PMI PMP Project Management Professional – Introducing Project Resource Management
- Section Overview: Project Resource Management
In this section, we’re going to talk about project resource management. This is chapter nine of the PMBOK Guide on Project Resource Management. This used to be called human resource management, but now it’s all resources. So people and physical resources, like equipment and materials and things like that. So in this section, a lot of business to discuss.
We’re going to look at some trends and emerging practices and how does this work in a predictive life cycle or an adaptive environment. So we’ll talk about agile a little bit, preparing for resource planning, and then some organizational theories you need to be familiar with. So some different theories that you’ll want to nail down and be able to recognize the characteristics of these. For your PMP exam, we’re talking about acquiring resources and negotiating for resources and developing the project team versus creating team, building activities.
How do those two go together? Well, they do, and we’ll talk about naturally developing the project team, relying on some general management skills, rewarding the project team, completing assessments, managing the project team, controlling those resources. And then I have an activity for you about managing your project team.
You can see there’s a lot of information here, but really we’re talking about planning for team development and bringing your team together and building that team, and then developing the team and then managing the team. The whole goal here is that we need the team because they are experts to do the work. So we need to be able to have experts that can get the job done. And so we need to stay out of their way as project managers, yet lead and manage what they do. All right, let’s hop in here and talk about this in more detail.
- Key Concepts for Project Resource Management
This is key concepts for project resource management. As we begin to discuss resource management, there are some factors that we need to consider in regard to our project resources regarding the people and the equipment or materials that we need. First off, determine what resources are needed. We can do this when we create our activity list. It’s one of those processes we can do in tandem. But once we identify the resources, then we have to get those resources for our project. So you think about procurement or contracting or working with other project managers or functional managers to get the people that you need on your project.
Once we have the resources, we control the resources. In particular, we’re talking about the physical resources that if you have materials and equipment and tools at your job site, we want to make certain there’s not waste or things go missing or someone comes and steals the materials. That you want to control those resources and protect them and that they’re only available when they’re needed. So you control access and you control the resources. We also have to consider the human side of this equation. Human and physical resources. First off, we have two calendars we need to address the project calendar and the resource calendar. The project calendar is when the work can take place monday through Friday, 08:00 A. m. To 06:00 P. m. .
That’s our project calendar. The resource calendar, though, will be when resources are available. So we take into consideration things like vacation responsibilities among the organization that people may already be scheduled on, or other projects. So when are the human resources available? Physical resources also may have a calendar. You think about reserving a room every Monday for your status meeting. So you need a physical resource. You want to go schedule that or a piece of equipment you have to schedule. So the resource calendar is needed here. The project team and the project manager need to have a spirit of collaboration, that we’re in this together, that we’re all part of the same team working towards the same objectives.
So we want to have this willingness to work. We want our team members to be willing to do the work and be dedicated to do the work. So we’re talking about buy in and synergy and a sense of ownership. And we need to have people participate. If we sense that people are wanting to leave the project, then we need to address our project team retention, that we want the team members to stay on the project, to be part of the team, to be involved because we need that resource. They’re on the team for a reason. So we want to keep them there and keep them involved. If we’re dealing with unions or a contractual relationship, then we have to address labor relations. So we have to follow the rules of the union. We have to follow the rules of that contractual relationship. So any type of a collective bargaining agreement is labor relations.
We have to abide by those rules. In that agreement we may be asked to do performance appraisals. So we have to do an assessment of how well our project team members are working. And this can include the vendor. If we have a contractual relationship with the vendor, of course we want to address our work, health and safety issues, especially if your discipline has pure risk. A pure risk is only downside. Someone gets injured or loss of life or limb. Of course we don’t want that. So we think about safety, we think about health and the dangerous work that may be taking place in our project.
So we want to be very clear that we do not want any type of injury or anyone to get disabled or really hurt on our project. So we address those and we address safety. And you can see how that’s integrated back to quality and the cost of quality with our people, with our human resources. The project is temporary and so too is the project team. So we have to really create an effort and establish a team and promote team development because we want our team to not have the mindset that this is temporary. So I don’t need to create a relationship with my teammates.
People will work better together if they have a personal relationship with other people on the project team. So we’re talking about team development and promoting team development and we’ll talk about that more in this section. Some influences on the project team the team environment where people are physically doing the work can affect how people interact with one another. You might be dealing with a virtual team where people are dispersed around the globe. So we have geographical concerns for the team working together. Communication among stakeholders is so important that we want people to share information with one another, but we also want to be able to capture that information.
So our communications management plan, which will be in section ten of the PMBOK, the communications management. So we want to promote communication, but we need to be able to capture that communication. And then we have to address any type of an organizational change. Organizational change management addresses several concerns. One could be a new policy or procedure that could be an organizational change. You might have a change in leadership or upper management and that can influence your project team. And then the project that you’re creating is about change. So your project may be creating organizational change. So we have to think about the perception of that change and the influence that change has on our project team. So we want our members to feel secure and safe and to acknowledge that change is happening in the organization and how does it affect our project.
We’ll also address internal and external politics. Internal politics we see those office politics, those underlying and hidden agendas that people have that they often bring into a project. So we need to have a clear understanding of the power, the political capital that you or a stakeholder has and how that affects your project team. External Politics we’re talking about government and the politics in your community or in your country and how those can affect your project, especially if you’re doing a public project or you’re in a discipline like health care that seems to always be affected by laws and regulations. And so how does that affect your projects that you’re trying to do in the organization? If your team is dispersed around the globe, you’re going to be dealing with different cultures.
And so those culture issues, those cultural issues may affect how people communicate and work with one another on your project team. Also the structure of your organization. So the organizational uniqueness can affect how people work with one another. So these are all concerns when it comes to influencing your project team considerations for Physical Resources when you think about physical resources, you think about equipment and tools, facilities. So you need to schedule that equipment and facilities and the infrastructure that you need in order to communicate, in order to have meetings, in order to do the work. If you don’t schedule these tools and equipment and facilities on time, you don’t establish that infrastructure, then you have a risk of the project being delayed because you’re waiting for that resource to become available.
So it introduces a project risk and this can really create a domino chain of risk and delays and issues in your project. So it’s very important to schedule materials upfront and your resources and whatever infrastructure you may need. Low quality materials could damage the overall quality of the product. So we saw this back in chapter eight in a PMBOK and quality management, that low quality is always a problem. So imagine you are in construction and you get two x fours in for your project and these are all warped or they’re curvy or wavy. That’s poor quality. It’s not what’s needed in the project. So I’m not talking about grade, about oak versus plywood, talking about receiving materials that are not of quality, that they are substandard and they need to be rejected. If we try to make those low quality products work to keep our schedule, we could actually be going backwards because we use the material and then that material could cause problems when we get into quality control and scope validation. So the team needs to be able to spot low quality material and be empowered to act upon it. Too much material, too much inventory will equal the high operation cost. So on our job site, we’re building a house. We can’t have all the materials delivered at once.
Typically we don’t because we only have so much space for all those materials. You have to worry about theft or the materials getting damaged. And if we have a whole bunch of materials at once that can drive our cost if there are any theft or damage or upfront. A lot of cost invested in the project. So too much inventory equals high operation cost. We want a uniform approach to when the material should be delivered based on the phases and the work in our project. A low level inventory, the opposite is going to affect our customer demand and satisfying the customer demand. If we don’t have enough material to do the work, then we have a delay. We have a stoppage in our project because we’re waiting for resources. So we really have to balance and do some supply chain management here. Having too much is no good, and certainly too little is no good. So what’s just right with the amount of materials we need in our project? All right. Great job. You’re knocking this out. That’s our first lecture. Talking about some considerations, physical and human resources. I’ll see you in the next lecture.
- Trends and Emerging Practices in Resource Management
Continuing this conversation of resource management, let’s look at some different methods for how you can manage human resources and physical resources. The first one is lean management. Lean management uses a product backlog that the requirements go to the next available resource and so that resource is available to take on the work. It’s a constant cue of as people are available, they can take on the work just in time manufacturing is a supply chain philosophy that I only have materials on hand when I’m going to utilize those materials. And I know that’s just a real quick summary. There’s a lot of different moving parts with just in time manufacturing and just in time scheduling or ordering. We talked about Kaizen technologies earlier in quality.
Remember that Kaizen is we do a small change over time and these small changes add up to big results. So Kaizen can be used with resource management as well. Total productive maintenance. Talking about preventive maintenance and having maintenance so that our equipment doesn’t break down and cause bigger delays. So we schedule maintenance on our equipment and resources. And then the theory of constraints, if you recall the book, the goal theory of constraints addresses the weakest element or the element that is the most restrictive in our project time or cost or resource. And we address that and fix that problem and then we look at the next most restrictive. And so it’s this process we continue to go through to address whatever is constraining our project.
We attack it and then we get better and better and better or more efficient and more efficient on the human side. We need emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is EI. We’re talking about being able to control our emotions, understand the emotions of others and then influence the emotion of others. So as a manager we need some soft skills here. We need our emotional intelligence abilities. Two types of emotional intelligence when it comes to dealing with people, we have inbound and outbound. Inbound is self management to control our own emotions, that we aren’t reactive, that we try to understand what an individual is really telling us.
Outbound is relationship management, that we don’t react, that we think about what’s happening and we pause and we try to understand where this individual is coming from and what emotions are behind what they’re telling us. So we have relationship management. While we need that as a project manager, we also want to promote that among our team members. The emotionally competent teams are really more effective and this also helps with a reduction if we’re having staff turnover problems. If you’re having a lot of turnover, then it may be you have some poor emotional intelligence in your project team or in the management of that team.
A selforganizing team is a term that we see in an agile environment. It means that the team is in control, that the team doesn’t need a project manager like a predictive to direct and order and execute to direct and manage work that the team determines the roles and responsibilities and who will do what in the project. The project manager acts in a self organized team by giving support and trying to create an environment to encourage self led teams. The project manager trusts the team to get the work done. It’s not exactly lazare where it’s totally handsoff and the team just makes up their own mind, their own decisions, but it’s I stay out of the way and I trust the team to make the best decisions and I support their decisions and I’m more like a consultant.
Self organizing teams have two characteristics. We’re generally a specialist rather than a subject matter experts. We’re generalized specialist, meaning that we can do a lot of different activities. As a project team member rather than I am silo, I can only do one thing. Self organizing teams also embrace constructive feedback that they listen and understand what’s being told to them so they can improve their performance. Virtual teams are becoming very common, but there are some things that we have to consider with virtual teams and project management. Virtual teams means we’re not in the same spot, sometimes called non colocated, that we are dispersed. The communication demands will go up for a virtual team because I’m missing that face to face conversation. So I’m taking advantage of emails and phone calls and web conferencing or audio conferencing.
You might use social media to help communicate or texting. So whatever avenue you’re allowed to use, you should embrace and use that if it promotes communication and improves performance on the team. Some advantages of virtual teams well, obviously we can use people that are experts from anywhere in the world to work on our project team. People can work from home, I love to work from home, don’t have to drive. And then I can include people with mobility limitations or disabilities so they can be involved in our project team as well.
Some challenges though, of working with virtual teams communication, as I mentioned, is more difficult in a virtual team. It’s easy to hide in a virtual team. I can’t just walk down the hall and pop into someone’s office if I’m on a virtual team. So it’s harder to get a hold of people. Sometimes people on your project team could feel isolated and that are not appreciated. There could be gaps in sharing knowledge that I don’t hear those other conversations that are taking place because I’m isolated. I only hear the conversation if I’m involved in it. And then I may have difficulty in tracking progress or productivity. You might have time zone differences so that all affects the project team’s. Cohesiveness could affect communication in the project team.
So there are some real challenges there that we have to consciously manage when we deal with virtual teams. When it comes to tailoring our resources, there are some things we can consider the diversity of the team, the physical location of the team? Can we tailor that? Can we try to get people all in one room, like a project headquarters? And also the physical resources? Do we need a piece of equipment? But it’s in another zone or region right now, so we have to order that equipment or have it shipped back to where the work is taking place. Industry specific resources. So you might need a particular type of programmer or a particular type of material for your project. And then what about acquiring or acquisitions for team members?
You have to go through procurement and use contracted labor to be on your team to do the work. So those are all things that we have some control over and we could tailor, but so much of that is going to be affected by enterprise environmental factors. When it comes to the project team, there are some things that we have control over, whether they are colocated or virtual, how we manage the team. So what are the policies? What’s the governance as far as managing? And what’s your management style? What about the organizational tools you could use to promote team development? So how can you promote teams to be more cohesive, to come together as a unit and to attack the project work? Do you have any team members who have special needs, that they need some more training, that they need some more coaching or a particular piece of equipment in order to do their work?
So we need to address that. Will the team also have special training as a whole? Not talking about just the project work, but the diversity among the team and how to work with each other and some emotional intelligence training. And so we need the schedule time for that, but that’s project time. So we think about training for diversity is good, but how does that affect our schedule and getting the work done? So we have to balance those considerations. And then what’s the lifecycle approach that you’ll use? Are you adapted? Are you predictive? So there’s different ways you manage the team in both of those structures where adaptive is more selfled teams and predictive is more about directing and managing. And the team looks to the project manager for their assignments. All right, good job. Keep moving forward. I’ll see you in the next lecture.
- Considerations for Adaptive Environments
In an adaptive environment. We’re dealing with self led teams where the project manager is not directing and managing the work, but individuals are focusing on getting the work done and having a collaboration working with one another. Self organizing teams. Use this concept of generalizing specialist. So it seems like a contradiction in terms there. But the idea is that individuals don’t do just one role, that they can do many different roles and contribute many different ways on. The project team in an adaptive environment we want collaboration and collaboration can boost productivity because with generalizing specialists we collaborate on tasks to get work done faster that it’s not isolated.
And you do your tiny piece and then someone else takes over as you work together to get the whole requirement created. Adaptive teams also encourage problem solving. That we facilitate problem solving. Some other considerations for adaptive teams that we want an integration of distinct work activities. This is just a really fancy way of saying you encourage people to work together on problems, to work together on activities, that it’s not isolated.
And I only do this one thing that we can all work together and all contribute to the deliverable. Adaptive teams openly communicate with one another, typically collocated in one spot. Very easy to turn around and ask questions of one another. So that helps with knowledge sharing. And then we want to have some flexibility in our work assignments because anyone can contribute to the work. If there’s a skills gap, then we need some coaching or training. But we have a flexibility here on who contributes to the project work that we can all contribute. We’re generalizing specialist.
Collaboration is so important in all projects. But it’s the very nature of an adaptive team. Collaborative teams are what we want in an adaptive environment. They work well with one another. They openly communicate. They’re used to variety in the work and they can adapt to change. There’s less time in an adaptive team because we are time bound. We have that two to four weeks, typically for an iteration. And so we don’t have time for decision making that is drawn out or centralized tasking where in a predictive environment we assign tasks to people. In an adaptive environment, the team decides who’ll do what and when and what needs to be.
Done next resource management in an adaptive environment also has some considerations. It’s less predictable in an adaptive environment so when resources are available can affect a predictive environment. In an adaptive environment, it’s less predictable about when we need particular resources. Adaptive environments, more knowledge driven, like software development versus construction, where we need the materials to do the construction. In an adaptive environment, though we have to have agreements in place for fast supply so we’re not waiting. On resources that they’re available when we need them. Lean methods are critical for controlling cost and schedule. So we operate in a lean fashion that as the work comes in, we attack the work collaboratively, and we want to get things done that we aren’t waiting for decisions or waiting for materials. All right, so those are some considerations to know with human resources and physical resources in an adaptive environment.
- Preparing for Resource Planning
Let’s talk about planning resource management. This is chapter nine of the PMBOK and our first process here is to really dig in and to create a resource management plan. So we’re talking about physical resources and human resources. So we begin by identifying our project needs. What roles do we need on the project? We need a software developer, we need a tester, we need an instructional writer, a designer. So what are the roles that we have to have in our team? Who do those people report to in the organization? So what’s the reporting structure? And then we begin to assign roles and responsibilities. A role is just a generic name, like a software developer.
The responsibilities describes the type of work they’ll do, what they are responsible for, the decisions that they’ll make, how they do the work. So that’s all part of your responsibility as a team member acquiring physical resources. So our human resource plan there is no human resource plan. Our resource management plan addresses physical resources well. So how do you get physical resources onto your project and when are they needed? Influence for planning resource management, we talked about this earlier. The environment and the politics. What about our communication, our organizational change? Management comes into play again. Our culture and organization issues, what’s happening in the organization, and then virtual teams and where are they located? So just a little reminder as we go into planning that the things that can affect the team cohesiveness can also affect how we plan to manage our team. Some resource terminology.
All right, so a role is just that generic project team name. Like I just mentioned, the authority level is your decision making ability. So what are you allowed to make decisions on? Not just you the project manager, but also the individuals, the project team members responsibilities are the actions and the expectations to complete an assignment. The competency is basically the depth of skill, how competent an individual is in a particular programming language, or competent in structure, or competent in a piece of software that that affects their ability to do the work quickly and accurately.
Let’s look at the ETOs to plan resource management. We have the project charter, the project management plan. Specifically, we’re looking at the quality management plan scope, baseline, project documents, the schedule, your requirements, the risk register, the stakeholder register. And then we have EEF and OPA tools and techniques, expert judgment, data representation. So hierarchical charts going to create a hierarchy of your team or an. org chart, responsibility assignment matrix, text oriented. So you have just a list so it’s not a visualization. And then we have some organizational theory and we’ll talk about that coming up. And then of course, meetings.
Our outputs will be the resource management plan, a team charter, a new term and we’ll see this in detail coming up. So we have a team charter and then project document updates such as the assumption log, an. org chart is just a way to show who reports to whom. So that could be the project manager up there at the top. And then you have different team leads at the next level down and then you have individual team members. That’s all that chart is. It shows the organization and the structure and the reporting structure of the people on your team. A matrix chart is a table that shows the intersection of an activity and a role or a team member. The one that we’re looking at in this chart is a Racy chart. Racy means that you are responsible, accountable. You’re consulted or informed about that activity. There can only be one person accountable. There could be multiple people responsible, but only one person is accountable. A responsibility assignment matrix is similar to a Racy, but what a Ram does, instead of using the Raci, it could use a different legend. So it could use you implement. That would be an I. It could be that you report on this. So that could be an R. It could be that you are in participants. It could be a P, so you could make up your own legend in a Ram. It could also just be a checkmark for who’s doing that activity.
Doesn’t have to be overly complex. Another matrix chart is a roles and responsibilities chart. It’s very similar to a Ram. The difference is instead of the team member names, it would be the role on the project. So you would have developer one, developer two. You might have a designer, the instructional designer, you might have the tester and then you might have the transition. So that would describe the roles. I just made those up. Who knows what the roles are in your discipline. And then you could do a checkmark or have your own legend. And anyone who’s a developer could attack one of the activities that are assigned to the developers. So it’s just using a generic role instead of Sam and Shelley and Ben and so on. So those are some different charts you should be familiar with. All right, so that was our inputs, tools and techniques and output outputs for our human Resource Management plan. Keep moving forward.