9.2 Acquire Project Team Process

The Acquire Project Team process results in personnel being assigned to the roles needed in order for the project work to be performed.

This is referred to as project staff assignments, and it's the main output of this process.

The Acquire Project Team process is performed at least once but can reoccur throughout the project since team members are not usually needed all at once.

The roles and responsibilities, resource calendars, and resource histograms that were established in human resource planning (section 9.1) help ensure that the appropriate individuals are assigned to project positions.

Project Staff Assignments

The project staff assignments is a listing of whom is fulfilling what project roles and its format are not important as long as it's visible to and clearly understood by the project team.

It could be a team directory listing, a memorandum, or even just names inserted into other relevant project resource documents.

Since the team may not be assembled all at once, as people are assigned to the project, they need to be added to the staff listing and their vacations, holidays, and work schedules should be reflected on the resource calendar.

A person's availability, skills, experience, interests, and cost are factors that determine who fills what project role.

The performing organization may also have specific policies and procedures that apply to personnel assignments, such as seniority rules, but the ideal project team candidates are those who best match the characteristics outlined for the role.

Availability is one of the most common constraints that may cause less qualified candidates to be chosen, while pre-assignment to the project based on affiliation or contractual obligations can also impact who is assigned to the project.

Changes to the project plan can occur when the skills and abilities of people assigned to the project don't match up to the requirements of the role.

The need for training should be expected and anticipated for, but a large discrepancy between skills and role requirements can result in changes to the roles and responsibilities document, the resource requirements (such as assigning additional human resources to an activity to make up for missing skills) or to the activity durations and project schedule.

Virtual teams

Virtual teams are geographically dispersed groups of people who are working as a team.

Virtual teams can be a combination of co-located people, such as those working together from a central office, and geographically dispersed people, such as that telecommuting from a home office, or they can be comprised entirely of people working together through technological means.

Virtual teams give the project manager a broader pool of resources to select from, but they can introduce communication and coordination issues, and virtual team members may feel less cohesiveness with the project team, but with proactive leadership, these drawbacks can be overcome.

Some team activities, such as brainstorming and strategizing efforts, have to be altered so that virtual team members can actively and effectively participate in them.

As long as the project management team remains aware of the potential for these virtual team issues and takes steps to counteract them, virtual teams can be as effective as and less costly than traditional teams.

Acquire Project Team Process Decomposition

Acquire Project Team Process Decomposition

Acquire Project Team Process: Inputs

  • Project management plan
    The human resource plan contains the roles that need personnel assigned, and the staffing management plan includes the resource calendars and histograms showing when roles will be working on the project.
  • Enterprise environmental factors
    The personnel and their skills, experience, and competencies are used to determine and recruit or negotiate for candidates.
  • Organizational process assets
    Organizational process assets are the source of existing policies, processes, organizational data, and knowledge.
    The organization may have standardized processes for acquiring internal or external resources for the project.

Acquire Project Team Process: Tools and Techniques

  • Pre-assignment
    Personnel may be assigned to the project as part of the original proposal, charter, or contractual obligations.
  • Negotiation
    Resources for the project team are often negotiated for with others in the performing organization, such as functional managers or other project teams.
    Negotiation is also necessary when personnel will be acquired from external sources.
  • Acquisition
    Acquisition occurs when personnel for the project team is solicited from outside the performing organization.
  • Virtual teams
    Virtual teams are composed wholly or partially of members who are geographically dispersed or otherwise do not share a common work area, office, or work schedule.

Acquire Project Team Process: Outputs

  • Project staff assignments
    As people are assigned to project roles, the project staff is formed. The names and roles of the project staff are inserted into the appropriate project documents.
  • Resource calendars
    These are one or more calendars that identify when project work is needed.
    As project staff is assigned, the resource calendar is updated to reflect the time the person is unavailable, such as holidays, time off, or flexible schedules.
    This will also need to be reflected in the project schedule.
  • Project management plan updates
    Staff assignments can result in updates to several components of the project plan, including the budget for additional training, adjustments to the schedule, or additional costs for acquiring outside resources.


Negotiating for resources, whether the personnel needed are internal to the performing organization or outside it, is often one of the most difficult parts of acquiring the project staff.

Though every project manager would like to believe that his or her project is the most important effort being undertaken by the organization, that usually isn't the case, and so negotiating for scarce human resources with resource managers is something the project management team will need to be good at.

Negotiation skills are also useful in other areas of the project management environment.

Project integration management, scope management, and procurement management are areas where good negotiation skills are essential.

Negotiation is not only about getting what we want. Our goal should really be to reach a win-win solution for all parties, which is often referred to as principled negotiation.

Hardball tactics that result in a win-lose outcome are never appropriate because they'll damage the long-term relationships between the parties.

The negotiating parties in project management, whether they are vendors, customers, or company managers, are people the project manager is going to interact with in the future, so it's important to keep these relationships healthy and mutually beneficial.

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