In our October Focus On column, we explored the CDRH’s radical new approach to spotting medical device safety issues before they become problems. The CDRH has reorganized its safety reporting methods to involve every employee throughout the center, by incorporating Matrix organization elements.

A Matrix design places staff members from different departments under new supervisors who oversee a specific part of a particular project. The unique organizational structure gets its name from a Matrix table, where all elements are represented in both rows and columns. Employees continue to report to their existing manager, but also work closely with other project managers who oversee aspects of a particular project.

A Matrix approach is ideal for special, temporary, or ongoing projects that rely on cooperation from multiple departments. In a hospital, for example, organizing staff into a Matrix structure may be suitable for researching, purchasing, and setting up new equipment, or for special projects requiring close interaction between biomeds and IT.

Have you used a Matrix reporting structure for any project? Any tips on the best way to organize it? What works for keeping everyone on track during special projects—and, likewise, what doesn’t?  

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