Irony

Irony

The other day my superior asked me to take on responsibility within the department in a way that conflicted with my original role.  Back in October 2007, I was hired as a functional manager.  A few months ago, the department hired its first project manager.  Our department never defined itself as projectized, functional, or matrixed.  Because there were no PM’s, I knew my role was clearly functional and so was the organization.  The management team knew I had a lot of experience in project management and recently asked that I start managing deliverable as a project manager while still acting in the role of a functional manager.  I explained that there would be conflict, if I indeed agreed to do that.  I was then told the department was now “matrixed”.  I politely clarified by adding that upon hiring “a” project manager, we were a weak matrix.  All of the power still rests with the functional manager(s) and the project manager is merely acting as a facilitator.  I added if they wanted the project manager(s) to hold a majority of the power, that is known as a strong matrix.  There was silence.  The response was, “then we want our organization to be a strong matrix”.

A few days later, we had a team meeting.  My superior brought me and my team into the conference room and handed everyone a printout from the Wikipedia website for Matrix Management.  I was silent as he attempted to explain to the team that they should now be getting direction from the project manager(s) and that I would be working in a more supporting capacity.  They all looked a bit confused so I walked over to the white-board and offered an illustration of what model we were and what model he was proposing.

What I didn’t tell them (or my superior) was that I am one of the contributing authors of the Matrix Management definition page on Wikipedia.

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