9.1 Develop Human Resource Plan Process

The Develop Human Resource Plan process determines how the project will be staffed and how the project team will be trained and managed.

This process establishes roles, reporting relationships, responsibilities, training plans, and the staffing management plan, which is a component of the project management plan.

Though it occurs at least once on every project, this process will most likely reoccur many times because of personnel changes, alterations to roles or responsibilities, or other project changes that impact personnel.

There are many personal topics, management theories, and best practices that are relevant to human resource planning, and the project management team should consider those in addition to what is presented in this chapter as they develop the plan for elements such as training, rewards, and performance appraisals.

In order to determine what kind of team the project will require, we’ll need the activity resource requirements (section 6.3). ​

From it, we’ll be able to determine the types of roles and skill sets the project staff must have to meet the project’s objectives.

Lessons learned from prior projects should be reviewed by the project management team.

Mistakes, issues, or situations encountered by other project management teams can help avoid similar events. The organization may also have templates or checklists that can aid the planning processes.

These might include common project roles by project type, standard safety procedures, and standardized performance appraisals.

 Develop Human Resource Plan Process Decomposition

Develop Human Resource Plan Process Decomposition

Develop Human Resource Plan Process: Inputs

  • Activity resource requirements
    The activity resource requirements document describes the resource needs at the activity level.
    It focuses on the resource types and quantities needed, and it helps determine the competencies that will be needed for the project.
  • Enterprise environmental factors
    Any of the many enterprise environmental factors and systems that influence the project should be considered.
    These factors can include its personnel, its organizational culture, and marketplace conditions, which influence the types of resources available to fill the roles needed.
  • Organizational process assets
    Organizational process assets are the source of existing policies, processes, organizational data, and knowledge.
    The organization may have standardized project role descriptions and templates. Lessons learned from past projects will also help in developing the human resource plan.

Develop Human Resource Plan Process: Tools and Techniques

  • Organization charts and position descriptions
    These documents describe the project roles, hierarchy, reporting relationships, and responsibilities.
    They include project organization charts, position descriptions, role-responsibility-authority forms, RAMs, and RACIs.
  • Networking
    Networking involves the formal and informal interaction between others in the enterprise, profession, or industry. Networking includes conferences, electronic communities, luncheons, trade groups, and seminars.
  • Organizational theory
    These are sociological, behavioral, and psychological theories that describe how individuals, teams, groups, and other organizational units behave.

Develop Human Resource Plan Process: Outputs

  • Human resource plan
    The human resource plan contains the details on how the project will be staffed and how the project team will be trained, evaluated, compensated, rewarded, and released from the project.

Roles and Responsibilities

The starting point is the roles and responsibilities document. It outlines every unique project role and includes each role’s authority, skills needed, and responsibilities.

That information is necessary for assigning staff to the project and to provide clear and explicit information to the project team so that they can fully understand their position and responsibilities.

Whenever possible, including the project team members in defining or replanning roles and responsibilities is a good idea because it helps foster commitment to the project by involving the team members in defining their own roles.

As we might imagine, changes to roles and responsibilities are common throughout the project, but especially as the project staff is acquired and roles are filled because a person's skill set may not exactly fit the competencies as originally planned for, so that role's responsibilities may expand or decrease.

Staffing changes, such as unexpected leaves or absence, may also result in modifications to roles.

The role and responsibilities document should include all unique roles from the activity resource estimates, including project management roles.

The format of the roles and responsibilities document isn't important as long as it clearly describes the position, authority, competencies, and responsibilities of every project role.

It's best to think of the role and responsibilities document has similar elements as a job or position description:

  • Role: The title of the project role, such as architect, programmer, foreman, and so on.
    Even if it's expected that one individual may later fill multiple roles, each project role should be listed separately.
  • Authority: The decision making or other authoritative elements need to be described.
    This is important so that the person fulfilling the role knows what latitude he or she has to accomplish the objectives.
  • Competencies: The skills and expertise required for the role need to be outlined so that it can be properly staffed by someone with the necessary skill set.
  • Responsibilities: The expectations and responsibilities of the role should be described.
    This will include the activities, deliverables, work packages, or artifacts the role is responsible for. Some responsibilities may reference other project documents, such as the activity list, rather than duplicating information already contained in other project activity documents.

A common presentation of roles and responsibilities is a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM).

A RAM shows by activity what role is responsible, and as people are assigned to roles their names are added to the table.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix

Responsibility Assignment Matrix

A RACI (pronounced ray-cee) is a type of RAM that derives its name from the responsibility designation that's given to each role/activity combination:

  • R=Responsible: The role is primarily responsible for performing the work required for that activity.
  • A=Accountable: The role is held accountable for the activity's output, deliverable, or artifact.
  • C=Consult: The role is in an advisory position for the activity.
  • I=Inform: The role will be kept in the loop as the activity is underway.

There's quite a bit of flexibility in the responsibility designations used on the RACI.

For example, some RACI charts include an additional responsibility designation of "support" which is for a role that assists the person who's responsible for the activity, and there's sometimes a need to identify a person who approves or signs-off on an activity.

Once responsibilities have been assigned to deliverables, an Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) can provide an alternative method for business units to view the project activities, work packages, or deliverables assigned to their departments.

The OBS is really just a high-level work breakdown structure organized by department or business unit.

Project Organization Chart

The project organization chart presents the project roles and their reporting relationships, giving a visual or textual outline of the reporting relationships and hierarchy of the project’s staffing organization.

Project Organization Chart

Project Organization Chart

As staff members are assigned to the project, the chart will be updated to reflect specific names next to the role assignments.

Human Resource Management Plan

The human resource management plan and its component the staffing management plan together describe how the project will be staffed, and how the project team will be trained, evaluated, compensated, rewarded, and released from the project.

The human resource management plan undergoes changes throughout the project since reporting relationships may change, resource needs may change as activity definitions become clearer, or scheduling changes impact when roles are needed.

How in-depth and formal the human resource management plan needs to depend upon the project, but the plan needs to address each of the following:

  • Staff acquisition procedures.
  • Resource calendars and timetables.
  • Training.
  • Compliance and safety.
  • Performance assessment procedures.
  • Performance appraisal procedures.
  • Recognition and rewards plan.
  • Staff release criteria.

Staff Acquisition Details

The staffing management plan describes how and through what methods the people needed for the project will be acquired, which may include both personnel internal to the performing organization and external to it, such as consultants.

It also needs to include any applicable organizational policies relating to staffing or recruitment, and it will also include the planned costs for personnel, whether by role, profession, or grade.

Resource Calendars, Timetables, and Histograms

The human resource plan includes information on when resources will be needed and in what durations, shown through calendars, timetables, and histograms.

Resource calendars show when roles or personnel will be needed by the project, including expected working hours, holidays, shifts, or other important information the project staff will need to know.

The plan also includes resource histograms that show the work units by a time period that a role, person, or department will provide to the project.

These histograms are useful while negotiation for resources with functional managers in the organization to make sure that the resource types needed are available during those time periods.

If not, the project schedule may need to be adjusted to accommodate resource constraints or alternate sources for the resources may need to be sought.


The human resource management plan includes the formal plan for project team member training, though informal training will also occur.

Training may be needed in specialized areas such as technology, safety, and equipment or it may be needed if the people eventually fulfilling the roles lack some of the expertise required for that role.

The training plan is implemented during the Develop Project Team process.

Only the training required by the project team is addressed by the plan. We shouldn’t confuse it with whatever training plan might be required for stakeholders in the use of the project’s deliverables.

For example, if the customer will require training sessions on how to use a software application created by the project, that training (and whatever activities it may require) are treated as a project deliverable.

Compliance and Safety

The human resource management plan also describes any measures that will be taken to ensure that any safety, governmental, regulatory, organizational, or contractual obligations are followed that are applicable to human resource requirements.

Compliance is ensured during the Manage Project Team process.

Team Performance Assessments

The human resource management plan will include any team performance goals, and how the overall performance of the project team will be measured and evaluated.

This is an assessment of the overall team efficiency and not of individual team members, and this really measures how effective the activities are that are being carried out in the Develop Project Team process (section 9.3).

If assessments show a need for team improvement, the staffing management plan will be revised to address how to make those improvements.

Project Performance Appraisals

The human resource management plan will include the procedures, methods, and guidelines for the performance appraisal of individual project team members.

While the team performance assessments are focused on the efficiency of the team, appraisals are concerned with evaluating the value the individual team member is providing to the project, and providing guidelines for addressing deficiencies.

Any applicable policies or guidelines of the performing organization must also be included in the plan.

Appraisals are implemented during the Manage Project Team process.

Recognition and Rewards

The human resource management plan details the approaches that will be taken for promoting and reinforcing desired behavior, including the costs associated with any recognition or reward program.

Motivating, rewarding, and recognizing the team occurs during the Develop Project Team process.

The purpose of recognition and rewards is to acknowledge past desirable behavior and serve as an incentive for future behavior.

Incentives are beset with sometimes contradictory advice, and it takes a lot of careful thought so that they don't result in unintended consequences.

For example, putting too much stress on beating deadlines could cause quality control problems if they aren’t also part of the reward criteria also.

The project management team should reward team-level behavior first and individual behavior second.

Individual rewards are a form of win-lose situation, and they can harm the cohesiveness of the project team.

For example, recognizing ”employee of the month” results in only one "winner" with the rest of the project team "losing." This is not to imply that individuals shouldn’t be recognized.

On the contrary, it's very important to acknowledge and reward exemplary individual accomplishments.

Most individuals need to know that their work is seen, appreciated, and is having a positive impact on the team and the project.

When done with the right approach and with sufficient team-level rewards also in place, individual incentives will not be destructive to team spirit.

Recognition and rewards also have to be meaningful to the individuals to be appreciated and to serve as motivators.

This means that the project management team needs to know the team members well enough to know what drives them individually, and this may require different rewards to be given to each team member.

For example, one person may relish being called out in praise at a meeting while another would prefer a private acknowledgment.

The project team also needs to know that its contributions are important not just to the project, but to the company and customer.

The more objective this correlation is, such as tying the deliverables to organizational measurements, the more meaningful it will be.

Money is certainly a reward component, but incentives do not have to be overly expensive.

One of the most effective motivators is a sincere, written acknowledgment of effort, the impact it made, and a thank-you. Food is also much appreciated, especially when long hours have been put in by the team.

Large or formal rewards will usually need to be cleared by the organization's HR department.

The project management team also needs to be careful to consider cultural and religious considerations; otherwise, a well-intentioned reward may actually demotivate a team member.

The project management team also needs to be careful not to inadvertently reward or create an inventive for inappropriate behavior.

For example, an incentive-based only on the team's output could result in quality control problems as the team might strive to reach the output goals at an unacceptable cost to quality levels.

Staff Release Criteria

The staffing management plan describes how team members will be released from the project.

Team members are released from the project when their work is completed or when other unexpected reasons occur.

Release criteria are usually intended to provide procedural information to the project management team, such as how payment for work completed will be handled by the departing team member.

Having a well-defined plan for releasing team members from the project helps them better transition to other organizational or project work.

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