Simplifying Project Human Resource Management – A 101 for Managers

Project Human Resource ManagementI get asked about project success criteria a lot, specifically about handling complex stages and elements of project management. So I thought let me start with handling the important and unpredictable elements crucial to project success- human resources. 

Let’s understand the concept of human resources with the help of an example. 

As a project manager, don’t we encounter such situations regularly wherein during the middle of a project, and suddenly the key developer or some important resource goes on leave because of some unavoidable reasons.

And on most occasions, we encounter issues with forming the team because most team members don’t have experience of Agile or Scrum or any other methodology imperative for the project.

These situations can not only delay the project delivery but also disturb the timeline of the entire project. This brings into the picture a lot of re-assigning the roles and passing-on the work to a new team member who may or may not work with the unfinished tasks efficiently. Further, you might face some difficulties in finding the new team member.

What’s the solution that can help to deal with such situations effectively? This is a million-dollar question, isn’t it?  

Well, the answer lies in proactive human resource management. You must be wondering how resource management can be of aid to cope with unseen project issues. Well, let’s start with a deeper understanding of the concept of human resource management. 

Understanding the Term- Project Human Resource Management

Project Human Resource Management is the process of managing every human resource or person or stakeholders related to any ongoing project and ensuring that the person works properly until the project delivery. 

Hence, it is the ability to lead and manage the human resources in project management so that the project timeline and the project itself, is not disturbed or affected.

In simpler words, a project taken up to organize, acquire, motivate, and manage the human resource of a company is a human resource project. So, basically, it is a project to organize and manage all the stakeholders such that their expectations and your goals are met without any misses and losses. It also comprises the processes to make the most effective use of the people working on a project and all the stakeholders.

Human resource management is a process that is executed in specific stages to ensure smooth delivery of the project. We’ll discuss these stages in detail in the later section of this blog.

Managing the Project Human Resource – Basics:

Project human resource management requires both – manual and automated management.

By automation, we mean project management software and tools. They assist the project managers in all stages of project human resource management. They also help in team formation, task allotment, tracking the work, and keeping a check on the performance. The project management software by ProProfs is a reliable and diverse software that offers an easy to use interface which is intuitive and has many functionalities to manage the project lifecycle and human resources in project management.

Now that we have had an initial idea about the concept, let us move on and explore the project human resource management and its need.

By now, you must have understood why it is essential to manage project human resources. Proper management of project human resource ensures:

  • Formation of efficient teams
  • Acquiring correct talent and skills
  • Putting people with the best experience on a project
  • Successful and timely project completion
  • Avoiding conflicts

Now, let us decode the various processes of management and find out how they increase work efficiency.

Project Human Resource Management Processes – Overview:

Project Human Resource Management ProcessAs mentioned above, the processes are:

  • Develop Human Resource Plan
  • Acquire Project Team
  • Develop Project Team
  • Manage Project Team

Let’s take a closer and deeper look at each of these processes

1. Develop Human Resource Plan:

It is done in the earliest stages of a project and involves identification and documentation of various roles, responsibilities, required skill-sets and reporting relationships, etc. Creating staffing management plans and assigning roles to various people or groups is also its part. Its output is a human resource plan. During this phase, the manager also does the following:

  • Identify the training needs
  • Devise team-building strategies
  • Rewards and recognition programs
  • Deciding measures for ensuring safety and compliance

A human resource plan offers guidance on staffing, management, forming teams, controlling all the stages of development, and project release. A well-planned human resource plan must have:

  • Project roles and responsibilities
  • Authorities to monitor various tasks or persons
  • Competency Details such as skills or capabilities required for project completion
  • Role Clarities and tracking methods etc

Let us find out what constitutes a Human Resource Plan!

Human Resource Plan – Components:

  •  Staffing Management Plan:

The staffing management plan describes how and when the project human resources are met. It can be formal or informal and broadly framed or highly detailed, depending on the project needs. It also has information on staff acquisition, resource calendars, training needs, and staff release, etc. Recognition or Rewards after project completion, compliance with government policies, and safety assurance are also planned and decided in this stage of the human resource plan. Hence, it is one of the most crucial stages of project human resource management.

  • Project Organization Chart:

This is a graphical display of the project team members and their professional relationships during the project lifecycle. It is also designed as per the project needs and can be detailed or broadly framed and formal or informal.

All these planning stages are highly crucial for the project development and can be easily managed with some smart and intuitive software for project human resource management plan. There are many free and paid options to choose from, such as the one offered by ProProfs. ProProfs project management software is easy to use, configure and comes with a lot of functionalities. Hence, it is a powerful aid in tackling the complex and strenuous project human resource management processes and their planning.

Let us move on to the other processes.

   2. Acquire Project Team:

In this process, the manager confirms human resource availability and collects the entire human resource necessary for project development. The manager has to keep many things in mind while acquiring the project team, such as:

  • Effectively communicate and negotiate with the sources of required human resources, especially if the acquisition includes freelancers or outsourcing.
  • Keep Plan B ready in case the acquired people or team fails to accomplish the assigned task owing to any reason.
  • Keep the alternative resources and people ready in case any person leaves or is not available for some time.

So, Virtual Teams, Acquisition, Negotiation, and Pre-assignment are the techniques that the manager uses in this process.

Once the Acquire Project Team process is complete, the manager gets the following outputs:

  • Assignments of Project Team
  • Resource Calendars
  • Project Management Plan updates

 3. Develop Project Team:

During this process, the competencies and interactions among the team members are established and enhanced to improve the project performance. The objectives of developing a project team are:

  • Enhancing the knowledge and skills of human resources involved in a project
  • Establishing trust and mutual agreement among the teammates
  • Enhancing the bonding of the teammates so that the individual and team productivity is improved

So, interpersonal skills, team building activities, rewards & recognition, and ground rules, etc. are used by the manager during this stage.

4. Manage Project Team:

This process covers the core managing aspects of project human resource management. So, it comprises feedback, tracking team and individual performance, managing the changes, and optimizing the project performance. During this stage, the manager should manage any evident or hidden conflicts, resolve the issues and observe the team behavior.

The various objectives of this process are:

  • Human resource plan updates
  • Submitting change results
  • Issue resolving
  • Performance appraisals
  • Adding ‘lesson learned’ document to the database of organization

This completes the discussion on the various project human resource management processes.

So, we hope that by now, you have developed a clear-cut picture of project human resource management and its various components. This discussion must also have offered a simplified explanation of the various processes and their outputs.

The importance of project human resource management plan is immense and of detrimental value for any project. Now that we have completed a basic understanding of the subject let us take a look at the miscellaneous things related to the same.

Handling Conflicts while managing Human Resources

When more than one person is involved in something conflicts are bound to happen. This applies equally to human resource management in projects as team clashes are an inevitable part of project progress. But this doesn’t mean that conflicts will stay forever and can impact the project negatively. 

Different types of conflicts can be handled in different ways depending upon the base of the disagreement and the desired outcome. Primarily, there are five ways to handle conflicts across the lifecycle of a project. 

Let's take a closer look at the modes of handling conflicts while managing human resources and planning various stages. They are as follows:

Withdrawal – Retreat from a potential disagreement situation.

Compromising – Bargain and arrive at the solutions that are satisfactory to the parties involved in a conflict.

Smoothing – Avoid the differences and work keeping the agreements in the mind.

Confrontation – Handle the conflicts directly and approach a problem solution effectively.

Forcing – Exert your viewpoint.

The major reasons for conflicts in an organization are schedules, technical resources, procedures, human resources, priorities, costs, and personalities. Hence, we suggest keeping all these things in mind to make sure conflicts can be avoided in time and tackled adequately when the need arises.

This completes our simplified and detailed 101 on project human resource management for the managers. We hope it offers knowledgeable takeaways for all our readers and helps them in their professional life.


Check out some frequently asked questions on project human resource management:

Q. What is the role of human resources in project management?

The human resource is of the utmost importance in project management as it is the sole driving factor in the process. Identifying the team members, talent and skill-sets, forming teams, assigning roles to them, and acquiring new talents or outsourcing – all these components are highly crucial for the project management and involve human resources. So, human resource is the heart and soul of project management.

Q. Why is human resource management so important during project execution?

Human resource management ensures:

  • Timely delivery
  • Successful project completion
  • Acquiring proper teams and developing them. so that project development is not affected
  • No delays or conflicts are encountered
  • Brilliant team members are lauded and praised
  • All the project activities are completed on time and milestones are not affected; and lots more

Hence, during the project execution, careful management of human resources is a must!

Q. What are the common roles in a human resource project?

The most prominent roles in a human resource project are as follows:

  • Identify the correct people required for project development and completion
  • Acquiring team with people having a variety of skill levels required for any project
  • Ability to comprise a team with members who complement each other and work with the united goal in mind
  • Analyze work history and educational background to complete the project properly
  • Ability to constitute a plan for the entire project lifecycle and allot human resources as well as other resources for the plan which is called resource calendar
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About the author

David is a Project Management expert. He has been published in Jeffbullas.com, Hr.com, and eLearningIndustry. As a project planning and execution expert at ProProfs, he has offered a unique outlook on improving workflows and team efficiency.

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