Human Resources Management

Human Resources Management involves:
  • An integral part of project management is an important function of human resource function i.e. creating recognition and reward system
  • Team members competencies need to be improved and it is a critical responsibility of a project manager
  • Executing process group primarily includes Human Resource Management
  • Human Resource activities done by a project manager requires documentation and is formal in nature
  • Formal roles and responsibilities are to be assigned to project team members to assist the project manager in effective project execution
  • Project is coordinated by the project manager and planned by the teams
  • Resource availability must be continually confirmed by the project manager
  • The project team consists of a project manager, project management team and other team members of a project. A project management team includes some of the team members to help assist the project manager with project management activities.
  • Team building activities are a required part of project management. A project manager formally plans team building activities in advance.
  • The project manager must track team member performance
The human resources responsibilities increase as the size of the project team increases. The human resource management process involves:
  • Identification of team members
  • Defining roles and responsibilities
  • Creation of reward systems
  • Improving team member’s performance
  • Track team and individual performances
Clear identification of roles and responsibilities of management, team members, and other stakeholders on the project, using tools such as responsibility assignment matrix is a key activity of a project manager.

A sponsor is the one who provides financial resources for the project. A sponsor could also be a customer, senior management, others. Management serves as a protector of the project.

The list of responsibilities of project managers is:
  • Determine the resources required for the project
  • Negotiate with resource managers for optimal available resources
  • Create a project team directory
  • Create project job descriptions for team members and other stakeholders
  • Make sure all roles and responsibilities are clearly assigned on the project
  • Understand the team member’s needs for training related to their work on the project, and make sure they get the training
  • Create a formal plan covering such topics as how the team will be involved in the project and what roles they will perform – a human resource plan
  • Insert reports of team member’s performance into their official company employment record
  • Send out letters of commendation to team members and their bosses
  • Make sure team member’s needs are taken care of
  • Create recognition and reward system – described in Human Resource Plan section
One of the outcomes of develop human resource plan is defining the roles and responsibilities of team members. The Develop Human Resource Plan process involves:

There are multiple ways to record and communicate roles and responsibilities including Responsibility assignment matrix, organization breakdown structures, resource breakdown structures, position descriptions. Additionally, any roles and responsibilities expected of the team members need to be clearly assigned, in addition to the project activities the team members are expected to complete.

This chart is used for cross-referencing team members with activities or work packages they are to accomplish.

RACI CHART (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, and Inform)
This chart is a form of responsibility assignment matrix that defines roles assignment more clearly than the matrix discussed earlier.

RACI Matrix

Another tool that can be used in place of RACI Matrix is known as ARMI Matrix where A stands for Approver, R – Resource, M – Member and I – Interested Party.

ARMI Matrix

Position descriptions are like job descriptions but only created for project work. They are usually documented in text format.

Position (Role) Descriptions

A human resource plan is an output of Develop Human Resource Plan. The human resources planning requires a plan for when and how team members are added, managed, controlled, and released from the project.

The Human Resource Plan includes:
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Project Organization Charts
  • Staffing Management Plan
Staffing Management Plan is a part of Human Resource plan and includes:
  • Plan for staff acquisition
  • Resource calendars
  • Staff release plan
  • Staff training needs
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Compliance
  • Safety
Planning a system to reward resources can be a significant effort.

A project manager must be able to motivate the team, especially when working on a project in a matrix organization. Rewards and recognition is one of the most effective way to motivate and gain cooperation from your team regardless of the reporting relationship.

The reward system might include several actions such as:
  • Say “thank you” more often
  • Award prizes such as Team Member of the Month recognition
  • Award prizes for performance
  • Recommend team members for raises or choice work assignments
  • Send notes to team member’s managers about great performance
  • Plan milestone parties or other celebrations
  • Acquire training for team members
  • Adjust project to assign people to activities they have been waiting to work on or remove them from disliked activities as a reward
Creating a reward and recognition system requires planning in advance of starting the project work.

Acquiring the project team involves the following:
  • There could be some resources who are preassigned to the project. Knowing those resources and confirming their availability is required
  • Best possible resources should be negotiated by the project manager
  • Hiring new employees
  • Working with virtual teams
  • Managing risks of scarce resources
Some resources are assigned in advance to the project. A project manager has to work with these resources.

Some resources may have to be acquired through negotiation. To negotiate resources from within the organization, the project manager should:
  • Know the needs of the project and its priorities within the organization
  • Be able to describe the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to the resource manager by assisting the project manager
  • Do not ask for the best resources if the project does not need them
  • Be able to prove why the project requires the stated quality and quantity of resources. Use of network diagram and project schedule is helpful
  • Work with resource manager to deal with situations as they arise
Virtual teams do not meet face to face. Thus, you can have the best of team members from different parts of the world.

The “halo effect” is something to be aware of when dealing with team members. There can be a tendency to rate the team members high or low on all factors due to the impression of a high or a low rating on some other specific factor.

Develop Project team is a part of project execution. The process generally results in decreased turn-over, improved individual knowledge and skills, and improved teamwork.

Team building activities help the project team work as a cohesive group working for the best interest of the project and thus enhances the project performance. A few things to know include:
  • It is a project manager’s job to guide, manage, and improve the interactions of team members
  • Trust and cohesiveness amongst team members should be improved by the project manager
  • All project activities should include team-building activities
  • Throughout the life of the project, team building activities require concerted efforts and continued focus
  • WBS creation is a team-building tool
  • Team building should start early in the life of the project
Team building is also a science. There are formally identified stages of team formation and development. The stages are:
  • Forming; People are brought together as a team
  • Storming; There are disagreements as people learn to work together
  • Norming; Team members begin to build good working relationships
  • Performing; The team becomes efficient and works effectively together
  • Adjourning; The project ends and the team is disbanded
Team building activities can include:
  • Taking classes together
  • Milestone parties
  • Holiday and birthday celebrations
  • Outside-of-work trips
  • Creating the WBS
  • Getting everyone involved in some planning exercises
Training opportunities for team members help improve their skills. They also decreases overall project cost and schedule by increasing efficiency. Conducting training is a cost to the project and should be paid by the project. It should be documented in the human resource plan.

Ground rules help establish standards and expectations for the team. The rules can address:
  • Honesty in all communications
  • Conflict resolution methods
  • Escalation procedures
  • Whether it is allowable for people to interrupt with another team member
  • Acceptable ways to interrupt when someone is talking during the meeting
  • Consequences of late attendance
  • Rules for taking phone calls, email etiquettes, reading text messages during the meeting
Setting rules can help eliminate conflicts or problems with the team during the project because everyone knows what is expected of them. For virtual teams, ground rules are especially important.

A project manager might try to arrange for the entire team in each city to have offices together in one place or one room. This is called co-location and helps improve communication, decrease the impact of conflict (since all the parties are right there), and improves identify for the project team and for management in a matrix organization. A war room is a central location for project coordination. A war room is used for creating WBS, network diagram, schedule, etc.

As defined in the human resource plan, the project manager appraises performance and gives out team-member-appropriate rewards and recognition in the Develop Project Team process.

The project manager completes formal and informal team performance assessments as part of developing the project team. These assessments evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of the team as a whole.

Manage project team involves day to day management of people. Developing the team is different from managing the project team. It involves:
  • Encouraging good communication
  • Working with other organizations
  • Using negotiation skills
  • Using leadership skills
  • Observing what is happening
  • Using an issue log
  • Keeping in touch
  • Completing project performance appraisals
  • Making good decisions
  • Influencing the stakeholders
  • Being a leader
  • Actively looking for and helping resolve conflicts that the team members cannot resolve on their own
A little attention to things such as tone of emails, phone conversations can tell us what’s happening in the project (even for virtual teams). A project manager should continue to talk to people instead of just looking at the reports to understand the nerve of the project.

Evaluation of employee’s performance by their supervisors is termed as Project Performance Appraisal. These days a 360-degree review has started taking place, where feedback from supervisors, subordinates and even co-workers is included. It helps in providing a clear picture of actual performance.

Issue logs help project managers effectively control issues so they do not impact the project. It is used to manage team members and stakeholders.

One of the major difficulties for a project manager is getting people to cooperate and perform. This is a major issue in a matrix organization. The different types of power for the project managers include:
  • Formal (legitimate): This power is based on the position of the project manager
  • Reward: This power stems from giving rewards
  • Penalty (Coercive): This power comes from the ability to penalize team members
  • Expert: This power comes from being the technical expert or even the project management expert
  • Referent: Referent is the power of charisma and fame. This power comes from another person liking the project manager, respecting him, or wanting to be like him.
A project manager needs to use multiple leadership approaches throughout the life cycle of a project. The term is called “situational leadership”. It refers to using different leadership styles, based on the people and project work he or she is dealing with.

The leadership and management styles include:
  • Directing; This style involves telling others what to do
  • Facilitating; When facilitating, project manager coordinates inputs of others
  • Coaching; In coaching, the manager helps others achieve their goals
  • Supporting; A supporting leadership style means the project manager provides assistance along the way
  • Autocratic; This is a top-down approach. Here, the manager has the power to do whatever he or she wants
  • Consultative; This is a bottom-up approach. It uses influence to achieve results. The manager obtains others’ opinions and acts as the servant for the team
  • Consultative-Autocratic; In this style, the manager solicits input from team members, but retains the decision-making authority for him or herself
  • Consensus; This style involves problem solving in a group, and making decisions based on group agreement
  • Delegating; With a delegating style, the manager establishes goals and then gives the project team sufficient authority to complete the work
  • Bureaucratic; This style focuses on following procedures exactly
  • Charismatic; Charismatic managers energize and encourage their team in performing project work
  • Democratic or participative; This style involves encouraging team participation in the decision-making process
  • Laissez-faire; The French term “laissez-faire” has been translated as meaning “allow to act”, “allow to do”, or “leave alone”. A laissez-faire manager is not directly involved in the work of the team, but manages and consults as necessary. This style can be appropriate with a highly skilled team
  • Analytical; This style depends on the manager’s own technical knowledge and ability. Analytical managers often make the technical decisions for the project, which they communicate to their teams
  • Driver; A manager with a driver style is constantly giving directions. His or her competitive attitude drives the team to win
  • Influencing; The style emphasizes teamwork, team building, and team decision making. These managers work with their teams to influence project implementation
Conflict is INEVITABLE because of the following reasons:
  • Requirements of many stakeholders
  • Limited power of the project manager
  • Necessity of obtaining resources from functional managers
Conflicts can be avoided by:
  • Informing the team of: Exactly where the project is headed, Project constraints and objectives, The content of the project charter, All key decisions and Changes
  • Clearly assigning work without ambiguity or overlapping responsibilities
  • Making work assignments interesting and challenging
  • Following good project management and project planning practices
The seven sources of conflict in the order of their frequency are:
  1. Schedule
  2. Project priorities
  3. Resources
  4. Technical opinions
  5. Administrative procedures
  6. Cost
  7. Personality
Conflict is best resolved by those involved in the conflict. The key conflict resolution techniques are:
  • Confronting (Problem Solving): Confronting means solving the real problem so that the problem goes away. Confronting leads to a win-win situation.
  • Compromising: This is lose-lose situation, since no party gets everything. This technique involves finding solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to both parties.
  • Withdrawal (Avoidance): In this technique, the parties retreat or postpone a decision on a problem. Withdrawal is not usually the BEST choice for resolving conflict.
  • Smoothing (Accommodating): This technique emphasizes agreement rather than differences of opinion
  • Collaborating: In this technique, the parties try to incorporate multiple viewpoints in order to lead to consensus
  • Forcing: This technique involves pushing one viewpoint at the expense of another
Problem solving method could include:
  1. Define the root problem
  2. Analyze the problem
  3. Identify solutions
  4. Pick solution
  5. Implement solution
  6. Review solution and validate improvement
Employees who believe their efforts will lead to effective performance and who expect to be rewarded for their accomplishments will remain productive as rewards meet their expectations.

In arbitration, neutral party hears and resolves a dispute.

Some employees receive special rewards, such as bonus, gain-share, good offices, etc.

There are “standard” benefits formally given to employees, such as educational benefits, insurance, and profit sharing.

Here are four motivation theories a project manager needs to know:

McGregor believed that all workers fit into one of two groups, X and Y.
Theory X – managers who accept this theory believe that people need to be watched every minute. They believe employees are incapable, avoid responsibility, and avoid work whenever possible.
Theory Y – managers who accept this theory believe that people are willing to work without supervision, and want to achieve. They believe employees can direct their own efforts.

Maslow’s pyramid (also called hierarchy of needs) include physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs.

Maslow's Pyramid (Hierarchy of Needs)

This theory states that people are most motivated by one of three needs listed in the table. A person falling into one category would be managed differently than a person falling into another category.

Herzberg’s Theory deals with hygiene factors and motivating agents.
Poor hygiene factors may destroy motivation, but improving them, under most circumstances, will not improve motivation. Hygiene factors are not sufficient to motivate people.
Examples of hygiene factors are:
  • Working conditions
  • Salary
  • Personal life
  • Relationships at work
  • Security
  • Status
What motivates people is the work itself, including such things as:
  • Responsibility
  • Self-actualization
  • Professional growth
  • Recognition
This brings us to the end of the Human Resource Management chapter. The work that is done as part of creating the human resource plan on a project and acquiring, developing, and managing the team greatly impacts the next knowledge area, communications management.

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