The People Side of Project Management: A Practical Guide

People are the most important asset of any project. Without the right people, even the best-planned project is doomed to fail.

Human resource planning (HRP) is the process of determining the organization's future human resource needs and how to meet those needs. It is an ongoing process that takes into account the organization's strategic goals, the current workforce, and the external environment.

The inputs to HRP are the project management plan, the activity resource requirements, the enterprise environmental factors, and the organizational process assets. The tools and techniques used in HRP include organization charts and position descriptions, networking, organizational theory, expert judgment, and meetings. The outputs of HRP are the human resource management plan, which outlines the specific activities that will be undertaken to meet the organization's human resource needs.

The human resource management plan typically includes the following elements:

  • A staffing plan that identifies the number and types of employees needed to complete the project
  • A recruiting plan that outlines how the organization will attract and hire the necessary employees
  • A training plan that describes how the organization will train the new employees to do their jobs
  • A performance management plan that outlines how the organization will evaluate the performance of the project team
  • A compensation and benefits plan that outlines how the organization will reward the project team for their work

HRP is an important part of project management because it ensures that the project has the right people with the right skills to complete the work. By carefully planning the human resources for the project, the organization can avoid costly delays and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.

Benefits of HRP:

  • It helps to ensure that the organization has the right people with the right skills to meet its goals.
  • It helps to avoid costly delays and overruns.
  • It helps to improve employee morale and productivity.
  • It helps to attract and retain top talent.
  • It helps to comply with legal requirements.
  • If you are involved in project management, it is important to understand the importance of HRP and to be involved in the planning process. By working together, the project team and the HR department can ensure that the project has the right people in the right places to succeed.

The PMBOK® Guide defines four processes for Project Human Resource Management:

  1. Plan Human Resource Management - This process involves determining the human resource needs of the project and creating a plan to meet those needs. The plan should include the following:
  • The roles and responsibilities of the project team members
  • The skills and experience required for each role
  • The methods for acquiring and developing team members
  • The processes for managing team performance
  1. Acquire Project Team - This process involves obtaining the people needed to fill the roles defined in the human resource plan. The project manager may need to recruit, interview, and select team members.
  2. Develop Project Team - This process involves helping team members to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their roles. The project manager may provide training, coaching, and mentoring.
  3. Manage Project Team - This process involves monitoring team performance and taking corrective action as needed. The project manager may need to provide feedback, resolve conflicts, and motivate team members.

The four processes of Project Human Resource Management are iterative, meaning that they may be repeated as needed throughout the project lifecycle. For example, the project manager may need to update the human resource plan if the project scope changes or if team members leave the project.

The PMBOK® Guide also defines a number of other processes that are related to Project Human Resource Management, such as:

  • Communication Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Quality Management
  • Stakeholder Management

These processes are not specifically focused on human resources, but they all have an impact on the project team. For example, the communication plan should identify the communication needs of the project team and the methods that will be used to communicate with them. The risk management plan should identify the risks that could impact the project team and the strategies for mitigating those risks.

As projects are essential for the development of an organization, and they are accomplished by people. The human aspects of project management are therefore critical to success. Project managers need to understand the following human aspects of project management:

  • Teamwork: Projects are typically completed by teams of people with different skills and experience. The project manager needs to be able to build and maintain a cohesive team that can work together effectively.
  • Communication: Clear and effective communication is essential for the success of any project. The project manager needs to be able to communicate effectively with the project team, stakeholders, and other important people.
  • Motivation: Project team members need to be motivated to do their best work. The project manager needs to be able to motivate the team and keep them focused on the project goals.
  • Conflict resolution: Conflict is inevitable in any project. The project manager needs to be able to resolve conflicts in a timely and constructive manner.
  • Change management: Projects are often subject to change. The project manager needs to be able to manage change effectively and ensure that the project stays on track.

By understanding the human aspects of project management, project managers can increase their chances of success.

Here are some additional tips for project managers to effectively manage the human aspects of their projects:

  • Emphasize the importance of teamwork. Make sure that team members understand the importance of working together and supporting each other.
  • Create a positive and supportive work environment. A positive work environment will help to motivate team members and reduce stress.
  • Provide regular feedback. Provide team members with regular feedback on their work, both positive and negative. This will help them to improve their performance.
  • Celebrate successes. When the team achieves a milestone, take the time to celebrate their success. This will help to keep them motivated and engaged.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to adapt and make changes as needed.

Objectives for Human Resource Planning

The core objectives of human resource planning are to ensure the best fit between personnel and the tasks required, minimize resourcing shortages, and minimize resourcing surpluses.

The human resource planning process should focus on the following:

  1. Planning project activities: The project manager needs to analyze individual tasks to determine the number of people each task requires and to determine the required competencies needed to undertake each task. The project manager also needs to establish an effective project structure which aligns identified individual and group competencies with project tasks and provides clearly understood communications structures, review procedures, and reporting requirements.
  2. Allocating and reallocating people within the project: As the project proceeds, the project manager needs to allocate and reallocate people within the project to meet the changing requirements of the project lifecycle. This includes tasks such as placement, equipping, induction, and debriefing.
  3. Establishing personal responsibility for managing, monitoring, and reviewing staff and staffing issues at all levels of the project: The project manager needs to establish personal responsibility for managing, monitoring, and reviewing staff and staffing issues at all levels of the project. This includes tasks such as performance management, training, and development.
  4. Communicating the changing HRM functions, structures, roles, and status to all stakeholders and higher project authorities throughout the project lifecycle: The project manager needs to communicate the changing HRM functions, structures, roles, and status to all stakeholders and higher project authorities throughout the project lifecycle. This is important to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes and that they can be effectively managed.

These steps builds project manager's confidene on the human resources of the project to managed effectively, leading to a successful project outcome. Here are some additional insights for project managers to leverage when effectively managing the human resources of their projects:

  • Be proactive. Don't wait until there is a problem before you take action.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to adapt and make changes as needed.
  • Build relationships. Take the time to build relationships with your team members. This will help you to get the most out of them.
  • Be fair and consistent. Treat everyone fairly and consistently. This will help to create a positive work environment.
  • Communicate effectively. Keep your team members informed of the project's progress and any changes that are taking place.
  • Provide feedback. Provide your team members with regular feedback on their work, both positive and negative. This will help them to improve their performance.
  • Celebrate successes. When the team achieves a milestone, take the time to celebrate their success. This will help to keep them motivated and engaged.

Using the WBS

By analysing individual tasks within the WBS, resourcing levels and competencies needed to undertake each task can be determined

Undertaking Professional Development Activities

Undertaking professional development activities is an important part of human resource planning. It helps to ensure that the project team has the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.

Professional development activities can include:

  • Training: This can be formal training, such as taking a course or attending a seminar, or informal training, such as shadowing a more experienced team member.
  • Coaching: This is one-on-one support from a mentor or coach who can help the team member develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Mentorship: This is a relationship between a more experienced team member and a less experienced team member, where the more experienced team member provides guidance and support.
  • Networking: This is building relationships with other professionals in the field, which can help the team member learn about new trends and opportunities.
  • Self-study: This is taking the initiative to learn new skills and knowledge on their own.

The specific professional development activities that are appropriate for a particular project team will depend on the needs of the project and the skills and knowledge of the team members.

It is important to note that professional development is not just about training. It is also about creating a culture of learning and development within the project team. This can be done by encouraging team members to share their knowledge and experiences, and by providing them with opportunities to learn new things.

By undertaking professional development activities, project managers can help to ensure that their team has the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. This will ultimately lead to a more successful project.

Here are some additional tips for project managers to encourage professional development among their team members:

  • Set a good example. As a project manager, you should be constantly learning and developing your skills. This will show your team members that you value professional development.
  • Provide opportunities for learning. Make sure that there are opportunities for team members to learn new things, such as through training, coaching, and mentoring.
  • Encourage sharing of knowledge. Create a culture where team members are encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences with each other.
  • Recognize and reward professional development. When team members take the initiative to learn new things, recognize and reward them for their efforts.

Now, project managers can encourage professional development among their team members and create a more successful project.

Structuring Project Resources

Establishing an effective structure ensures that all project activities are appropriately assigned.

Guiding and Supporting the Project Team

Guiding and supporting the project team is an important part of the project manager's role. It helps to ensure that the team is motivated and productive, and that they are able to work together effectively.

The project manager can guide and support the project team by:

  • Communicating effectively: The project manager needs to keep the team informed of the project's progress, any changes that are taking place, and any challenges that they are facing. This will help to keep the team motivated and engaged.
  • Providing feedback: The project manager needs to provide the team with regular feedback on their work, both positive and negative. This will help the team to improve their performance.
  • Resolving conflicts: The project manager needs to be able to resolve conflicts within the team in a timely and constructive manner. This will help to keep the team working together effectively.
  • Encouraging teamwork: The project manager needs to encourage teamwork and collaboration within the team. This will help the team to achieve their goals.
  • Providing support: The project manager needs to be available to support the team members when they need it. This could include providing them with resources, training, or simply listening to their concerns.

From above, the project manager can guide and support the project team and help them to be successful. Here are some additional tips for project managers to guide and support their team members:

  • Be approachable. Make sure that team members feel comfortable coming to you with their problems or concerns.
  • Be understanding. Try to see things from the team member's perspective.
  • Be fair. Treat everyone fairly, regardless of their position or experience.
  • Be positive. A positive attitude can go a long way in creating a positive work environment.
  • Be patient. Things don't always go according to plan, so be patient with the team members.

By following these tips, project managers can create a positive and supportive work environment that will help the team to be successful.

Quality Planning for Future Projects / Organisational Purposes

Quality planning for future projects and organizational purposes is an important part of project management. It helps to ensure that the lessons learned from previous projects are applied to future projects, and that the organization continues to improve its project management practices.

The project manager can document management issues and recommended improvements by:

  • Holding regular meetings with the project team to discuss progress and any challenges that they are facing.
  • Creating a project log to track any changes or problems that occur during the project.
  • Conducting a post-mortem meeting at the end of the project to discuss what went well, what could have been improved, and any lessons learned.

The project manager can then pass on this information to the appropriate authorities, such as the project sponsor or the organization's management team. This information can be used to improve the organization's project management processes and practices, and to prevent similar problems from occurring in future projects.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix

A responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) is a tool that can be used to ensure that all project team members have a clear understanding of their project responsibilities and how these relate to the delivery of the project. The RAM typically includes the following information:

  • The name of the project team member
  • The project task or deliverable that the team member is responsible for
  • The level of responsibility (e.g., responsible, consulted, informed)

The RAM can be created by the project manager or by the project team members themselves. It should be updated regularly to reflect changes in the project plan or the project team.

By using a RAM, the project manager can help to ensure that all project team members are aware of their responsibilities and that they are working together effectively to deliver the project.

Extremities for project managers to use a RAM effectively:

  • Involve the project team members in creating the RAM. This will help to ensure that they understand their responsibilities and that they are committed to fulfilling them.
  • Keep the RAM up-to-date. This is important as the project progresses and changes occur.
  • Use the RAM to communicate project responsibilities to the project team members. This will help to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
  • Use the RAM to track project progress. This will help to identify any potential problems early on.
Resource Responsibility Matrix

PERFORMANCE PLANNING

Performance planning is an important part of project management. It helps to ensure that the project team is aligned with the project goals and objectives, and that they are motivated and productive.

Performance planning typically involves the following steps:

  1. Set clear goals and objectives: The project manager needs to set clear goals and objectives for the project team. These goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  2. Identify the skills and knowledge required: The project manager needs to identify the skills and knowledge that the project team members need to have in order to achieve the project goals and objectives.
  3. Develop a performance plan: The project manager needs to develop a performance plan for each project team member. This plan should outline the specific tasks that the team member will be responsible for, the timeframe for completing those tasks, and the expected results.
  4. Provide regular feedback: The project manager needs to provide regular feedback to the project team members on their performance. This feedback should be constructive and helpful, and it should be used to help the team members improve their performance.
  5. Recognize and reward accomplishments: The project manager needs to recognize and reward the project team members for their accomplishments. This will help to motivate the team members and keep them engaged in the project.

By following these steps, the project manager can effectively plan for performance and ensure that the project team is successful.

The points made by Richard Rudman are all important for effective performance planning. In particular, it is important to have a shared understanding of what is to be achieved, and to provide regular feedback to the team members. By doing these things, the project manager can help to ensure that the project team is motivated and productive.

The Wall Street Journal survey results also highlight the importance of good communication, work-life balance, and challenging work. By creating a positive work environment that addresses these factors, the project manager can help to motivate the project team and improve their performance.

Additional points for project managers to improve performance planning:

  • Involve the project team members in the performance planning process. This will help to ensure that they are committed to the goals and objectives, and that they have a sense of ownership of the plan.
  • Set realistic goals and objectives. If the goals and objectives are too difficult to achieve, the team members will become discouraged.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to adjust the performance plan as needed.
  • Celebrate successes. When the team achieves a goal or objective, take the time to celebrate their success. This will help to keep them motivated and engaged.

By following above tips, project managers can improve performance planning and ensure that the project team is successful.

Performance Measures

Performance measures are essential for ensuring that the project team is successful. They help to ensure that the team is aligned with the project goals and objectives, and that they are motivated and productive.

The performance measures for each role within the project team should define the following:

  • Recruitment and selection performance criteria: This includes the criteria that will be used to select the best candidates for each role. These criteria should be aligned with the project goals and objectives, and they should be relevant to the specific role.
  • Key competencies and knowledge areas: This includes the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are essential for each role. These competencies should be aligned with the project goals and objectives, and they should be relevant to the specific role.
  • Professional development requirements: This includes the training and development opportunities that will be provided to the project team members. These opportunities should help the team members to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their roles.
  • Tracking of employee development and well-being: This includes the process for tracking the development and well-being of the project team members. This will help to ensure that the team members are meeting their personal and professional goals, and that they are healthy and motivated.
  • Reward and recognition levels: This includes the rewards and recognition that will be given to the project team members for their accomplishments. These rewards and recognition should be aligned with the project goals and objectives, and they should be motivating to the team members.

By defining clear performance measures for each role within the project team, the project manager can help to ensure that the team is successful. Additional points to consider for project managers to define performance measures:

  • Involve the project team members in the process. This will help to ensure that the measures are relevant and achievable.
  • Make the measures specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help to ensure that they are meaningful and can be used to track progress.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to adjust the measures as needed.
  • Communicate the measures to the project team members. This will help to ensure that they understand what is expected of them and how their performance will be evaluated.

Now, project managers can define performance measures that will help to ensure the success of the project team.

EVALUATING TASK PERFORMANCE

These are all valid methods for evaluating task performance. The best method to use will depend on the specific circumstances and the needs of the project team.

Here are some additional thoughts on the methods you mentioned:

  • Formal appraisal: This is a common method for evaluating task performance, but it can be time-consuming and may not be accurate if the appraisal is not done correctly. It is important to involve the team members in the appraisal process and to use a variety of methods to collect data.
  • Peer review: This can be a valuable way to get feedback from people who work closely with the team member, but it is important to make sure that the peer reviewers are unbiased and that they have a good understanding of the team member's job.
  • Review by subordinates: This can be a valuable way to get feedback from people who have a different perspective on the supervisor's performance, but it is important to make sure that the subordinates feel comfortable providing feedback and that they are not afraid of retaliation.
  • Ranking and paired comparisons: These methods can be used to identify the top performers and the bottom performers, but they can be subjective and may not be accurate if the criteria for ranking are not clearly defined.
  • Critical incidents: This can be a helpful way to identify specific incidents that illustrate a team member's performance, but it is important to make sure that the incidents are representative of the team member's overall performance.
  • Checklists: This can be a helpful way to ensure that all aspects of performance are considered, but it is important to make sure that the checklist is comprehensive and that the criteria are clearly defined.
  • Behavioural observation scales: This can be a helpful way to evaluate performance based on specific behaviours, but it is important to make sure that the behaviours are observable and that the scale is reliable and valid.
  • 360 degree feedback: This can be a valuable way to get a comprehensive view of a team member's performance, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to collect feedback from multiple sources.

Ultimately, the best way to evaluate task performance is to choose a method that is appropriate for the specific circumstances and the needs of the project team. The project manager should also consider the time and resources available for the evaluation process.

These are all valid points about the challenges of using checklists, behavioral observation scales, and 360 degree feedback to evaluate task performance.

  • Checklists: Checklists can be a useful tool for ensuring that all aspects of performance are considered, but they can be difficult to develop and use correctly. It is important to make sure that the checklist is comprehensive and that the criteria are clearly defined. The project manager should also consider the time and resources available for developing and using a checklist.
  • Behavioral observation scales: Behavioral observation scales can be a useful tool for evaluating performance based on specific behaviors, but they can be time-consuming to develop and use. It is important to make sure that the behaviors are observable and that the scale is reliable and valid. The project manager should also consider the time and resources available for developing and using a behavioral observation scale.
  • 360 degree feedback: 360 degree feedback can be a valuable way to get a comprehensive view of a team member's performance, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to collect feedback from multiple sources. The project manager should also consider the willingness of the team members to provide feedback and the confidentiality of the feedback process.

Ultimately, the best way to evaluate task performance is to choose a method that is appropriate for the specific circumstances and the needs of the project team. The project manager should also consider the time and resources available for the evaluation process. Project managers can overcome the challenges of using these methods to evaluate task performance:

  • Involve the team members in the development of the checklist or behavioral observation scale. This will help to ensure that they are committed to the process and that they understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate their performance.
  • Pilot test the checklist or behavioral observation scale before using it to evaluate task performance. This will help to identify any problems with the tool and to ensure that it is effective.
  • Use a variety of methods to collect feedback. This will help to ensure that you get a comprehensive view of the team member's performance.
  • Be fair and objective in the evaluation process. Avoid personal biases and focus on the facts.
  • Use the results of the evaluation to improve performance. The evaluation should be a constructive process that helps the team members to improve their performance.

Project managers can overcome the challenges of using checklists, behavioral observation scales, and 360 degree feedback to evaluate task performance and help their team members improve their performance.

The quality management plan should define the quality standards that the project team must meet. The stakeholder management plan should identify the stakeholders who have an interest in the project team and the strategies for managing their expectations.

Deming's 14 Points for Management

W. Edwards Deming was an American statistician who is credited with helping Japan become a manufacturing powerhouse. He is also known as the father of total quality management (TQM).

Deming's 14 points are a set of principles that he believed could help organizations improve their quality and productivity. The points are:

  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement. This means that organizations should be committed to continuous improvement, not just short-term profits.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. This means that organizations should adopt a new way of thinking about quality, one that focuses on prevention rather than inspection.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection. This means that organizations should focus on reducing variation in their processes so that there are fewer defects to inspect.
  4. Move toward a single supplier for any one item. This means that organizations should work with a limited number of suppliers who can consistently provide high-quality products.
  5. Improve constantly and forever. This means that organizations should never be satisfied with the status quo and should always be looking for ways to improve.
  6. Institute training on the job. This means that organizations should provide their employees with the training they need to do their jobs effectively.
  7. Institute leadership. This means that organizations should have leaders who are committed to quality and who create a culture of continuous improvement.
  8. Drive out fear. This means that organizations should create a workplace where employees feel safe to speak up and make suggestions for improvement.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. This means that organizations should view themselves as a system and work to eliminate the barriers that prevent different departments from working together effectively.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce. This means that organizations should focus on real improvements, not on slogans or targets that may not be achievable.
  11. Eliminate management by objectives. This means that organizations should focus on improving the processes that create quality, not on setting numerical goals for employees to achieve.
  12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship. This means that organizations should create a workplace where employees feel proud of their work and are motivated to do their best.
  13. Institute education and self-improvement. This means that organizations should provide their employees with the opportunity to learn and grow, both personally and professionally.
  14. The transformation is everyone's job. This means that everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the front-line employee, has a role to play in improving quality.

Deming's 14 points are still relevant today and can be used by organizations of all sizes to improve their quality and productivity. However, it is important to note that these points are just a starting point. Each organization will need to tailor the points to their specific needs and circumstances.

Reference: http://www.hci.com.au/hcisite2/articles/deming.htm

Comments