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Project planning is an indispensable step at the start of any project. During this stage, the project manager and owners get together to define in clear and precise terms the elements of the project, or activities and work required to complete each project activity, and its timeline. The planning process starts at the time the project is conceived and picks up steam after the project scope is finalized and the extent of resources available made clear by the project owners.
Of all the resources required to execute projects, human resources is the most critical. All other resources such as land, money, materials, machinery, and others are passive. Human resources are the dynamic resources, and the success of the project depends largely on the availability and the quality of the human resources and how efficiently the workforce uses other resources for project execution.
The human resource element in project planning pertains to determining the quantity and quality of people required for project execution, determining how to recruit or arrange for the required workforce, and strategies for allocating and managing the available workforce. These topics make a crucial inclusion in the guide to the people aspect of project management. Find out more:
- A Summary of PMBOK Practices - Human Resource Management
- 10 Efficient Workforce Planning Strategies
- Developing an HR Plan: All the Nuts & Bolts
- Sample Staffing Plan for Managers of IT Projects
- Human Factors in Job Design
- Reviewing Job Particulars: Specification vs. Description
- Ways to Attract and Retain Talent
- Hire More People or Require Mandatory Overtime: Which Is Better When?
- How to Handle Seasonal Job Hiring
- Hunting for Talent? Stay Away From these Interviewing Methods
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The project preparation phase is a part of the larger project execution phase, involving gathering all the required resources and setting up the project to be executed. The project planning phase lends clarity on the project scope, the available resources, and a schedule of activities that map out how to achieve the stated objectives using the available resources.
The pressing people-related issues in this preparation stage are ensuing the selected employees fit, forming and developing teams, managing culture, equipping the team by training and other interventions, defining roles and responsibilities, and more. The following collection of Bright Hub articles provides up-to-date insights on these crucial project management issues.
- An Overview of HR Talent Management
- 5 Easy Team Building Activities for New Project Teams
- Tuckman's Theory of Team Development for Project Teams
- How Belbin Team Roles Help Project Management
- Project Management Soft Skills Development
- Talent Management: Ten Easy Ways to Train and Maintain Your Team
- Building a More Successful Virtual Team
- Recognizing and Adapting to the Culture of Your Project Team
- Focus Groups: Goals and Limitations
- Reviewing Job Particulars: Specification vs. Description
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Project execution is the heart of project management--and the most crucial part. All planning comes to naught if execution does not take place or is done improperly. Here again, the people element plays the most crucial role. Successful project execution depends on the cooperation, commitment, and enthusiasm of the workforce to perform as required, and the ability of the project managers to manage the workforce well, to extract the best out of the available resources.
The presence of remote and virtual teams, the emergence of the knowledge worker, the dominance of the behavioral approach of management all preset the latest and the most pressing people-related challenge to project execution. Of crucial significance is managing change. All projects are, in a sense, a change from one state to another, and success depends on managing and overcoming resistance to change.
The following links introduce you to Bright Hub's vast collection of articles on these topics.
- How to Manage Remote Projects
- The Project Team's Role in Controlling a Project
- When is Micro-Management a Good Thing?
- Need to Gently Influence Project Teams? Use the Cohen-Bradford Model
- Johari Window Model: How It Can Help Project Teams
- Project Communication: Keeping Remote Workers in the Loop
- Accepting Creativity from Your Project Staff
- 10 Tips for Managing Resistance to Change
- ADKAR: A Bottom Up Approach to Implementing Change
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Leadership and Motivation
Leadership is the process of social influence involving one person and the motivation or the desire or willingness to do something. The two concepts are related. Very often, the leadership style has a direct bearing on employee motivation. The leader seeks to enlist the support of the workforce toward the successful completion of the task on hand; he uses the human resources available on hand optimally. Success, however, depends on how eager the workforce remains to oblige, and this in turn depends on exhibiting the most appropriate leadership skills.
Review the various leadership styles and motivational theories, plus their pros, cons and best practices related to execution of each leadership style, how each leadership style has an impact on project management, and how good leadership motivates employees to perform.
- Project Management Leadership Styles
- Famous Examples of Different Leadership Styles
- How Does Group Size Affect Leadership?
- Strategies for Effectively Leading a Corrective Action Team
- How Does Leadership Affect Group Communication?
- Autocratic Leadership and Examples of When to Use It
- Servant Leadership Style: Pros and Cons
- The Democratic Leadership Style
- How Does Training Motivate Employees?
- Application of Victor Vroom's Expectancy Theory to Drive Employee Performance
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Any guide to the people aspect in project management is incomplete without generic HR topics. Regardless of the nature of the project, managing the workforce remains a critical staff activity. Many project managers tend to ignore or underestimate such activities as they do not fall under the core project specifications or add directly to the bottom line. This is a cardinal mistake. Neglecting this important staff activity can lead to a dysfunctional workforce, leading to hold-ups, delays, poor quality of execution, and uncordial work atmosphere as well as other problems.
The major human resource support activities relevant to project management are conducting the recruitment and training process, managing and measuring performance, compensation and rewards, managing leaves, enforcing discipline, and ensuring legal compliance. The following articles shed more insight, and highlight how to perform such support functions well. Such tasks remain relevant throughout the project life cycle.
- How to Perform an Employee Background Check
- Project Human Resource Management and the Importance of Labor Law Posters
- Tracking Employee Performance
- Legal Rules on Employee Vacation Time
- Best Practices in Sick Leave Processing
- Methods to Resolve Employee Conflict
- Collection of Best Practices for Handling Employee Disciplinary Problems
- An Employers Guide to Layoffs and Terminations
We look forward to hear your say on these matters as well. Leave a comment on any of the above articles to start a discussion. Again, the field of project management is ever evolving and wide. Drop in a comment if you do not find what you are looking for, and we will respond soon.