In my division (of a very large company) it seems common that someone's line manager is also one's project manager. Not always but often. This seems counterintuitive to me as if I have an issue with my project manager, then I report it to my line manager?

This is in France - I have been working in other countries where I would have found that crazy. But now I wonder what is normal or acceptable.

Edit: maybe an addition to define the terms as I understand them (I might be wrong)

  • line manager: the person in charge of personal objectives, how I fit in the division, what projects I will work on
  • project manager: the person in charge of my day-to-day tasks
  • Can't you raise issues with HR or your manager's manager if they are giving you trouble?
    – user34587
    Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 14:49
  • Generally, if you have a problem with someone and you address it to someone else, you're escalating. Many problems can be solved without escalating. May I ask what the nature of the problem is? Maybe you can actually address it to the same person in this instance. And, welcome to the Workplace!
    – rath
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 10:29

4 Answers 4


Yes, it frequently happens this way.

There's lots of reasons for it. A company may be small enough that neither of those jobs is enough to occupy a person full time. Some companies like to keep reporting structures small and simple - the person who assesses your performance is also the person who handles you day to day activity. Reporting to two people sometimes creates unclear boundaries. If most of your work is project-based then your line manager may end up with very little to do, especially if projects are long and ongoing, such as when each project is basically "produce the next version of our product".

There are still plenty of ways to handle problems that may arise with your boss. Talking to HR and talking to your boss' boss are two of the most common


"Commonplace" is a tough metric to put a measure on. I have worked in companies that have used both models successfully.

The scenario you describe with separate managers, I have heard referred to as Matrix Management. This has worked well when the projects were short lived and individual contributors moved fluidly from project to project, where each project has its own subject matter expert. In this model, each contributor has a single manager watching over their performance as a whole so the individual project managers can focus on their deliverables.

For companies where projects are longer lived, the Matrix model can create unnecessary overhead since there will not be numerous sources of evaluation that a single person needs to coalesce. The project manager will already have full insight in to the performance and activities of each project team member.

Whether or not it is commonplace is more likely to be a function of how the company works and the scale of projects that contributors might work on. Each company would have its own best fit. Either model can be very successful and both are frequently used.


In my US-Midwest experience no, but I have seen many project managers be promoted to managers and directors of development groups over technical people.

Good luck.


In my experience, it's not uncommon in Japan, US, Germany and UK.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .