Project Management

The Dual Role of Project Manager/Functional Manager: Does it Work?

Jarno Marchetto

In a wide range of organizations, one person may be assigned to the roles of project manager and functional manager at the same time. In this article, the advantages and disadvantages of this organizational solution are discussed, and recommendations about its application are presented. More specifically, the author tries to address the issue of whether this dual role really works.

Project  managers and functional managers have similar skills and competences while having two very different profiles; sometimes project managers have previous experience in functional management and vice versa. But what happens when one person takes on both roles at the same time? This is actually a dual job that may have advantages and disadvantages and risks, which are often underestimated.

What Does the “Dual Role of Project Manager/Functional Manager” Mean?

This particular situation occurs when a project manager assumes the responsibility of leading a functional area or a line team, or when a functional manager receives the task to personally lead one or more projects. “Functional managers” are “key individuals who play a management role within an administrative or functional area of the business, such as human resources, finance, accounting, or procurement. They are assigned their own permanent staff to carry out the ongoing work, and…

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