Project Management

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Topics: Organizational Project Management
How do you efficiently request resources for your projects in a matrix organization?
And most importantly, what is the course of action when Line Managers come back with a “All my resources are fully allocated in other projects”.
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I like to use the Project Charter not only to authorize the project manager to deliver the project but also provide appropriate authority to take the necessary actions to achieve the objective.The charter should also include a commitment by the functional managers to provide the necessary resources in a timely manner.

If that's not possible then you have to focus on what the project means to the respective functional managers, what are their benefits in providing the resources and/or the value of the project deliverable. If there is no value to them there will be no serious attempt to support the project. Their value may be through their VPs as a directive.

In a matrix organization functional manager support, specifically resource assignment, is a recognizable and manageable risk. Identify the risk and develop mitigating measures including alternative means of getting the resources you need. Make sure you quantify the cost to the organization of the mitigation measures.
Most of the people have covered various possibilities.
One option could be to have a workshop with sponsor and funtional manager(s).
This is to help them understand the business importance and the resources requirements in greater detail.
Project manager can take help from sponsor to initiate such workshop. This will entirely depend on the complexity and business importance of project.
But this could be great help as functional managers will have a fair idea about the project and project manager can take some key discussion points to charter to draft it formally.
The project managers relationship with functional manager also play a key factor here.
For me is simple. 1-the project is creating a solution to a business problem which is putting strategy into action to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Line managers are accountable for those objectives and goals. Then, is up to them, not to me. 2-I do not pretend people working in my program/project not doing multitasking. With the availbility I create and define all in my program/project making accountable for availability to line managers from the kickoff to the end of the projects and rewing all related to project estimation in constant way.
I think senior management should prioritize projects and the line managers should just follow the decisions.

I don't think the line managers should have the discretion to assign resources to projects as they see it fit. Neither the PMs nor the line manager should decide which projects are more important.

In case all the projects are equally important then senior management could approve hiring contractors. PMs should look for contractors while line managers and their direct reports should interview them and advise if they are fit for the work they have to perform on the projects.
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1 reply by Tarun Nair
May 23, 2020 8:55 PM
Tarun Nair
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I agree with your opinion, but in matrix organization where we need resources from different functions / deprtment, it is quite possible that resource allocation is delayed or resource allocated is only partially suitable ( not fully matching with expected skills or experience )
This may happen as the function or line manager is not fully aware of the requirement of resource and criticality of project.
The senior managers might not involve in allocation of resource, they may help incase it is getting delayed.
So I feel as a PM we are resonsible to communicate with all relevant functional manager to bring them to required understanding of project, to ensure that we are getting the correct resource.
If we do not have required influence or connection, we shall seek help from our senior management or sponsor of the project.
May 23, 2020 6:43 PM
Replying to Adrian Carlogea
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I think senior management should prioritize projects and the line managers should just follow the decisions.

I don't think the line managers should have the discretion to assign resources to projects as they see it fit. Neither the PMs nor the line manager should decide which projects are more important.

In case all the projects are equally important then senior management could approve hiring contractors. PMs should look for contractors while line managers and their direct reports should interview them and advise if they are fit for the work they have to perform on the projects.
I agree with your opinion, but in matrix organization where we need resources from different functions / deprtment, it is quite possible that resource allocation is delayed or resource allocated is only partially suitable ( not fully matching with expected skills or experience )
This may happen as the function or line manager is not fully aware of the requirement of resource and criticality of project.
The senior managers might not involve in allocation of resource, they may help incase it is getting delayed.
So I feel as a PM we are resonsible to communicate with all relevant functional manager to bring them to required understanding of project, to ensure that we are getting the correct resource.
If we do not have required influence or connection, we shall seek help from our senior management or sponsor of the project.
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