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PMP Acquire project team

The acquire project team process takes place within the executing process group, and is therefore focused on implementing the human resource plan with the intent of getting the right people working on the project. By the right people, we mean individuals with the right knowledge skills and experience that are available to carry out the work assignments within a given time frames.

As the project traverses through the various stages or phases of the project, it is highly likely that individuals with different skills sets will be required, and therefore the acquire project team process will continue to be performed whenever new staff are needed to be added to the project.

Acquire project team will include negotiating and influencing to make sure that the right number of individuals with the appropriate level of knowledge skills and experience, are assigned to the team, and this may include both internal and external resources. If it is the latter, then the procurement management plan should be referenced to ensure such external resources are obtained in an appropriate manner.

The code of ethics and professional conduct reminds us that project managers do not discriminate against others based upon as a minimum, their gender, age, race, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation.

For a large project it is quite normal that you would starve the team while executing the project, but remember that for a small project, those responsible for planning the work are highly likely to also be doing the work, in which case acquiring the project team will occur only within the planning phase.

There are three inputs to the acquire project team process:

Project management plan

The human resource plan contained within the project management plan is the main focus for this particular process as it will document when resources will be needed, how long they will be needed, and details of the roles and responsibilities for each.

It is important to remember that the project environment and availability of particular resources will place constraints on your human resource plan, in addition other aspects such as your culture, and whether your organisation is a matrix or financially driven environment. Your organizations human resource policies and procedures will need to be adhered to.

As such, the main components of the human resource plan relevant to acquire project team are:

Roles and responsibilities. As you might expect this describes each role, authority, responsibility, and relevant competency for each individual or role on the project team.

Project organization charts. This is used to describe the reporting relationships within the same and is often represented as a hierarchy chart or a responsibility assignment matrix (RAM).

acquire project team – The staffing management plan

Staff acquisition, describing how new team members will be introduced both internally and externally.

Resource calendars, which identify where each role is plans to be used as well as the individual’s availability. Often a planning to all can be helpful here in setting up an individual’s availability in the form of a histogram.

Staff release plan, describing how the members will be released from the team.

Training needs identifies segments of the work that will require some form of training.

Recognition and rewards defines the criteria for such reward and recognition.

Compliance lays down any licensing or regulatory requirements.

Safety describes any applicable safety policies or rules.

Enterprise environmental factors

This input picked up on some aspects already mentioned above such as your organisational infrastructure, values, work ethic, laws and regulations, and in addition your organizations appetite for risk.

Organisational process assets

With regard to human resources these would focus on organisational policies procedures and guidelines, knowledge and competence bases, and any historical examples from previous similar projects.

There are three main outputs from the acquire project team process:

acquire project team – The project staff assignments

As you would expect, start assignments are the main output from this process where each role that have been identified, now has at least one resource assigned to it. These assignments may happen many times throughout the project, and it should be remembered that assigning a role to a task may not be necessary until much later within the project timeframe.

acquire project team – Resource calendars

These are set out the amount of time each individual is assigned to work on one or more activities within a project as it is important that forecasted time for each individual must be negotiated and agreed with their relevant functional or operational manager.

acquire project team – Project management plan updates

The human resource plan will require various revisions all updates as each staff member is assigned. Most importantly it must be remembered that I projects work really does exactly to plan, and this may include for example requested changes or corrective actions. As a result of this issue and resource plan will normally be updated many times throughout a project.

There are four tools used within the acquire project team process:

Pre-assignments

You may well have free assigned resources as a result of bidding on a proposal and such resources needing to be agreed as part of the bid. The logical sequence here however is no need to define the roles and then assign appropriate resources to each along with clarification of the responsibilities.

Acquisition

This refers to the need to look outside of the organisation for resources which cannot or should not be provided by the host organisation. The project team may be allocated or exists within a tight matrix, the latter meaning that the team members are physically located within the same part of the organisation.

Negotiation

It is fairly typical the project managers wouldn’t have to negotiate for their resources either within their organisation with resource owners, or externally. The responsibility assignment matrix (RAM), will be used as a reference point here.

The key driver is to find a resource with the right level of skill knowledge and experience to carry out the work. Obtaining someone who is more than competent may cost more and also run the risk of the individual feeling bored and undervalued. At the other extreme you may have someone who is not yet competent in carrying out the work, resulting in schedule and budget overruns.

Virtual teams

This refers to individuals who do not work face to face. It may also be that a virtual team is established in which case they would not normally work physically with each other and in such a case communication is key to make sure that the team performs in a cohesive manner.

Typically, electronic tools will also be used to communicate such as email, web conferencing, Internet websites, and various other information sharing and collaboration software and systems.

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.