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Functional, Pure Project and Matrix team structures

There are three different team structures. They are Functional, Pure Project, and Matrix. What are some of the elements that differentiate the team structures from one another? How is the project team structure related to the project manager's authority level?

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Please see the attached document.

Some thoughts:

Please refer to for information on Tuckman's stages of team development. It will shed some light on what I am sharing below.

In a functional team, the authority of the PM will already exist and the team members should already be past the forming and storming stages. Sometimes, if a more junior PM is running a project there may be some rebellion and "you're not my boss" attitudes, but it is less likely than in a pure project or matrix environment.

In a pure project team format, team members report only to the PM, but team members may be on several different projects and may have other job responsibilities besides the project. The authority of the PM can be undermined if team members' other obligations take priority in their minds.

In a matrixed environment, team members are being pulled in many different directions and have to establish their own priorities. PM's are often reduced to asking for help than being able to demand results with any real leverage.


Characteristics Advantages Disadvantages
Functional ? Project is the responsibility of one department
? Assigned to the department with the most interest and technical ability
? Almost all tasks can be completed within the one functional area ? Familiarity of the team
? Established administrative system
? Staff availability
? Scheduling efficiency
? Clear authority ? Project isolation
? Limited resources
? Bureaucratic procedures
? Lack of project focus
? Department orientation
Pure Project ? Team is put together to accomplish goals
? Team members report only to project manager
? At end of project - go to another job/project ? Clear project authority
? Simplified project communications
? Access to special expertise
? Project focus and priority ? Duplication of efforts
? Unclear loyalties and motivations
? Intra-company rivalry
? Uncertain reintegration of resources
Matrix ? People report to multiple managers
? Coordination of a web of relationships
? Attempts to take advantage of the benefits of pure-project organization while maintaining the advantages of the functional organization ? Clear project focus
? Flexible staffing
? Adaptability to management needs and skills
? Staff development opportunities
? Adaptability to management changes ? Built in conflicts
? Resistance to termination
? Complex command and authority relationships
? Complex employee recognition systems
Mixed ? Mixture of functional, matrix, and pure-project organizations
? Companies with a wide range of projects
? Project has more than one purpose
? People are organized on a sub-project basis ? Strengths and weaknesses of matrix organization apply
? Extreme flexibility in way ...

Solution Summary

Comparison matrix and discussion and some extracts of articles discussing PM authority.