Human resource management

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Developed by Harald Hersted



Human resource management is a branch off the "Human behaviour" aspect in Project Management. Human resource management is a toolbox for managers to best allocate their human resources possible. There has been a lot of focus on human resources in the latest years as competition grows, and therefore all screws tightens in all parts of an organization. The idea with Human resource management is to maximize the output of the employees, not only short term, but also long term. Long term and short term do not necessarily align, there are also other aspects such as, what members and personalities are within the team, what are the company values and are the goal/tasks identifiable for the individuals. All these things creates a complex web of just some of the important identifiable when managing human resource. Another thing is the growing complexity in jobs, and the wider requirements with often the same resources. This is due to the growing level of automation even in administrative jobs. To get ahead of others, managers must manage the human resources to every individual fullest potential.

There are different levels of human resource management when it comes to projects: (Plan Human resource, Acquire project team, Develop Project Team and Manage Project Team) All 4 have to be in order to have a successful team, that improves the quality of a project, and improve their own ability for future projects. [1] [2]


One thing all change management tools have in common is the description of a Team, or the description of the necessity of the "right" team. This article will describe the team in Human resource management in 4 steps according to A PPMBOK guide[2] First step is the Plan of human resource made from the Project management plan. After the ’plan of human resources’, you can go on to the ’acquiring of project team’ which then leads to "Develop project team", where the human resources are dealt within the project. The last step is the "Manage project team" which looks at the management off the team. they are all linked in a chain of information, and should be seen as a whole.

Big idea

Plan Human resource:


According to PMBOK Guide The planning of human ressource management is based on three things. . All three elements are necessary to start planning the human resources:

1. Project management plan - Which is the project plan that describes the project life cycle and how each phase will be executed. It also describes the criteria of how to successfully complete the different tasks within the change. There should also be a description of how communication among stakeholders is performed.

2. Activity resource requirements - Is an estimate of the resources needed for each task, this includes equipment, supplies required and human resource. It is through this description that requirements regarding what team members are necessary to carry the change can begin.

3. Organizational process assets and Enterprise Environmental factor - This includes information about the organizational culture and structure. But also the Human resources that are within the organization and the geographical position of these members. If the right employee, is in another department or another country, some issues could occur. [2]



It is needed to descripe or document the roles and responsibilities of each member, cause by doing so it becomes clear what and where all members belong in the project. There are Multiple ways of formatting this structure, such as hierarchical, matrix and text-oriented. each one has its advantage. It's a lot more common to see hierarchical structures in USA and perhaps more matrix structures in Denmark. The overall goal for any chart is assign a function with an activity and thereby showing where all the different responsibilities lies. The structure also relies on the culture in the business and country that the project is in.

To sustain the best possible planning of human resources, many approaches can be made. Organizational theory, expert judgment and meetings are different tools that can help gain knowledge and improve the way members interact with others.


It is important that the team members gain insight in eachothers function, and that everyone reach a consensus of how the Human resource plan is distributed between members.

Expert judgment

When picking the right candidate for a function, it can be useful to have an expert to list the primary skills required for the function and then establish a view of how much effort should be put into meeting projects objectives. Based off of this, a member should always be found within an organization if possible. Always identify the risk associated with any staff choice, as this person could be needed in another project in the future.

Organizational theory

Organizational theory is used to understand the people and how they behave. Choosing the right person for a group, or the right group for a person, can optimize group performance and, thereby lower the project cost or reduce delay. It is important to understand the individuals and their goals, go understand how and what will happen if someone is put into a team. Be aware that the organizational structure can have high relevance depending of the people and their shared values. Another thing is the role of the manager, who will have to be able to control the team, to insure a strict alignment with the project. [2]


The overall output from the human resource planning should be a chart of all functions and with a description of what each functions role and responsibility are within the project. There should also be a staff management plan that describes the different team members need for resources during the project. The information of the Project management plan should be updates during the execution of the project, to keep track of resources and to plan ahead.

From the planning phase It should be clear what each team positions/member needs are to fulfill their tasks. Some might need training or permission to be able to deliverer what was promised. The Human Resources Plan must be based off of all, and also present a schedule or time table of how and what resources are used within the team. The more detailed the easier it is, to do a risk analysis of the project, both on cost and time. [2]

Acquire project team

When acquiring a team some basic considerations should be made by the manager.

First: Always be aware of who to effectively negotiate with to get the human resources for the project that is being set up. This is important as key players/members might be hard to acquire from an organization.

Second: If the right members cannot be acquired due to other factors, such as economical or unavailability, the project must then be carried out with alternative members, which could affect the entire team. Insufficient human resources could lead to delayed projects or in worst cases have the project cancelled.


The input is the Human resource plan that has all the roles and responsibilities defined. The other thing needed to start setting up the team is the organizations members and their availability and skills. If there is documentation of future struggles or necessity this can be taken into consideration too.

Multi Criteria decision analysis

There are multiple tools to link supply and demand in human resource when acquiring a project group. One is highlighted -Multi-Criteria decision analysis-.

It is a system that lets the different candidats be evaluated within the different criteria that are found necessary for the position. It also allows for a factoring in which of the different criteria that are most important. Which means if experience and charisma are rated a lot more important than age and education, these factors will way in higher, then trying to find the right candidate for a position. Figure 1.0 illustrates how its done.

The multi criteria decision analysis, allows hard numbers to tell who is the right candidates for the position, and also allows a manager to pick any number of criteria and which of the criteria that factors the most.


Figure 1.0


The output that should come from this are Project staff assignments, resource calendars and updates upon the original project management plan.

The staff will be assigned the different positions and the resource plan can then be made from this knowledge too. The more detailed the assignments the better the plan.[2]

Develop Project Team:

The key when developing a project team, is to have the members enhance each other and bring motivation to the project, resulting in an overall higher project performance.


When developing the project team(s) is it important to have established the Human resource management plan and the acquired project team. From these the human resource plan, staff assignments and resources calendar brings the knowledge to develop the project teams. Based on this different tools can be used to assemble these teams, to enhance the performance of the full project.



There are two sides to which training can lean. First there is the direct training that follows typically education, classrooms, on-job training and online courses. But there is also the indirect training that comes secondly from the direct education. This is the behaviour in a work place or how to operate the tools learned in real life. Indirect training has to be constantly updated. The updates could come from observation and should not be valued lower than direct training As a project leader keep in mind that training cost should be included in the project budget, even though the skills that is taught to the employees can last must longer than the project.


Perhaps the most important tool for a team is team-work. And to form this team-work, ground rules and colocation can be necessary. Ground rules, is basic behaviour, displayed and told to the team. This creates an opening for the group to establish a set of rules and therefore bring them a sens of a team, from the beginning. The other tool "colocation" is to put the team in the same location to then make the team-work become a short-cut when running the project, resulting in improved communication and better team-work. It must be noted that there are some downsides to this, as this also encourage small-talk, and enable members to go in depth with things, as they get easily get interrupted interrupted.

Recognition and Reward

As a manager of a team, rewards and recognition has to be a part of the routine. People are motivated if they feel involved and valuable. Some systems base their rewards and recognition on the money, this is seen in the sales industry, where part of the sales are directly put in pocket of the salesman. Other systems gives titles to show recognition, some organizations have "employee of the month". Nothing is wrong with any of these systems as different people want/need different types of recognition and rewards. But as a general rule, a manager should give rewards all the way through the project, instead of waiting till the end. Changing rewards systems can be difficult if it doesn't benefit the employees, but if necessary change management tools can be used.[3]


Team performance assessment criteria should be determined, and put into the development if the project teams. The performance should be measured by the criteria that is set up and how well these have been achieved. Criteria such as:

- Staff turnover rate

- Budget constraints

- Project schedule

Based on the criteria, the manager can establish where the training helped, and where there should be improvements.[2]

Manage Project Team

"Manage project team" is the last step in Human resource management. This is the step where the team is managed doing the project. This is about maximizing the performance of the team, by tracking KPI's and providing the right feedback for the team during the project. Issues that could occur are also handled during the project, to keep the team on track till they reach the goal.


The inputs for this last phase are the Human resource management plan including the Roles and responsibilities, Project organization and Staff management plan. These provide all the resources and skills available and how they have been allocated throughout the project. To further the management team performance, assessment is also needed to track the teams KPI's and monitor the performance. An ’Issue Log’ might be a good idea, in case any issues occur, because it can help eliminate the problem in the future.


The manager can use a lot of tools, to manage the team, but the most commonly used is Observation/Conversation which is essential but must never be forgotten. If there are no Observation/Conversation a project easily go in the wrong direction in a very short period of time, and you therefore always need to be prepared and look ahead.

Conflict Management

Most people have experienced conflict management, as it perhaps inevitable at least the smaller conflicts. The PMI standard argues that conflicts should be approached in private in a direct way, at an early stage.[2] This might not always be the best way for a leader to handle conflict. Sometimes people grow wiser if they get to resolve their problems themselves, but this only applies when the conflicts are solvable.

There are in general 5 ways to manage human conflict:

1) Withdraw/avoid: When a conflict is about to happen, attention is drawn to another place, to avoid the conflict. From here both parts can prepare their arguments for and against, or other people could end up solving the problem.

2) Smooth/Accommodate: While most people have a tendency to focus on the negative, the manager will here try to focus on the positive things, that parties agree upon, and uses this (small or big) common ground to persuade parties to agree.

3) Compromise/Reconcile: This way of managing conflict is to give both parties something that will satisfy them, and negotiate the rest, or just leave out the rest, as it might damage further progress.

4) Force/Direct: This way of "resolving" a conflict is only done by top management, and often when there isn't time to negotiate. It can also be done when a new strategy is forced upon the organization.

5) Collaborate/problem solve: Collaboration and problem solving is a tool that is often used in businesses, and has the advantage that it improves teamwork skills, and the solutions will be one that everyone is comfortable with. This has the downside, that it often takes longer time, and therefore also more money, at least short term.


The output from mange project team are the "change requests" which is when the budget doesn't hold or the schedule must be extended. Change requests are the counter action for these difficulties that must then be made to get back on track, Which could include training, additional resources, cut in resources and redirection of resources. This is an ongoing circle through the project, where every change request must be handled, to stay on track, but also that one change request may lead to another till the goal is reached.

At the end of a project there should also be an Issue log that describes The issues doing the project, and how it can be solved.

At the end personal and organizational updates must also be made, as the employees will have acquired some knowledge and skills that needs to be evaluated and stored, in all levels of the organization.[2]


There will have to be a fine line between what is necessary for a project and what is not. Although all of what is stated in this article will benefit the project, it shall be considered in regards of what cost? It might become a too detailed plan for a small project. The multi criteria analysis is perhaps not important at all, as there is an obvious candidate for most jobs in reality. And should then only be used in circumstances where the candidates are not obvious. Another thing Is that the information needed, will most often not be available beforehand, as the information or data to do these analyses don't exist, and must then be created, which could slow down the process too much, to become a reality.


  1. R.D. Hodgkinson, (1987), Property Management, Vol. 5 Issue: 4, pp.328-335,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Project Management Institute, (January 01, 2013), A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Vol. 5, ISBN-13 978-1-935589-67-9, chapter 9
  3. John Hayes, (2014), he theory and practice of change management, Vol. 4, ISBN-13 978-1-137-27534-9, c


name="The theory and practice of change management"> John Hayes, (2014), he theory and practice of change management, Vol. 4, ISBN-13 978-1-137-27534-9. This books goes to depth with how to change an organization and with 5 phases " start, diagnosis, plan, implement, sustain" and with this delivers many tools that can be used as a leader to work with a tea or and organization. An to understand what changes are improving the change and slowing the change.

name="Developmenst and validation of en employee voice stragegy scale through four studies in japan"> Masaki Matsunaga, (Obtober 2014),Developmenst and validation of en employee voice stragegy scale through four studies in japan. This studie shows how important the employees voice is to company. even though this is conducted in Japan it is still applicable here in the western world.

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