a free flow of information. Less structured thinkers must accept some boundaries to facilitate success. Both types must accept each other as valued team members. Matrix teaming can be successful when people work to their strengths and accept a compromise of styles.

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1 comment:

Kevan said...

Good post. In a matrix team, it is important that some form of "leadership" (as distinct from a discrete leader) arises.

Ideally, leadership is fluid and moves to whoever has the expertise, influence or motivation to get the job done (rather than an appointed boss)

More on matrix working at http/www.lifeinamatrix.com

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