Leadership

Proper planning of resources essential to successful projects

With any project, proper planning is the key to success. In my experiences, the area most overlooked in a typical project is the proper planning of the resources and their allocation. Here are tips for getting that part down.

With any project, proper planning is the key to success. In my experiences, the area most overlooked in a typical project is the proper planning of the resources and their allocation.

Most of us are somewhat familiar with the role a project manager will play in a project, and that is to manage the project. Part of that duty is to have a strong process in place to manage those who are around you so they can successfully complete the task at hand. In this blog, I'll review the necessary areas that are covered in the Human Resource Planning phases of a project. This information will help you determine what resources are needed, when will they will be necessary and how you can get them.

Plan human resources

Using your company's EEF (Enterprise Environment Factors), OPA (Organization Process Assets), and your project management plan, you can start working on Human Resource Planning. Begin by creating you Role and Responsibilities Matrix, Staff Management Plan, and OBS (Organizational Breakdown Structure). Early on in your project the OBS will look like an organizational chart showing the different roles that will be needed for the project with very few actual names assigned.

Acquire the project team

Since you're now aware of the types of players that you'll need and what the responsibilities are for each, you can start work on acquiring the necessary resources. Again using the EEF and OPA as guides, work with other members of the organization to determine which individuals are available. Check to see if they meet the necessary criteria and have them assigned to your team. If, afterwards, there are roles that remain unassigned, it may be necessary to go external to fill the vacancies. When this is done your Staffing Management Plan should reflect any of the changes that have been made, including items such as costs, and timetables release criteria. You should include an update to your Project Staff Assignments that outlines who works on the project full time, part-time, etc.

Manage the project team

Expect that things will be constantly in motion during the life of your project. Potential team members may come and go, the project scope may change, or you may You need to make sure that you're able to effectively manage through these events. Having a clearly defined monitoring process in place will allow you to keep tabs on your teams' performance and behavior while still being able to coordinate any changes or resolve issues that arise during the course of events.

Develop the project team

Now that your team is together, you can start working to make it a more cohesive unit. This allows you to focus on areas such as trust and communications, which will enable overall project performance and let you schedule any training that may be required. You should maintain performance assessments throughout the project so that both team and individual performance criteria is kept up to date.

Project teams are made up of individuals who fulfill the various roles necessary for the project's success: from the project manger who is responsible for all the planning, costing, execution, and control, to the team that executes the plan. In between, there are the project sponsors who help define and refine the project scope and senior management who approve the project and its deliverables. Spending time to clearly define the role and responsibilities of the team members will help you ensure its success.

Bill Stronge is a PMP certified Project Manager with a Global CPG organization currently focusing on eBusiness projects. During his 14+ years he has worked on enterprise wide applications in both a developer and architect role as well as a project manager leading teams of various sizes. He can be reached for questions at wstronge@hotmail.com.

9 comments
ndsatya
ndsatya

It seems to be directly from PMP - KA Process Areas. Manage Project Team will come after Develop Project Team then! Satya

phyllisdinaro
phyllisdinaro

This blog was insightful on the big picture, but how would you estimate duration?

vzaballa
vzaballa

The author assumes familiarity with the jargon he is familiar with and which is not industry widespread.

marty.benner
marty.benner

I jumped at this post because the title is right on target to one of my biggest hurdles in portfolio management--human resources. I have several projects going with many of the same people and I don't know how to show management that many people are over utilized. You say, "Again using the EEF and OPA as guides, work with other members of the organization to determine which individuals are available." Does anyone have more details on how an enterprise can keep track of what percentage of time staff are assigned to operational work and what percentage of time they are assigned to specific projects?

Bill Stronge
Bill Stronge

Thank you for pointing this out for the readers as you are absolutely correct that the PMBOK has them in that particular order in Version 3 for this Knowledge Area. My intention in the article though was to try and walk you through planning from a more practical approach as I have seen it occur successfully. In my experiences outside of the normal Integrated Change Control processes the development and management phases are constantly happening and I rarely consider one to come before the other.

Bill Stronge
Bill Stronge

This can be a bit tricky depending on your experiences and your organization. I have worked on projects which have taken a very mathematical approach as well as using a basic low/medium/high estimate on individual tasks. There is an article from awhile ago here that talks about a more simple method which you should take a look at that can help you. http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6160572.html Good Luck.

Bill Stronge
Bill Stronge

I can see your perspective that the terms that I am using may not be as familiar to everybody. The reason I didn't go deep on them was because many of these terms will relate to the project management process as a whole not specifically to this one topic. It does give me food for thought though that it may make sense to have a separate piece to further define these items if we feel there is an need by the readers. Thanks !

dcardozo4
dcardozo4

One option is to leverage a tool like Project Server 2007. Project Server enables you to manage both Enterprise Projects and Enterprise Resources. Over-allocated resources become visible during specific time periods and can ?leveled? to resolve conflicts. It does take discipline for users to keep the tool updated with assignments and progress, but your goal is achievable with proper implementation.

Nunob
Nunob

I am new to project management and I am being thrust into this position that I have no real world experience in. I would love to have more about the terms and also any other resources that you have found to be helpful in your experiences. To note I will be managing small projects like migrating domains and installations so nothing massive but I want to increase my companies profit margin on these jobs and be able to demonstrate that value add of managing projects as opposed to just throwing people at it till its done. Thank you in advance if you can help I greatly appreciate it.