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Human Resources Definition (Practical Project Management Series)

Human Resources Definition (Practical Project Management Series). Human Resources definition is made at the initiating phase of a project, and its a critical success factor for any project. So, this time the subject ‘human resources management’ will be covered with the focus on the staffing at the project start.

In a project the Project Manager has to deal with many ‘resources’ and the most important resources are the people working on the project. Actually I don’t find it respectful to talk about people as ‘resources’ but within this context it is practical.

Apart from the ‘human resources’ as means many other resources might be needed to execute the project such as financial resources, hardware (eg. computers) and software. These resources are outside the scope of this story.

The first person acting on the project will be the Project Manager. After the project plan and project planning have been produced, the next step is get the right people on board for the project execution.

Based on the roles as described in the project plan the start is being made for searching the persons who will perform the tasks. This search action is quite different per company. Many companies have assigned this search activity to a special department which will perform the search action based on the described role. Normally it is not the intention that the Project Manager him/herself is going to search esp. within large companies while they use a list of ‘preferred suppliers’ (apart from database searches). With these suppliers arrangements have been made regarding hourly rates and terms and conditions. Of course it might be an option that the company itself has people available internally (not necessarily in the same country). Large companies use a database of all people who might be assigned to projects. Normally Project Managers have access to this database to search or to open a vacancy. Next to these formal ways there is also the famous ‘old boys network’ which is a quick way to find the right people as well for your project. However, this method is not always being appreciated within large (bureacratic) organisations.

It is advisable to maintain an overview per person regarding their assignment period. When people are hired externally a notice period is normally applicable if you want to terminate or continue their assignment. In case you don’t indicate on time that you want the person to stay longer on the project you might run the risk that the person ‘disappears’. This is a good task to be handled by the Project Management Office.

Based on the profile of the role you are looking for, you might consider the following items:

  1. Start- and end date assignment.
  2. Number of hours per week.
  3. Working location (particular location and/or partly ‘remote’ and/or partly from home).
  4. Role description and level (junior/medior/senior).
  5. Actual tasks.
  6. Responsibilities.
  7. Required knowledge/experience/languages (Dutch, English, …)/methods/tooling/etc.

On paper the candidate might fit perfectly but the question is of the person also fits in the team. Invite the person and have a meeting. When the person is going to work in a virtual team, so not physically present, it is still advisable to have a chat with this person preferbly by means of a videoconference.

The next time I’ll describe ‘human resource management’ but then during project execution and closure.

This is a ‘blog’ article by Lex van der Heijden regarding practical Project Management. For questions/remarks I’m available via [email protected] or via LinkedIn (