Team Building and Development in a Matrix Environment

Team Building and Development in a Matrix Environment

What is a team?

There are many types of teams. A functional team is a permanent team formed to perform operational activities for a specific part of the organization, such as finance, sales, marketing, etc. There is no set time limit for functional teams as they are needed to keep the business running. A project team is brought together for different periods of time to achieve a defined goal.

At the end of the project, the team was disbanded. Project teams are often a matrix, managed by members drawn from diverse functional teams to achieve project objectives. When the Project Manager has a high level of authority, this is known as a strong matrix; when the Functional Manager has stronger authority, this is known as a weak matrix.

In all organizational structures, there are many ‘teams within teams’. For example, if I were a Manager, I might have several teams in my overall team:

– Me and the whole team

– Me and every individual on my management team

– Me and all my management team

– Me and my colleagues in other departments

– Each individual management team and their direct subordinates

This is quite complicated if the structure is a well-defined functional hierarchy. However, the matrix environment for completing projects adds another layer of complexity. Functional ‘teams within a team’ still exist and everyone has a functional ‘home’ team, but now they also belong to a ‘project’ team which has a limited lifespan.

All of these teams need nurturing if a project is to be successful. Busana Muslim In a matrix environment, loyalty to the project is not created by the structure itself, but rather as a result of the relationships developed within the project team.

Relationships across all teams are important for success, but on matrix teams, especially weak matrix teams, where the project manager may have little authority, these relationships are critical. AKDSEO merupakan agency digital marketing yang fokus melayani jasa Backlinks dan Link building website, termasuk di dalamnya Jasa Menaikkan DA ( Domain Authority), In such a team, relationships are harder to build, more fragile, and easier to destroy. Keeping a diverse group of people together in a matrix team depends on building loyalty and trust.

Team Development Phase

In 1965 Bruce Tuckman developed the theory that a team goes through certain phases of group development: formation, invasion, norms, and performance. Reed Manning, Spa & Salon These phases can be summarized as follows:

– Formation – the team comes together, begins to understand the goals and boundaries, starts the task, but each individual is still working somewhat independently. Managers need to steer at this stage to steer the team towards goals.

– Storming – ideas and approaches begin to be exchanged about how work can be done, and this can lead to conflict. This phase is critical to team growth, and results in the way individuals learn to work together. Managers still need to be direct at this stage, as well as accessible to ensure that conflicts are resolved and the team begins to move forward toward goals.

– Norming – the team begins to feel achievement, the rules of operation (both formal and informal) work, and trust begins to form. Managers start to be participative, and need to be available to provide guidance as the team continues to grow together.

– Performing – teams are now maturing and often high performing. Work is done, team members know how to work together, and even if conflict does occur, it is managed and navigated with skill and can increase productivity. Teams need very little supervision at this point and can mostly make decisions on their own.

Tuckman then adds a final phase of ‘procrastination’ to acknowledge that teams, especially project teams, usually disband once project goals are completed.

Team Building Techniques

Team building activities are carried out to develop loyalty and trust which is an important foundation for getting the most effective results from the matrix project team. Team building isn’t just about making events ‘fun’, though that’s part of it. It’s also not just about understanding team members through personality assessments, again, that’s part of that. The most effective team building involves combining various tools and techniques.

– Kick off meeting – a new project should start with a kick off meeting so that the project objectives, roles and responsibilities and how the project fits into the overall organizational goals are understood. This technique can be used in any type of team, but in a matrix project team that has gathered staff from a variety of different sources, this is especially important because the team does not have an established context for the project.

– Team agreement – Teams that know how to work together are more likely to be effective and efficient. Making a deal can help in this process. Collaboratively establishing ground rules for how the team will operate will provide clarity to the team and will facilitate communication on issues such as boundaries, responsibilities, and team member behavior. The functional team has established this through the use of departmental policies and procedures. However for newly formed matrix project teams that do not establish operating rules as part of their formal organizational structure, team agreement is an important aspect of building an effective team.

– Definition of delivery process – Understanding how work is to be done makes it easier for teams to work together. Functional teams usually have processes for delivering work that are defined as part of departmental rules. Given that the nature of each project may be different, a matrix project team usually has no stated initial rules for delivering work.

For example, if the software development team is the element that the development life cycle (waterfall, agile, etc) follows to achieve project objectives, confusion and lack of productivity by the team can occur. Clearly defining and establishing a process that is understood by all players in the newly formed matrix team is critical to the success of the project.

– Conflict management- Skilled managers will understand that conflict occurs in any team and will take the initiative to establish a clear process for managing it. This provides clarity to the team in the event of a conflict. Newly created matrix project teams will find this very helpful as teams are not used to working together and will need to navigate this as part of the process of maturing as a team. This will also help the team move more quickly through the ‘attack’ phase of group development.

– Personality assessment – An effective way to understand other members of the newly formed matrix project team is through team building sessions using personality assessments.

This can be a simple and quick assessment, such as the Personality Profile: Shape Test, or a more complex assessment that includes Strengthsfinder, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, FIRO-B, Kiersey Temperament Sorter, etc. Regardless of the specific assessment performed, results can carry significant team value in determining how team members can be best utilized, how project managers can best communicate with specific team members to get the best results, and how people want to be managed so that they are efficient. and productive.

For matrix project teams, personality assessments can help streamline the process by which the team matures and learns to work together to get the project’s required results.

– Team building events – Group events encourage positive team dynamics to develop and mature. In a matrix environment, the development of loyalty and trust is critical to the stability and effectiveness of the matrix structure.

Involving people in activities outside the project allows them to get to know each other in a more relaxed atmosphere and is quite effective in building team spirit. In addition, it allows people to find ways to work together in a non-stressful environment that can then be brought back into the workplace. Some of the options are:

– Social events – participating in social activities can create a team spirit that encourages people to support each other as they work

– Team building ‘games’ – building or creating something outside of a project can generate friendships that can then be carried back into the workday

– End of project celebration – to recognize the success of the project meeting the objectives

– Executive Coaching – Individual and group coaching can be an effective tool in all types of organizational structures. Executive Coaches can facilitate team development, as well as individual leadership development, by focusing on
– Regular status updates – There are various ways that status can be collected and communicated. This is a natural activity in functional teams, as members are usually familiar with established status reporting routines and may be clearer about their role in that structure. For newly formed matrix project teams, it is important that team members feel that they belong to the team, and can see how their progress affects overall progress towards goals. Example:

– Weekly status meeting

– One on one session

– Project dashboard

– Project status report

– Clear Assignment of Tasks – Appropriately assigning relevant, achievable and challenging work to individuals is important in all types of teams. In newly formed matrix project teams, it is very important to clarify this, as clarity is not always provided by the structure itself, as in functional teams.

Clearly defining tasks and explaining how the roles of team members in completing project tasks contribute to project success, especially in the early stages of team development, are critical to team effectiveness and productivity.

– Recognition and appreciation – it’s always important to recognize people who go above and beyond, and in a matrix project team, this can feel very rewarding to team members, if it’s taken both the individual and the team itself some pretty big work to get to the point smooth operation together to achieve project goals. This can be in the form of a simple thank you note, certificate, bonus, gift card, etc.

The techniques described can be used in any type of organizational structure, but are essential for building loyalty and productivity within a matrix team. In a functional environment, loyalty levels are created based on the structure itself, because there is only one focus for team member loyalty.

In a matrix environment, team members have multiple loyalties and may be more loyal to their home team than to the project team. In addition, projects often have aggressive deadlines so it is very important for the project team to be efficient, effective and productive as quickly as possible.

The technique described above can be mapped to the Tuckerman phase, as described below.


– Start a meeting

– Set team deal

– Personality assessment

– Definition of Goals

– Delete task tasks


– Definition of delivery process

– Develop a Conflict Management approach

– Executive training

– Goal Reinforcement

– Delete task tasks

– Regular Status Updates


– Goal Reinforcement

– Executive training

– Team building events

– Delete task tasks

– Regular Status Updates


– Regular Status Updates

– Recognition and Awards


– Plan project celebrations/social events

– Conducting post-project lessons/reviews


In short, team structures, even in well-structured organizations, are inherently complex. Today’s matrix organization makes that complexity even greater. Matrix project team members have multiple loyalties and if the team is not cohesive, these divided loyalties can be harmful to project success.

There are a variety of team building techniques that can be employed to help make teams in a matrix environment more cohesive and successful. Experienced and successful managers and leaders will continually analyze teams, determine which Tuckman phase the team is in, as well as individual needs, so that effective team building techniques can be used appropriately.
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