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Project Human Resource Management

What is Project Human Resource Management?


Project human resource management includes the processes that organize, manage, and lead the project team. The following processes and the primary goals of Project human resource management are defined below:


  • Develop human resource plan. Goal: human resource plan
  • Acquire project team. Goal: project staff assignments
  • Develop project team. Goal: team performance assessments
  • Manage project team. Goal: updates

Project Human Resource Management

Project human resource management describes the processes that enable the project manager to organize and lead the project team. A subset of the project team is the project management team, which is responsible for leadership activities in each of the five major process groups.

Part of the role of the project manager in managing the project team is to influence the team when human resource factors may impact the project, and to ensure professional and ethical behavior at all times when conducting project activities.

When developing the human resource plan, the project manager needs to understand what enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets can affect the outcome of the project.

Enterprise Environmental Factors - these elements need to be addressed thoroughly, especially when it comes to organizational and political issues. Remember the definition of a stakeholder? It is anyone that can be positively or negatively impacted by your project. If there is a negative impact on a stakeholder, that stakeholder may have a completely different agenda and may work against successful completion of the project. The project manager's job is to uncover any alternative agendas and work with stakeholders to ensure their needs are met.

Organizational Process Assets –the elements that will assist the project manager are standardized matrices such as standardized roles and responsibilities as well as any documented and repeatable processes. Usually an organization will have established templates and tools (e.g. progress reports, executive dashboards, change request forms, etc.) that are subsumed inside the organization's PMIS. Historical data from previous projects and organizational structures that have been successful on previous projects can serve as guidance for the project manager.

Human Resource Roles

The key responsibilities of each group are listed below:

The Project Sponsor

  • Protects the project from external influences
  • Provides funding
  • Approves the charter and PM Plan
  • Sets priorities between projects
  • Identifies Project Manager and authority level
  • Approves or rejects changes
  • Formally accepts deliverables or product of project

The Stakeholders

  • May have PM plan signoff responsibilities
  • Validate Scope and deliverables
  • May be part of the change control process for approvals/rejections
  • Provide requirements

The Line (functional) Manager

  • Provides project resources and SME’s (in a matrixed organization)
  • Participates in initial planning
  • Manages project activities that fall to their area
  • May address team member performance with the project manager

The Project Manager

  • May contribute to writing the project charter
  • Is responsible for all aspects of the project:
    • Project management planning
    • Communications to stakeholders
    • Change management planning
    • Creating all needed management plans (scope, time, budget, quality, communications, HR, risk and procurement)
    • Using metrics to measure project progress and implement changes or corrections when needed
    • Proactively addressing potential problems
    • Possesses the authority to accomplish the work of the project
    • Resolves variances to the project management plan with the team
    • Regularly and proactively addressing project risks with the team
    • Ultimately responsible for project success or failure

Develop Human Resource Plan

Developing the human resource plan includes the major headings listed below, along with a brief description of what is expected for each.

Roles and Responsibilities - can be assigned to a person or group. This defines roles, authority, responsibility, and competency. These individuals or groups can be within or outside the performing organization. The roles described for the project may not have a direct analog to a position within the organization. Thus it is the project manager's job to identify resources that can take on the responsibilities of the particular role needed for the project. These roles can be documented in a responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) in the form of a RACI chart (responsible, accountable, consult, inform)

Org Charts - an organizational breakdown chart (OBS) is critical for identifying management hierarchies in the project and identifying potential escalation paths should there be issues that the project manager has not been empowered to resolve. In a matrix organization this becomes a critical factor, as it may identify functional managers from whom the project manager secures resources for the project.  The org chart also works hand-in-hand with a roles and responsibilities chart, in that it will identify an unambiguous owner for each work package in the project.

Staffing Management Plan - this plan describes how human resource requirements will be met for the project. The plan can be formal or informal, detailed or general, depending on the project needs.  The staffing management plan is continually updated during the project and usually includes the following elements:
  • Staff Acquisition - identifies when specific resources roll on or off the project and the skill levels required of those resources
  • Resource Calendars - identifies when staff acquisition activities should begin as well as staff availability and hours available from a particular resource
  • Staff release plan - defines when resources are released from the project so that those resources are no  longer charged to the project
  • Training - may be required if the performing organization is dealing with a new or untried technology. It is also beneficial in that it will help team members attain certifications that support their ability to meet project requirements. In PMI’s view, training is not used as a ‘perk’.
  • Recognition and Rewards - the idea of a recognition and reward system is that it tends to promote desired behavior on the project. 
  • Compliance - this involves compliance with government regulations or union contracts in addition to established human resource policies
  • Safety - these include methods and procedures that are designed to protect team members from the potential safety hazards.  These elements are not only included in a staffing management plan, but can also be included in the risk register

PMP Certification Exam - Human Resource Management - Memory Check


  • ___Plan human resource management
  • ___Acquire project team
  • ___Develop project team
  • ___Manage project team

A. The process of improving competencies, team member interaction, and overall team environment to enhance project performance

B. The process of identifying and documenting project roles, responsibilities, required skills, reporting relationships, and creating a staffing management plan

C. The process of tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and managing changes to optimize project performance

D. The process of confirming human resource availability in obtaining the team necessary to complete project activities
Question 1: At the last progress meeting, some of the team members thought that they were going above and beyond the call of duty in delivering certain aspects of the project. The project manager agreed and thought that since these key members were carrying some extra responsibility, the project could afford some special rewards such as having dinner brought in after 6 p.m. and comp time for the extra hours expended by these employees. This type of reward is called:

a. Fringe benefit
b. Perk
c. Team building
d. Entitlement award

Question 2: A line manager in your organization is particularly difficult when dealing with project team members. He is suspicious of their work habits and feels that he must constantly micromanage their activities to ensure that the job gets done. This type of manager is known as:

a. Theory X manager
b. Theory Y manager
c. Expectation theory manager
d. Achievement theory manager

Question 3: The PM has been called by two of your project stakeholders to help resolve an issue. He sets up a brief meeting with the two stakeholders to listen to their concerns about a particular aspect of the current project. After hearing their concerns, his comment to both stakeholders is this: "I think you both made some good points here. Jerry, I think if we take part of your solution and combine it with some of Bill’s ideas, I think we can bring this to a successful conclusion." What type of conflict resolution technique was being employed by the project manager?

a. Smoothing
b. Confronting
c. Withdrawing
d. Collaborating
Answer: B – This is a perk. Fringe benefits are something all employees receive. Team building is an all-team activity. Entitlement award is made up.

Answer: A – This is a definition of a theory X manager

Answer: D – This best describes a collaboration between the stakeholders

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