You can’t get a professional project done without people. So, you need to manage your team as well as managing your project. And that’s what Project Human Resource Management is all about.
This is Part 2 of our guide to Project Resource Management. We started that guide with a general overview. But in this one, we’ll take a close look at managing human resources.
This is project Human Resource Management and it’s a big topic in its own right. So, if you are only interested in this part of the topic, you can read this as a stand-alone guide.
Project Human Resource Management versus Project Resource Management
Indeed, we only have to look as far back as the start of 2017, when the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK Guide) was in its fifth edition. Then, the 6th Knowledge Area (of 10) was called Project Human Resources. The PMBOK Guide made little more than
In September 2017, the sixth edition fixed that. The Knowledge Area (KA)
Defining Human Resource Management
But the PMBOK Guide, unfortunately, fails to define Human Resource Management. It does define…
Project Resource ManagementA Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Sixth Edition (Glossary)
Project Resource Management includes the processes to identify, acquire, and manage the resources needed for the successful completion of the project.
Project Management Institute (PMI), 2017
Neither do the Association for Project Management’s APM Body of Knowledge, nor the PRINCE2 guide (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2) define human resources or human resource management. So, let’s go to the experts, the US Society for Human Resource Management:
Human resource management (HRM) is the process of managing an organization’s employees. HRM includes all aspects of people management to effectively meet an organization’s goals.Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) website, Glossary
This must therefore include the disciplines of:
- looking after the health, safety, and welfare
of an organization’s employees.
In the context of a project, therefore, I would define Project Human Resources Management as:
Project Human Resource Management (project HRM) is the management of project team members. It includes all aspects of people management to effectively support the project’s needs, and the needs of your prject team.OnlinePMCourses definition of Project Human Resource Management
The Processes in the PMBOK Guide Resource Management Knowledge Area
Within PMI’s PMBOK Guide, you’ll still find two of the six processes in this KA refer exclusively to your human resources. Here is a reminder of all six:
|9.1 Plan Resource Management
|This is the planning process and sets out the approach you will take to PRM
|9.2 Estimate Activity Resources
|Determining your requirements: what resources you’ll need and the
|9.3 Acquire Resources
|How you will get the resources you need onto your project
|9.4 Develop Team
|Creating the team capabilities and culture you need.
This is Human Resource Management and we’ll look at this in more detail in Part 2 of this guide.
|9.5 Manage Team
|Day-to-day and performance management, along with your team leadership role
|9.6 Control Resources
|Monitor and control processes to keep your resource availability matching demand from upcoming activities.
So, in this guide, we will focus on the skills you’ll need, for processes 9.4 and 9.5:
- Develop Team
PMBOK includes activities like:
- Interpersonal skills
- Performance assessment
- Manage Team
PMBOK includes activities like:
- Workload management
- Resource balancing
I don’t propose to follow the PMBOK Guide for this. I find the ITTO (Inputs, Tools and Techniques, Outputs) approach to be poorly suited to the topic of human resource management. If you are new to the PMBOK Guide and want to know more about ITTOs, check out these two short videos:
Instead, we’ll take a thematic approach that covers everything the PMBOK refers to, and a whole lot more. I’ve summarized the six themes we’ll look at in the diagram below.
The 6 Themes of Project Human Resource Management
Each of the themes could carry a whole article. And, indeed, many of the topics within each theme do carry a whole article. So, this article provides you with a resource that will signpost you to all our best content on the topic of Project Human Resource Management.
Here are your links to the six sections with each of the six themes:
Bringing people onto your team is your first human resource management challenge. And we’ll split it into finding them, introducing them into your team, and then kicking off your project.
Recruiting team members can be a joy or a nightmare, depending on your circumstances. It pays to have a very clear idea of what skills you need and at what level. But it is also important to remember that the individual personality is what contributes most to your team, so do be flexible. The old saying goes:
Hire for attitude: train for skillsThere’s a nice, short, opinion piece on the Harvard Business Review site about this.
You won’t always be able to get your ideal candidate.
Induction / Welcoming
I hate the term induction for bringing a new person onto your team or into your organization. It just sounds too… gynecological? Or electrical engineering?
It certainly doesn’t sound welcoming. And ‘welcoming’ is precisely what you need to focus on. Other aspects include:
- explaining the background and context to your project
See or video: How to Set a Clear Vision and Mission for your Team | Video
- introducing them to their colleagues and their work
- setting up necessary familiarization and training
- covering necessary admin and logistics
We have a full conversation video on this topic: Onboarding a New Team – with Elizabeth Harrin | Interview
You need to get your project started well. So if that’s your next task, take a look at our articles:
- How to Make Your Next Kick-off Meeting a Huge Success
- 10 Step Risk Management Kick-off for Your Project
Once a team member is on board and one of the team, you’ll need to start them working alongside the team. In this Project HR Management Process, you’ll need the skills to get productive work from your team.
I would say that it is essential to share your full plan with your team. Better still is engaging them in creating it. When your team helps build the plan, it becomes ‘their plan’. This has advantages:
- Better plan, because more minds have created it
Deeperunderstanding of the plan
- Higher levels of commitment to the plan
Here are some articles you may like:
- 12 Project Planning Mistakes… and How to Fix Them
- Project Planning Process: Navigate the Many Steps You Need
- Project Planning Process – How to Build Effective Project Plans | Video
- The Key Deliverable of Your Project Plan | Video
- Building a Project Plan – Conversation with Kristina Kushner | Video
Competency Matching and Allocation
You probably did not recruit every member of your team with a specific role in mind. So, for each stage of your project, you’ll need to assign team members to work packages. The process of allocating a work package is very similar to delegation.
- What is
a WorkPackage? | Video
- What is Delegation? | Video
- How to Delegate | Video
- Full Course: How to Delegate without Stress
Another vital task is to monitor team
Team management is a big part of project human resource management because in projects we tend to work in teams. For small projects, it’s one big team. On larger projects, you’ll have multiple teams, each working on their own workstream or work package.
As a result, we have several articles that will give you different perspectives:
- What You Need to Know about Building a Great Project Team
- Ten Ways to Win Team Commitment on Your Project
- Effective Teamwork: Do You Know How to Create it?
- The Single Best Team Effectiveness Tool | Video
- Build High-Performing Project Teams – Conversation with Charles Vivian
Team Structure and Culture
Good team performance starts from the culture you foster. Two models are particularly useful here:
- The Tuckman Model of how groups evolve – and what you can do as a team leader, to encourage a group to form a high-performing team
- The Belbin Model of Team Roles – which will help you understand how people act in teams and can lead to a diagnosis of what’s wrong with an underperforming team. It’s usually one more roles missing. Or, it can easily be two or more people trying to play the same role in a competitive (and therefore disruptive) way.
We have articles to help you understand project culture and these two valuable models:
- Real Project Team: What Will You Do to Create One? | Video
- Project Culture: What it is and How to Craft it
- What is the Tuckman Model of Group Development? | Video
- Get Better Results from you Team with Tuckman
- What is the Belbin Team Profile? | Video
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Diverse teams have far greater potential than a homogenous team of people who look, act, and think like one another. So, you have three tasks:
- Bring together a diverse team
- Ensure that everyone can and does participate fully
- Create an environmemt where everyone feels comfortable, welcome, and an equal member of the team
Take a look at these resources to help you understand the issues:
- How to Support Diversity and Inclusion in Your Team | Video
- Building Inclusive Teams: A Conversation with Anita Phagura of Fierce Project Management
Collaboration can create so much more than solo efforts in parallel. But it takes work to build good collaboration. Here are three things. First, a short video defining collaboration and explaining what you need to get it. And second, an article on how I go about creating it. Finally, some leadership tips:
- What is Collaboration? | Video
- How I Create Exceptional Project Collaboration
- Project Team Leadership: 5 Tips for Leading Your Project Team | Video
As a professional person, leading other professionals, learning should be of paramount importance to you. And often the best and deepest learning comes from reflecting on your experiences. Drawing lessons from your project is an art form, and we have an article (and summary video) that will help you.
- What are Lessons Learned? | Video
- How to Get Your Next Lessons Learned Meeting Right
- Lessons Learned Meeting: How to make it Excellent | Video
We also have a lot of articles and videos that draw Project Management lessons from a range of sources:
- Rock’n’Roll and Brown M&Ms – A Lesson for Project Managers | Video
- Building an Online Business: Project Management Lessons
- Ten Project Management Lessons I’ve Learned over the Years
- Project Management Lessons from:
You have a responsibility – dare I say a ‘duty of care’? – towards your team. You need to look after their well-being in what can be a highly stressful environment. So, be constantly alert for signs of stress. And, as soon as you spot something, take action. This article could easily be essential reading.
You also need to take care of yourself, by the way:
- Control Stress – or it will control you | Video
- Resilience for Project Managers: How to Build it and Regain it
- Podcast: Project Management and Resilience
Health & Safety
I hope I don’t need to reming=d you that you also have a responsibility towards the Health and Safety of your team members. In most countries, there will be extensive legislation and regulation you must comply with. And, depending on your industry sector, your organization may also have a load more requirements for you to work within.
The topic of remote teams has become a significant priority for many project managers through 2020 and 2021. So, we have two articles you may like:
- Managing Remote Teams: How to Meet the Challenges
- Remote Project Management: Get a Grip on the Path to Success
Over-stretching people is a sure route to burnout and stress… and project failure. We talked about the need to balance workloads and also to fit them around other work and non-work commitments in Part 1 of this Guide. But for a short-cut to
When you want to stretch a person’s capabilities, give them a developmental experience, or create the basis for greater team resilience, one option is always worth considering: delegation. This is giving part of your work to someone else.
Motivation is what gets us through tough patches and keeps us going. It’s a highly personal thing: some of the things that motivate me won’t interest you. And vice versa. So we need to motivate our team through each individual, and that’s how I wrote this guide:
Something I have always considered to be an important part of my role is developing the people who work for me. A lot of this comes through the assignments I set, and how I supervise them. But there are formal means we need to use, too. Such as:
Here are some articles to get you started:
- How Coaching Skills will Make You a Better Project Leader
- What is the GROW Model of Coaching? | Video
- Mentoring Skills: How to Mentor a More Junior Project Manager
- How to Get Yourself a Project Management Mentor – You may need one, or you may want to point your people towards finding
one,if you aren’t the right person to help them
- The Definitive Guide to Why a Good Online Project Management Course Beats Live Training
- What are T Shaped People? | Video
Feedback is the juice that grows our skills. Giving feedback is the greatest gift to a committed professional. So, here’s an article that will show you how:
- Performance Feedback for Project Team Members: In a Nutshell
- How to Determine an Appropriate Feedback Approach | Video
- The Value of Positive Feedback | Video
Also, keep an eye on our sister channel, Management Courses. We’ll be rolling out our free course on Feedback, during the autumn of 2021.
At some stage, you’ll need to handle roll-offs from your project. Towards the end, your team members will start to get twitchy. They’ll not want to miss the next opportunity, so their feet will start to itch. Keeping them as prisoners can be counter-productive though. If their heart is no longer in it… Remember: ‘attitude over skills’.
Keep them motivated by letting everyone know you are looking out for opportunities for them and are eager to help them get staffed on their next project.
And, when a team member leaves, you can handle it well and make it a good experience for everyone. Or you can stuff it up and leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It’s your choice.
Here’s how to do it well: The Essential Guide to Handling a Team Member Leaving Your Project
The last Project Human Resource Management Process is the collection of people skills you’ll need. It’s a huge set of topics – not least because it includes communication and leadership!
Let’s kick off with some general or hard-to-classify articles and videos that I think will be helpful to you:
- How to Get People to Do What You Ask Them to Do? | Video
- How to Make a Good Project into a Brilliant Project
- The Best Personal Effectiveness Books for Project Managers
- What is Monkey Management (Onken’s Monkey)? | Video
- What You Need to Know about How People Respond to Change
Emotional Intelligence is no longer a 1990s fad. It’s a solid post in the workplace landscape. I’ve yet to do a piece for you n this topic (it’s on my list – don’t worry). But here are some articles that touch on aspects of your role where EI is particularly necessary. In the meantime, here’s an excellent short introductory article from the Harvard Business Review site.
But here are some articles that touch on aspects of your role where EI is particularly necessary.
- Emotional Intelligence: The Secret to Being an Excellent Project Manager
- A Simple Way to Develop Interpersonal Skills for Project Managers
- Professional Networking Skills: Guide to How to Network Effectively
- Managing Conflict: Everything a Project Manager Needs to Know
- Conflict Management: Ways to Get it Right | Part 2
- Full Course: Dealing with Conflict in Projects
At the heart of ‘
- Great Team Communication: The 10 Commandments
- Effective Speaking: How to Speak so People Listen
- Managing Difficult Conversations: A Guide for Project Managers
- Persuasion and Influence: A Thorough Introduction
- What is Transactional Analysis? | Video
- Project Communication: Stop Using Telegrams – Get Better Project Results | Video
- Challenging Communication Tips for Better Project Communication | Video
- Communication Skills for Project Managers | The Best Books
What is the one topic about which you’ll find more books on the business shelves of a large bookshop? Yup, it’s leadership. So, we have even more articles on this subject than on communication. Each one will give you a different insight to test out and apply in your work.
- Project Manager to Project Leader: How Big is the Step?
- How Servant Leadership can Deliver Better Results from Your Project Team
- What is Servant Leadership? Project Leadership at its Best | Video
- Leadership Models Project Managers Need to Know | Video
- The Four Essentials of Project Team Leadership
- Leading without Authority: How to Manage and Lead People | Video
- LEAD: Your Four Project Leadership Priorities
- Get Better Project Results with Personal Leadership
- What does Cross-Cultural Leadership Mean for Project Managers?
- What is Situational Leadership? | Video
- How to Get the Best from Your Project Team with Situational Leadership
- What is Transformational Leadership? | Video
- Five Project Leadership Tips: Be a Better Project Leader | Video
- Project Team Leadership: 5 Tips for Leading Your Project Team | Video
- Full Course: Day- to-Day Leadership that Gets Results
Meetings! Aargh! some people love them, and many hate them. But they are work, and you need to do them well.
- How to Run a Really Great Project Meeting
- Meeting Actions: How to get People to do Them | Video
- 5 Tips for Better Meetings | Video
- How to Hold a Daily Stand-up Meeting | Video
- The Rule of Silence: The Free Source of Power in a Meeting | Video
- Full Course: Leading Effective One-on-One Meetings
What is Your Point of View on Project Human Resource Management?
Please do share your thoughts in the comments section below. I love reading them and will respond to all contributions.