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Acquiring Your PMP Project Team

Acquiring Your PMP Project TeamAcquiring Your PMP Project Team

Acquire project team occurs during the executing process group. “What?” you might say, “That does not make sense!” We know that the team is required to plan the project, and the team is acquired in early planning. The difference here is that the PMBOK® Guide is referring to large projects, where the actual people who will be doing some of the work may not be selected until shortly before the work is to begin. The final team might come from contractors or sellers, or people who will work on the project years into the future and may not even be employed by the company until needed.

You should read the phrase “acquire project team” as “acquire final project team.”

Be very careful. You are looking at an example of one of the reasons people fail the exam.  They are not really managing projects, just short activities, or they only work on small projects. Get your mind around a project that would need to operate this way and take this course with a large project in mind. It will make more sense.

What about your real-world projects? Are you forced to plan the project without a final project team? Do you give the final team members a chance to have input into the project management plan before they start their work? Of course you do, because you are a great project manager and because you realize that people will not and cannot perform as well when told what to do. People want and should have input to what, for how long and when the work can be done.

Acquire the project team does not end on a project. Rarely can one say, “I have all the resources determined and they will not change.” The results or outputs of acquiring the project team include project staff or work assignments, understanding resource availability, and changes to the staffing management plan resulting from acquiring additional staff.

Acquiring your PMP project team involves the following actions

  • Know which resources are pre-assigned
  • Negotiate for the best possible resources
  • Hire new employees
  • Hire resources through the contracting process from outside the performing organizationoutsource
  • Understand the possibilities and problems with using virtual teams teams made up of people who never or rarely meet.

Enterprise Environmental Factors Enterprise environmental factors related to acquire project team include who is available, do they work well together, do they want to work on the project and how much do they cost. Get familiar with this term and its various components, as it is an input to many processes.

Organizational Process Assets The relevant inputs to acquire project team include policies for using staff on projects and hiring procedures. Get familiar with this term and its various components, as it is an input to many processes.

Negotiation You will see negotiation frequently referenced on the exam related to gaining resources from within your organization and in contract situations. To negotiate for resources from within the organization, the project manager should understand the following:

  • Know the needs of your project and its priority within the organization.
  • Be able to express what is in it for the resource manager to assist you.
  • Understand that the resource manager has his own work to do and that he may not gain benefits from supporting your project.
  • Do not ask for the best resources if you do not need them.
  • Be able to prove, by using the tools of project management such as the network diagram and project schedule, why you need better resources if you need them.
  • Use the negotiation as an opportunity to discover from the resource manager what she will need from you in order to manage her own resources.
  • Build a relationship so that you can call on the resource manager’s expertise later in the project if necessary.
  • Work with the resource manager to deal with the situation.

Notice that the discussion above goes way beyond traditional negotiation strategy, and includes elements of professional responsibility. Professional and Social Responsibility is the last lesson in this course, but the topic is discussed throughout.

Halo Effect

The tendency to rate high or low on all factors due to the impression of a high or low rating on some specific factor. This can mean, “You are a great programmer. Therefore, we will make you a project manager and also expect you to be great.” Such actions have a negative impact on the project and the performing organization, yet seem to be common. For the exam, understand that these types of actions should be avoided.

Acquire project team will be included on your exam score sheet as part of Implement the Procurement of Project Resources.

Develop your PMP Project Team

Developing the project team is done as part of executing the project. The results of developing the project team are decreased turnover, improved individual skills and improved teamwork.

How do you develop a team?
The following steps will be helpful:

  •  Hold team building activities from project initiating through project closing
  •  Gain training for team members where needed
  • Establish ground rules for team member behavior
  • Create and give recognitions and rewards
  • Place team members in the same location; co-location

Assess team member performance

Team Building

  • Team building is forming the project team into a cohesive group working for the best interest of the project, in order to enhance project performance. Questions related to team building are very easy and most people can answer them based on their own experience. Make sure you know:

    It is the job of the project manager to guide, manage and improve the interaction of team members

  • The project manager should improve the trust and cohesiveness among the team
  • Project managers should incorporate team building activities into all project activities
  • Team building requires a concerted effort and continued attention throughout the life of the project
  • The WBS creation is a team building tool
  • Team building should start early in the life of the project.

Is there trust on your project? Does the team feel that you are working in the best interest of the project, the company and them, or do they feel like you are working in your own best interest? Trust is gained from the minute you meet each team member for the first time. If the team does not trust you, you cannot easily be successful; the team will not take your direction and follow your instructions, and the project will suffer.

Most project managers never think of trust. I have often had people come to me with project problems and are surprised when I ask them if the team trusts them. “Why?” they ask. Imagine you work in a matrix organization. How do you get people to cooperate if you do not have the ability to give them a raise or a promotion? Trust, as well as reward systems, are the answer.

Trust also has to do with your reputation. Do you know what your reputation is? Everyone you might meet does. Why not ask, so you can deal with any changes you need to make.

Team building activities can include:

  • Milestone parties
  • Holiday and birthday celebrations
  • Outside of work trips
  • Creating the WBS
  • Planning the project by getting everyone involved in some way

Training Any training needed by the team members in order to perform on the project or to enhance their performance should be paid for by the project. The project manager should look for such opportunities not only to help team members, but also to decrease overall project cost and schedule by increasing project efficiencies.

Ground Rules What about trying to do something about the negative impacts of bad behavior? What behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable on your project?  This is the role of ground rules. Some project managers have addressed such things as:

  • When should a team member notify the project manager that she is having difficulty with an activity?
  • How should a team member resolve a conflict with another team member?
  • Is it allowable for people to interrupt each other in a meeting?
  • What is an acceptable way to interrupt someone talking at a meeting?
  • How will you prevent people from taking over a meeting inappropriately or talking too much?
  • Is it allowable for people to join a meeting late? What are the consequences?
  • May people take other phone calls during the meeting?
  • Who is allowed to talk to the vice president?
  • Who is authorized to give direction to contractors?

Setting ground rules is more important when the team is managed virtually.

Co-Location (or War Room)

Though it might not be politically correct to say, much of great project management cannot be done with virtual teams. In other words, teams that never meet face to face will have more conflict, decreased productivity and other impacts that affect the project schedule and cost. Great project managers make an attempt to get the team physically together at least once during planning as a team building effort.

If the team is located in the same city, the project manager might try to arrange for the entire team to have offices together in one place or one room. This is called co-location and has the opposite effect of virtual teams. Co-location helps communication, decreases the impact of conflict (since all parties are right there) and improves project identity for the project team and for management in a matrix organization.

Give Out Recognition and Rewards Here performance is appraised and rewards and recognitions, planned in human resource planning, are given out.

Team Performance Assessment Team performance assessment is done by the project manager to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of the team as a whole. Think of team performance assessment as “team effectiveness.” This may include an analysis of how much team members’ skills have improved, how well the team is performing, interacting and dealing with conflict, and the turnover rate.

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