How Program Management in Matrix Organizations Works

Maturity has an immense leverage on the success of programs with lots of depend-encies. Organizations with high maturity have ~30% more probability to deliver successful results than having a low maturity (details in my last article on this subject).

Within this article you’ll gain an understanding how program management works in matrix organizations of large enterprises. These experiences base on multiple projects I’ve performed for various clients. Those DAX-listed companies spread a variety of industries, like chemical, energy, manufacturing, information technology, etc.

We’ve observed that program management is conducted slightly different to usual project management. In a regular project, all competencies are tied together with the project manager (project structure planning, scheduling, resources, etc.)

In our cases, the project (or program) manager is responsible for the WBS (work breakdown structure) and the schedule, but explicitly not responsible for the re-sources and their management. This leads to following figure:

A program is structured and scheduled by a program manager. The work packages are defined as deliverables and delegated to the designated departments. Within the departments, work packages are going to be detailed and staffed with resources (actually doing the work).
Let’s break this down to an example within the Airline industry:

Program Management wihtin the Airline Industry

The program is structured into work packages to be delivered by departments (e.g. dept. Wings and Engines). Those tasks are scheduled within the context of the entire program. Departments, on the other side, have structured their work packages by programs (e.g. P400, X7). Those work items are detailed, planned and executed here.

The challenge is to create an integrated solution that allows deviations to be high-lighted in order to manage conflicts. If you are interested how to encounter these conflicts, stay tuned for the next post or visit my session on the upcoming Microsoft Project Conference (#mspc12) in Phoenix, AZ, March 20th to 22nd (abstract for session #pc310).

You’ve seen how program management is being conducted in matrix organizations of large enterprises. The next article in this series will treat the different roles and how their goals compete with each other.

Ingo Meironke, PMP – Manager at Campana & Schott@meiroTweet