I run a large Public Sector ERP project. The project is made up of
over 80 consultants from our consulting team. Part of my
responsibilities include reporting relationships with junior team
members (independent of the project relationships), maybe a total of
25 (some are on my project). The structure of the project team has me
with ultimate responsibility, but three members of the PMO report
directly to me as well. I plan to initiate one on ones with the three
project direct reports, but would like your advice on the 20-30 others
that are aligned with me. The complicating factor is that 10-12 are
also on the project. Could it be a mistake to have one on ones with
those 10-12 and my direct project 3, without including all others? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

bflynn's picture

These matrix organizations can be difficult to negotiate. I've seen them done all kinds of different ways.

Hold O3s with those that you have a "solid line" direct report relationship with, in this case, I believe the 3 PMs. These are your administrative responsibilities and you are responsible for developing them. O3s are specific meetings that use the 10-10-10 meeting agenda discussed somewhere in podcasts 3-5.

Should you include the 10-12 others? Probably not. First, they should have their own admin manager who does O3s with them. Remember that O3s are not just relationships, you take in coaching, mini performance reviews, career development, etc. These aren't quite the same topics that you'd want to talk to project members about.

That doesn't mean you can't meet with the fact, I would argue that you should meet with each of them at least once a week. But think more status meeting than O3. And, you could probably meet with several people at a time, rather than a single or getting the whole team together.


trandell's picture

You also want to be careful with your contractors vis-a-vis U.S. employment law. It sounds like you are in the U.S. and it is not clear if you work for the contracting company or you are the customer of that company, so forgive the assumption if I am wrong. Sometime ago a group of consultants successfully sued Microsoft because they were treated as employees but not compensated the same. Thus the law was changed. I'm not sure if this applies across all companies, but we have to be careful where I work. No official career or professional direction allowed. We keep it strictly about job performance.

Based on how many people you are considering a regular meeting with, here are my thoughts on how I would handle that situation.

1. Definitely hold regular O3s with your lead PMs. No ambiguity here.

2. Break up the others into a few groups
- Meet with weekly - People with strong potential, key to project, top performer or in trouble
- Meet with bi-weekly or monthly individually - People with strong potential but not key to project. Worth the effort.
- Meet with never, maaaybe monthly individually - Great people, but not key to the project and not standout performers.

3. Break up the others into a few groups.
- Meet with weekly - Same top tier folks I mentioned above
- Meet with in groups - Create groups of 4 or 5 people you meet with bi-weekly or monthly as a group.

Unless you truly have the luxury of these folks doing the day-to-day work and doing it exceptionally well, I do not see how you can realistically meet with all of them every week and not negatively impact other parts of your role.

Hope this helps.