McLaughlin and McLaughlins Project Professional’s post is the first in a series of discussions regarding current challenges being encountered in today’s efforts/environment associated with the human resource aspects of your project management team.  More specifically, we have titled the series STAFFING YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM, and we intend to focus heavily on the managerial aspects of human resource planning and acquisition.  This post is the introduction which frames out or structures the developing discussion.

Authoritative information and guidance regarding project management comes from many sources.  A few that may be obvious include:

In order to frame and organize this topic, we are using the PMI Project Management Processes for a Project as presented in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) .

Sources that are used in this post are:

The planning process in general and the human resource management process in particular, tend to be problematic.  Many teams and organizations struggle with how to perform the planning and implementation.  In this regard, the order or sequence of planning is quite important.  A proper sequence creates efficiency and avoids costly and time-consuming rework as well as delays in performance/completion.

The planning process differs for differing organizations and types of projects.  PMBOK® provides guidance regarding the generic planning and management process (PMBOK, CHAPTER 9).  This can be adapted to the organizational structure and project specifics.

This PMBOK® process is structured around four sub-processes:

  • “9.1 Develop Human Resource Plan”
  • “9.2 Acquire Project Team”
  • “9.3 Develop Project Team”
  • “9.4 Manage Project Team”

Each of these sub-processes will be the subject of future posts.  We intend to discuss challenges and suggested solutions to issues.

Kerzner addresses the subject in (among other places) Chapter 4 ORGANIZING AND STAFFING THE PROJECT OFFICE AND TEAM. Several of his key topics are:

  • “4.0 Introduction”
  • “4.1 The Staffing Environment”
  • “4.2 Selecting the Project Manager: An Executive Decision”
  • “4.3 Skill Requirements for Project and Program Managers”
  • “4.7 Duties and Job Description”
  • “4.8 The Organizational Staffing Process”
  • “4.9 The Project Office”
  • “4.10 The Functional Team”
  • “4.11 The Project Organizational Chart”
  • “4.13 Selecting the Project Management Implementation Team”

Again, these topics will receive elaboration in subsequent posts in this Subject Series.

When performing planning and developing the Project Management Plan, expert judgment is often utilized.  PMBOK® lists the following areas for application of project planning expertise, which would include preparation of the Human Resource Plan (a portion of the Project Management Plan):

  • “Tailor the process to meet the project needs,”
  • “Develop technical and management details to be included in the Project Management Plan,”
  • “Determine resources and skill levels needed to perform project work,”
  • “Define the level of configuration management to apply on the project, and”
  • “Determine which project documents will be subject to the formal change control process.”

In subsequent posts, we will address issues or problems often encountered in Staffing your Project Management Team.

The experience of McLaughlin and McLaughlin includes the planning and resourcing of many large and complex projects.  Within these projects, M&M has found that time and patience applied during the project planning is essential and invaluable relative to project success potential.  Further, M&M experience is that lack of robust Human Resource Plan can seriously degrade the project success potential.

Good luck and let us all attempt to approach the practice or managerial challenge of staffing with key knowledge, tools and lessons learned that are available.  Setting a solid planning foundation as well as implementing a suitable process is essential and has long term (project duration) benefits.  M&M wishes you happy reading and good luck in your project management challenges and endeavors.


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