The PMBOK human resource knowledge area includes four processes, develop human resource plan, acquire project team, develop project team, and manage project team. As you might expect, the human resource processes cover basic management human resource theory, psychology and organisational behavior. The purpose of management is to lead and motivate the human resource team.
Everyone within the project must have a role and associated responsibilities, and it is the project managers responsibility to define the roles in the first place (as carried out in the develop human resource plan process) and to provide positive influence to everyone working within the project. Because projects normally take place within a matrix organization the main task of the project manager is to motivate and persuade people by using various motivational theories, leadership styles, and differing forms of power.
The develop human resource plan process describes how the project manager will staff, manage, team build, assess and improve the project team, and therefore this process is executed early within the project and is performed iteratively and interactively with other aspects of planning such as time, cost and scope.
Activity resource requirements.
This is the main develop human resource plan input as it provides information on what resources will be needed to complete the work on each of the activities within the project. When carrying out the time management planning processes, general estimates were created for human resource needs, and they will now be more thoroughly evaluated and estimated within this process.
Enterprise environmental factors.
This will provide valuable information such as the organisational structure and infrastructure of your company with values and work ethic. These provide vital background when performing the develop human resource plan process. It may also provide marketplace information such as the provision of human resource skills, for example from local recruitment or contracting agencies.
Organisational process assets.
These will include aspects such as examples for previous similar resource project plans, organisational policies procedures and guidelines with regard to human resources, or special corporate or competences for the provision of key knowledge skills and experience for the project.
There is just one main output from develop human resource plan:
develop human resource plan – Human resource plan.
The structure of this important document consists of:
The roles and responsibilities section will define each role than is needed on the project, provide their title, and describe their level of authority, responsibilities, and their knowledge, skills and level of competency needed in order to carry out their role within this project.
develop human resource plan – Organisation charts
These are used as a structural graphical diagram to show the authority and reporting lines within the project.
A key part of the human resource plan is the staffing management plan which describes how and when the project will be staffed, how the staff will be trained (if appropriate), and how and when the staff will be released. The latter is called a release plan, as it is vital that project team members and their functional managers know how the staff will be released from the project.
Other aspects may include safety and compliance needs.
develop human resource plan – The resource histogram.
This forms part of the human resource plan and shows the resource usage for a given period of time, and is key when considering the availability of staff and when they will be needed:
This graph is normally created as an output from assigning resources to activities and scheduling as it describes the resource usage for a given period of time. To problems can be spotted early and fixed here, one is whether resources are available, and two is when looking at peak human resource periods.
These can be problematical to the project manager as they are more difficult to manage and can increase management risk of completing activities and the schedule on time. You may remember the ‘S’ curve that described the characteristic nature of the work and spend profile across a project:
It is natural for the work effort to start slowly on the project, to peak during the middle of a project and again to slow down as the project comes to a close. This peak rate of work and cost during the middle of a project is where most resources are being used within a given time frame and hence will show a peak of the resource histogram.
There are three main tools within the develop a resource planning process:
Organization charts and position descriptions.
For the PMP exam, you will need to know three main formats:
The first is a hierarchical and is normally shown as a simple chart starting at the top with the sponsor, and the project manager with lower level arms knowing describing the specialist teams that will be needed within the project.
The type which is used most often is called the responsibility assignments matrix (RAM). These can be shown as a table with the left hand column listing the various work packages, and the remaining columns describing the various roles.
Another type that is often used is called the RACI chart, because it describes within each cell, whether the resource is given an ‘R’ for responsible, ‘A’ for accountable, ‘C’ for consult, and ‘I’ for inform. Care should be taken to ensure by the only one person is accountable for each work package.
This is simply a document describing the position role within the project, what their responsibilities will be, what the job involves and the qualifications needed to fill such a position. This particular format is particularly useful when recruiting appropriate individuals for roles within the project.
This is the second main outputs of the develop human resource plan process, and describes the communication process with others within your network of contacts. The main purpose here is to gain an understanding of the political and organisational forces that may influence the project.
Teams or groups behave differently than when they work as an individual, and it is vital that the project manager understands how such teams behave. There have been various studies and tools developed to help understand organisational theory, and it is important that the project manager up next themselves familiar with these as they will have a huge positive impact on the project in helping it to be successful.
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David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for US multinationals and now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer brand. In addition, David runs training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management. He currently lives in Spain with his wife Jude.
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