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Training Teams in Managing Projects in a Matrix Structure

[+] Author Affiliations
Lior Davidovitch, Avy Shtub

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Avi Parush

Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Tom Hewett

Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Paper No. ESDA2008-59045, pp. 487-490; 4 pages
  • ASME 2008 9th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis
  • Volume 4: Fatigue and Fracture; Fluids Engineering; Heat Transfer; Mechatronics; Micro and Nano Technology; Optical Engineering; Robotics; Systems Engineering; Industrial Applications
  • Haifa, Israel, July 7–9, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: International
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4838-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3827-7
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Projects are performed in different kinds of organizations: functional structure, project-based structure or matrix structure. The matrix organization is a combination of the functional organization and the “pure” project organization. In a matrix organization, there are usually two chains of command. The chain dealing with issues related to the functional division and the chain dealing with issues related to the project. Due to the split authority between project managers and functional managers, management becomes much more complicated. The cooperation between the project managers is vital for the matrix organization to perform well. Therefore, training teams of project managers in the matrix structure environment is required. A new method for training teams of project managers is presented. The proposed method is based on a real-time simulation called the Project Team Builder (PTB). PTB simulates a dynamic, stochastic multi-project management environment. A project management course for graduate students in systems engineering utilized PTB. The students used the simulator in a multi-user multi-project mode. A class of undergraduate engineering students participated in the same experiment as a control group. The 132 participants were divided into teams of three students (44 teams) which performed repetitive simulation-runs. Three factors were investigated: 1. Previous experience, 2. History recording mechanism, and 3. Team debriefing process. The findings indicate that for the initial learning phase, and for the transfer to different scenario phase, these three independent factors affect the performances. Furthermore, the interactions between the experience and history factors; between the experience and debriefing factors; and between the history and debriefing factors were all significant. Based on these findings a new paradigm for simulation-based team-learning model in a matrix organization structure is presented. The new model includes integration of history mechanism and debriefing procedure in the Kolb’s Team Learning Experience model.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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