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Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management consists of the following processes. See also Knowledge Areas - Human Resources.

Process Project Phase
  Plan human resource management   Planning
  Aquire final project team   Executing
  Develop team   Executing  
  Manage team   Monitoring & Controlling  

HR Planning

In the planning phase, there are several items that need to be considered. Staffing plans and position descriptions must be developed. As a project manager, you must also negotiate for resource availability, and evaluate where work can be performed (ie, virtual, co-located, etc). Another critical task is to understand skill sets and training needs. You will also need to consider how you will recognize the team and create recognition systems.

Aquire Final Team

As you begin the process to aquire the final team, you will need to continue to negotiate for the best resources and finalize decisions on how resources will work and where they will be located (ie, virtual, co-located, etc). Finally, you will hire the resources to support the project.

Develop Team

BruceLee

“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.”   Bruce Lee

Many project managers underestimate the importance of developing the team, since many times the resources are not direct reports, but are matrixed to the project manager.

As a leader and professional, you should seek to develop not only yourself, but be willing to develop and share knowlege with others as well.

Benefits include decreased turnover, improved skill sets, and improved team work.

Team Initiation

      Team Initiation

Team Evolution

      Team Evolution

Manage Team

Motivating and Leading

As a project manager, you will need to manage people to get the work done. And most of the time, the resources won't report directly to you. So you need to learn to manage without authority. Thus understanding how to motivate people is critical. Also, you will need to leverage the appropriate leadership style depending on the situation.

Typically relying on saying "because I said so" simply doesn't work. If you have children you may have already discovered this. No expert study is required. Fear and intimidation doesn't really work either, particularly in the long run. You may already have or eventually will encounter this type of manager. They are typically easy to spot. But if you don't catch on to the numerous unsubtle clues, just look for the department with the high turnover.

I'll share a true story here to help illustrate the point.

Years ago, at an All Hands meeting, a new HR executive delivered a speech where he revealed in a ranting fashion the new dictates he would mandate. The first question raised was met with the stern response, "if you don't like it leave. If any of you don't like, then leave. There's the door." It certainly was a very powerful and motivational speech. And it definitely produced results. Although I'm not sure it produced the results he or the company intended.

Within a month, 80% of the IT department walked. They took his advice and found the door. And he got to put on his resume and substantiate any claim of being a "results-oriented" manager delivering an 80% turnover rate in less than 1 month. I learned alot not only from the observing the results, but also from observing the behavioral response of the associates. Everyone pulled together to help and support each other to find meaningful employment elsewhere. Team work in action. Amazing what can be accomplished when a team pulls together. But wouldn't you rather use this for a productive means and to your advantage to ensure the desired result? Be careful. Power of motivation can work in more than one way.

An alternative approach is empowerment. I'll share another story from my career.

I was working on a project with a senior colleague who I knew and had an established rapport. So what could go wrong I thought? However, I started to have doubts as I noticed she was acting out of character and insecure, waiting for my every direction to do her job. As I continued to observe her behavior, I wondered why she was feeling intimidated and not empowered to deliver at her full potential. I needed her expertise for any chance of success. So I told her candidly that she had expertise that was critical for the project success. I continued to say that I can't tell her how to do her job, so I'd be relying on her expertise and guidance. This approach produced results in 30 seconds. She responded immediately, showing confidence and took charge of her deliverables as an empowered team player. Needless to say, the project was a success because we delivered as an empowered and motivated team.

So be aware of your leadership style. Wouldn’t you rather motivate others to work with you and not against you? Empowerment can help you to achieve this goal and enables and inspires others to perform to their potential to achieve maximum results.

Leadership styles

Some common management/leadership styles are as follows.

Motivation theories

"Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."   Dwight D. Eisenhower

And to get more insights into human behaviour, you could also read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. In it, the main character Tom, is a mischievous boy who cleverly persuades his friends to trade him for the "privilege" of doing his work (painting a fence). Although it is not on the exam, it's a classic (albeit no longer politically correct to teach in schools). And for those who have not yet read it, an exerpt follows.

"Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign."   www.pbs.org/marktwain/

Conflict Management

Many of the questions on the PMP exam will be situational and will deal with handling conflict because this is such an important and challenging topic.

Most of the time, conflicts on projects occur over the following issues:

Many perceive conflict as negative and believe that it should be avoided or eliminated whenever possible. While conflict may be unpleasant, it is inevitable. And not all conflict is bad. Conflict presents opportunities for improvement and as such must be dealt with.

Let's consult Bruce Lee once again for some words of wisdom.

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
"Out of chaos, find simplicity, From discord, find harmony."

Conflict is best resolved by those involved in the conflict as illustrated by Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver and Violet Rutherford in the Black Eye episode of "Leave It to Beaver" which aired in 1957.

Beaver

"You wanna be 'gressive?"   "'Gressive?"

"'Cause if you wanna be 'gressive, I can be just as 'gressive as you can."   "I don't know how to play. What's 'gressive?"

"That means do you wanna fight?"   "No. I don't wanna fight."

"Okay. what else do you wanna do?"   "I don't know. Let's go spit off the bridge."

"Uh-uh. I did that on the way over here."   "Let's go look at the lady in the jiggle belt."

However, in real life situations, not all conflict is resolved this easily. And in some cases the project manager may need to get involved and possibly escalate to resolve.

The key is learning how to deal with conflict by using appropriate conflict resolution techniques.

Below are some conflict resolution techniques:

Here's some examples from famous movies which demonstrate conflict resolution techniques in action. Take this quiz to see if you can identify the technique being used.

      Conflict Resolution Quiz

Additional Information

      Visit the Human Resource Management Bookshelf to search for books available for purchase.

     "Motivating & Leading Project Teams" as published in Project Times, a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP)

     "What is Your Leadership Style?" as published in Way2PM.com, a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP)

     "Team Dynamics" as published in Ganthead, the online community for IT Project Managers

     "Collaboration Characters" as published in Ganthead, the online community for IT Project Managers

     "Conflict Management" as published in Project Times, a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP)

     Resource Management on Wikipedia

     HR Management Sample Questions


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