I'd like some feedback from the forum on my specific situation re O3s, which is complicated by our off-normal organizational structure.

My company has embraced the concept of Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) and has implemented them for their project management structures. For those not familiar with IPTs, think of a matrix where the functional homeroom side owns the people, processes, and tools, but no budget; the IPT side owns the budget and statement of work, but has no formal adminstrative or developmental responsibility for the people.

As an IPT lead, I have no "direct reports" in the traditional sense; I don't hire or fire anyone, and don't have control over promotions or raises. I do get to lead the technical direction of the team and am responsible for team performance as the statement of work owner. I also write the majority of everyone's performance review.

I've been treating my 4 technical leads as my "direct reports". The team also has another 19 members that perform the technical work and who take direction of the technical leads.

Now my questions:
1) Should I limit my concept of "direct reports" to the leads, or expand the definition to include the other 19 members? I don't want to step on the lead's toes by micromanaging their teams, but there are some of the 19 who desperately need "adjusting feedback". 23 is also a large number of people to do weekly O3s with. My current plan is to get the leads comfortable with the O3, feedback, and coaching models, then show them the value of using these techniques with THEIR teams...

2) While I don't have formal adminstrative or developmental responsibilities for any of my team members, I do have a good working relationship with the functional managers. I've been suggesting some developmental goals during our recent goal-setting sessions where I think the training can make my team more effective. The issue gets kind of cloudy it comes to the O3 side of things, especially when O3s delve into career development. Should I bring the functional managers in on the O3 concept and how I'm using them? Again, I don't want to alientate the functionals and have them think that I'm trying to "manage their people's careers" or stick my nose into things outside of executing the project SOW. Some of the functionals are nervous about anything out of the ordinary (read "comfortable"), and "IPTs just don't do that".

Any feedback on special considerations in applying the MT concepts to this org structure would be appreciated. I have found that the MT toolset is VERY applicable regardless of org structure; people are still people and performance is still performance.

bflynn's picture

Direct answers:

1) Manage your team. If you try to manage people not on your project, your effectiveness will be impaired. Remember that O3s work because the 1/2 hour you invest pays off in less work for you. Investing a whole day to do O3s with people who don't contribute to your work isn't very effective. And, it would look bad to try to manage your peer's directs.

You can use feedback very sparingly and I mean once or twice in a month. Concentrate on your team. Word will get around and you'll have your pick of resources.

2) Tread lightly. You can suggest, but I would do it carefully and pay close attention for any sign of pushback. You don't want to turn them off the idea before it starts. One of the best suggestions would be to do your job with your team and show people how this works.

Its a little general, but I hope it helps.


roger_reiss's picture

Thanks for the suggestions, Brian. I'm glad to see that someone else recommends caution when approaching the line where my responsibilities end and the functional manager's begin.

As to the first question, I was probably unclear on the organization (it was VERY confusing to me as well when I was first introduced to it). My team consists [u]only[/u] of contributors that belong to other functional managers. I don't have administrative responsibilities for these contributors, but they [u]do[/u] contribute to my performance, and I alone am responsible for the team's technical performance. They are "on my project", just not "in my functional department". I have seen several posts on the forums where a PM has a mix of directs and assigned resources working on his/her project, but I haven't seen any where [u]all[/u] of the team members are assigned resources.

As a side note, we are still trying to sort out the entire responsibility split between the IPTs and the functions. Some examples: Who is responsible for ensuring standard process compliance? Who is called on the carpet when the performance review document is late getting turned in to HR? Who holds the budget and award authority for performance-based incentives? The debate rages on...

bflynn's picture

I think I understood the structure - I've been there often enough myself. Perhaps I misused the term "direct", but when they're on your project, I see them as direct reports and you should treat them that way.

The other questions :) That is the mystery of a matrix organization. These issues are not just yours, but I'm afraid that I don't have any useful suggestions to add.


roger_reiss's picture

Brian, your clarification is spot-on (I did misinterpret your use of "direct", and it was my error), and it forms the basis for my current application of the Tools: if they're on my team, it is in my best interest to grow them and make them more effective in any way possible, even if it skirts the line into the functional's responsibility. The value will become evident at the end of my project, when I return the resources in a better state than when I received them.

Thanks for the input. As a relatively new manager, I appreciate the validation.

Mark's picture
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My apologies for my delay.

Do the one on ones with those 4. Don't add their directs. Over time, maybe some of those with whom you're doing O3s will start them as well. People learn best about management when they benefit from that which we would have them engage in.

Again, I regret my absence.