5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 9: Process 9.2 Acquire Project Team


1.  Introduction

The second out of four human resource-related processes is in the executing process group, and is where the project manager acquires his or her project team.

2.  Inputs

The input of this process is the Human Resource Management Plan, the output of the previous process 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management.  The other inputs come from the Enterprise Environmental Factors, the background information from the industry and the governmental regulatory framework within which the project takes place, and the Organizational Process Assets, the cumulative experience the organization itself has with regards to Human Resources in the form of policies, guidelines, and standard processes.   of course.

9.2 ACQUIRE PROJECT TEAM
INPUTS
1. Human Resource Management Plan This is the output of process 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management.  The particular elements of the plan that are inputs into this process are:

  • Roles and responsibilities of project team members
  • Project organization charts (indicates number of team members needed)
  • Staffing management plan (indicates the time periods when team members needed)
2. EEFs
  • Existing information on team members
  • Personnel administration policies on outsourcing
  • Organizational structure (projectized, functional, matrix, etc.)
  • Colocation or multiple locations
3. OPAs
  • Organizational standard processes, policies, role descriptions
TOOLS & TECHNIQUES
1. Pre-assignment Project team members may be selected in advance—this may be stipulated even in the project charter.
2. Negotiation Project management team may need to negotiate with the following entities to obtain their team members:

  • Functional managers
  • Other project management teams within the organization
  • External organisations (suppliers, vendors, etc.)
3. Acquisition Hiring consultants or subcontracting work to another organization.
4. Virtual teams Video conferencing makes team members available who do not meet face-to-face.
5. Multi-criteria decision analysis Rating the potential team members by the following criteria:

  • Availability
  • Cost
  • Experience
  • Ability
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitude
  • International factors
OUTPUTS
1. Project staff assignments Documentation of the assignment of people to the project team.
2. Resource calendars Time periods when people are available to work on the project.
3. Project management plan updates If the team members selected do not have all the necessary requirements, the roles and responsibilities may have to be adjusted.

 

3.  Tools & Techniques

As far as the tools & techniques are considered, certain team members may be stipulated by pre-assignment in advance as having to work on the project, to the point that they are mentioned in the project charter.  This gives additional “negotiating power” to the project manager in the next technique, that of negotiation.  Especially if the organizational structure is a functional rather than projectized one, where the project manager has no direct authority over his or her potential team members outside of the project, the team members need to be “borrowed” from the functional manager, or perhaps from other ongoing projects.  In some cases, if the organization is working closely on design work, for example, with a vendor or supplier, someone from that vendor or supplier may work temporarily at the organization in order to facilitate on-site coordination of the project between the two companies.

What if there is no one qualified and available to do a particular activity or work package on the project?  Then you can try use the technique of acquisition to hire someone temporarily for the purpose of working on the project.  Nowadays, organizations that have different offices around the world can have team members from different countries work on the same project through virtual teams.  PMI is careful to point the additional risks with regards to communications that can occur with virtual teams.  In the same way that different customer requirements need to be balanced to create the technical requirements of the project, there are different factors that need to be balanced to choose the best team members for the project, and multi-criteria decision analysis can be a useful tool in doing this.

4.  Outputs

Once the team has been chosen, the list of those on the project team are contained in the project staff assignment, and the timing of when they are available is contained in the resource calendars for that project.

There may be some adjustments to the Human Resource Management Plan, which is a common feature of project management, where the plan may have to adjust to reality of the project rather than the other way around.

Once this process is over, the project manager will have a collection of team members that will work on the project.  Taking the team members who are plural and turning them into an entity which is singular called a team is what the next process is about, 9.3 Develop Project Team, and that is the subject of the next post.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 9: Organizational Charts and Position Descriptions


The day before yesterday, I set out the inputs, tools & techniques, and the outputs for process 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management.

The first tool listed for this process is that of Organizational Charts and Position Descriptions.  There are three types of formats that can be used to describe the positions that people hold on the project and what their level of involvement is in various aspects of the project.

1.  Organizational Charts

This is familiar to most people as giving a hierarchical breakdown of the various positions in the organization and their relationships.  However, in a project you can have an organizational chart that states the roles and responsibilities of the project team members, rather than the organization as a whole.

This is particularly helpful if you have a matrix-type organization that is a hybrid between a functional and projectized organizational structure, where the lines of authority within a project need to be clarified if the project team members do not report to the project manager in the organization as a whole, but rather to a separate functional manager.

2.  Responsibility Assignment Matrix

This is a matrix which indicates for the various activities or work packages within a project who is going to be:

  • Responsible (who will do the work)
  • Accountable (who will make the decisions)
  • Consult (who will be asked if there are questions)
  • Inform (who will be informed of the results of decisions or of progress)

The letters spell the acronym RACI so sometimes this kind of matrix is referred to as a RACI chart.

3.  Position Descriptions

This is familiar to most people as giving an outline of the duties of the people in various positions within the organization.  In the case of a project, however, the position description indicates what the duties of the person will be as a project team member.

The templates for these organizational charts and position descriptions come from the organization’s process assets or OPAs, an important input into the process.  Among other things, the process fills in these charts, matrices, or lists, and they are then an output as part of the Human Resource Management Plan.

Once the Human Resource Management Plan has been developed, the project manager can then go about obtaining the people he or she needs for the project in the next process, which is 9.2 Acquire Project Team, which is the subject of the next post.

Super-Competent Communicators


At the Leadership Conference held last Saturday in the Chicagoland District 30 of Toastmasters International, Lance Miller spoke about how he honed his skills as a speaker in order to become the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, and as a leader in order to turn his home club Renaissance Speakers into a champion club.

He became a Distinguished Toastmaster a while back, and after becoming a World Champion speaker, his could one possibly improve? His answer is to set himself the goal of doing one Competent Communicator manual, the basic speech manual that all Toastmasters start out with, every year. He’s on his 22nd or 23rd Competent Communicator award.

He does this to hone his basic skills while he pursues other educational and leadership goals. I have decided to copy his example and work on a Competent Communicator award while pursuing my Advanced Communicator and Advanced Leadership awards as well. I intend to become a world-class speaker as well, and this, I’m convinced, is the way to do it!

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 9: Human Resource Management Plan


One of the outputs of process 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management is, not surprisingly, the Human Resource Management Plan.  The purpose of this post is to discuss what elements are in the plan, and why they are there.

From the organization’s point of view, the element of the plan that deals the most with the acquisition of the team is the staffing management plan.  This is important for process 9.2 Acquire Project Team.  The reporting relationships and other interactions on the team that are illustrated in the project organizational charts are important for the process 9.3 Develop Project Team.  Finally, the roles and responsibilities that the members will fulfill are important for the process 9.4 Manage Project Team.

 

ELEMENTS OF THE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN
 
1. Roles and responsibilities For those people on the project team, the following should be described:

  • Roles—the function of that person on the project
  • Authority—the extent to which that person can approve resources, make decisions, sign approvals, accept deliverables, etc.
  • Responsibility—the duties that person is supposed to perform
  • Competency—the skills and capacities that person is supposed to perform.
2. Project organizational charts Graphic display of the project team members and their reporting relationships.
3. Staffing management plan Describes when and how team members will be acquired and for how long they will be needed.

This often includes the following elements:

  • Staff acquisition plan
  • Staff release plan
  • Resource calendars
  • Training needs
  • Recognition and rewards
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Safety issues

These three elements of the human resource management plan assist the project manager and the team to carry out the other three processes.  The next process, 9.2 Acquire Project Team, will be outlined in the next post.

Becoming the World Champion of Public Speaking


When you’re on a journey, and the end keeps getting farther and farther away, then you realize that the real end is the journey–Karlfried Graf-Durckheim

On June 15, 2013, Lance Miller, the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, gave a presentation on how to become a champion public speaker.

This post summarizes the main points of his talk.

1. Speak from Your Heart
Speak about a subject you are familiar with. You can’t fake sincerity, and the energy that flows from the place where you telling the truth, as you firmly believe it, will fuel you during the entire speech.

2. Listen to the Audience
So you have a sincere message. How do you know if you are using skillful other means so that the message actually connects to the audience? Listen to them, and they will tell you.

3. Strive not to Win, but to Wean
You should be looking at the contest process as a way of weaning yourself from weaknesses, mistakes, or other impediments that keep you from delivering your message.

4. Humility, not Humiliation
You should go in with an attitude of learning, and enjoy the experience. Let go of your desire for the fruits of that experience in the form of winning against someone else. Let your “win” be that you are a better speaker each time you enter a contest. Think of an exercise class: is there any health benefit you gain from being stronger than the person next to you? No, the only health benefit you will experience is if you are better than you were before.

5. Go to the SPA
Your speech should have a Story, a Point, and an Application. The Stroru consists of the set up (who, what, when the conflict occurs), the failed attempts to resolve the conflict, and then the Point where it is resolved. You then give the Application to the audience b y having them experience it through the Story, not by telling it to them. They will process your message far better with their hearts than with their heads.

These points for me showed me that, as the opening quote from Karlfried Graf-Durckheim said, that the end IS the journey.

Managing a Successful Toastmasters Club, a talk by Lance Miller


Today I went to the Leadership Conference for District 30, the Chicagoland area, which was held all day at the AT&T Institute in Hoffman Estates.    I went there to receive training in my role as Vice President Education for my new Toastmasters Club, the Homewood-Flossmoor Toastmasters Club, which I will be assuming on July 1st.    It has been the second time I have fulfilled this role, and I was looking forward to getting all the information I could in order to make this a successful year for my new club and all its members.

Another compelling reason to go to the conference was the fact that Lance Miller, the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, and a tireless champion of the Toastmasters International education and leadership programs, was the keynote speaker.   He gave a total of five presentations throughout the day, and I went to them all.

One of them covered the topic Managing a Successful Toastmasters Club, in which he discussed the ways in which he and the other leaders of his home club, Renaissance Speakers, brought back the club twice from the brink of death to the point where it now has 95+ members.   The purpose of this post is give a summary of his talk for the benefit of those who could not make it to the presentation.   If you find the material compelling, please visit his website, http://www.lancemillerspeaks.com, to find out how to obtain some of his CDs or DVDs giving more in-depth advice on how to help you become a better speaker and your club to become a better club.

The following are the ideas that Lance Miller gave for attracting new members  by generating enthusiasm within the club in a variety of ways …

1.  Website/Social Media

To get better members, you need to get more and better guests.   This is the function of the club’s website and other social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.  One interesting suggestion is to send a club newsletter out not only to members, but to any guests that have visited the club recently.    This will give them a good idea of what the club is doing on a regular basis, and may encourage them to re-visit the club.

2.  Card or flyer distribution

Businesses in the areas, including the local Starbucks, or other places where customers will visit, are a good place to distribute cards or flyers about the club.   You may not only get their customers to notice your club in this way, but one of the employees of those businesses may be interested in coming to visit as well.

3.  Special meetings/speakers

One of the ways to generate energy in the club and to have this energy be noticed by guests is to have a speaker meeting or special speakers from outside the club once every other month or once every quarter.    The speakers can be members  from other clubs who are trying to complete their speech manuals, or area, division, or district officers who will use the opportunity to visit your club to get to know it better.   This is beneficial for guests, for regular members, and for the visitors to your club from other Toastmasters clubs.

4.  Events/parties

Holidays are good and easy ways to introduce a theme to some of the meetings to give them a special character that keeps the meetings from getting into a rut.   The existing club members will benefit from the variety as well.    Every once and awhile, it is a good idea to have a special meeting out of the club outside the usual club venue, again to lend a little variety to the schedule–and to give additional speech opportunities to the members.

5.  Speechcraft

Speechcraft is a special short-term crash course in how to give a speech that non-members can participate in.   A lot of times this can be used as a way for people, who normally would shy away from the commitment of time and effort of joining a Toastmasters club, to experience the tangible benefits that come from the Toastmasters program.   Running a Speechcraft course is also good experience for the members who organize and run it.

6.  Speakers Bureau/Community Service

The Speakers Bureau gives Toastmasters members who are seeking additional speaking opportunities outside the club to  do a speech at another club, usually one with low membership that is seeking to attract speakers.    There was a club I knew of that had about half a dozen members that let it be known in the area that it was accepting speakers from outside the club.   The area governor hooked them up with the Speakers Bureau, and when guests came in, they were treating to a full menu of interesting speeches about a variety of topics, all provided by speakers who were sent by the Speakers Bureau.    They have doubled their membership in a six-month period, and they are still growing.

Another avenue for gaining members is to have members do speeches at local clubs like the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, or other local organizations that meet regularly and need speakers for their meetings.   This may generate interest within those clubs in having their members visit the club to gain speaking and leadership skills.

Lance Miller talked about leadership, speech contests, and other topics in his other presentations, but I thought his suggestions on boosting membership were excellent and felt that they in particular deserved a wider hearing, which is why I presented this post today.

I experienced a move from Los Angeles to Chicago which has kept me occupied for the past month or so, but my joining a new Toastmasters Club in the area was the best way I thought of to get re-integrated into this area where I haven’t lived for many years.   And now my election as club officer, my training at the Leadership Conference, and the talk by Lance Miller has made me realize that the opportunities for growth are unlimited–it’s time to seize them!

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 9: Process 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management


1.  Introduction

The first out of four human resource-related processes is a planning process, and it is used to develop the Human Resource Management Plan.

2.  Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs

The output of this process is the Human Resource Management Plan, of course.  The inputs come from other parts of the Project Management Plan, as well as the various human resource related policies and guidelines that the organization follows, either to be compliant with various laws and regulations or as a reflection of the organization’s own culture.

 

9.1 PLAN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
INPUTS
1. Project Management Plan Used to develop the Human Resource Management Plan
2. Activity resource requirements These determine the human resource needs for the project.
3. EEFs
  • Organizational culture and structure
  • Existing human resources
  • Personnel administration policies
4. OPAs
  • Organizational standard processes, policies, role descriptions
  • Templates for organization charts, position descriptions
  • Lessons learned on previous projects
  • Escalation procedures for handling issues
TOOLS & TECHNIQUES
1. Organizational charts and position descriptions These document the team member roles and responsibilities.
2. Networking Formal and informal interaction with others in an organization
3. Organizational theory Provides information on how people, teams, and organizations behave
4. Expert judgment Used in developing human resource management plan
5. Meetings Allows project team members to get consensus on implementing human resource management plan
OUTPUTS
1. Human Resource Management Plan Provides guidance on how project human resources are to managed.

 

The tools & techniques of human resource management vary from organizational theory, to the practical tools of organizational charts.   Expert judgment and meetings, two tools that are used in many planning processes, are also present here.

Next week I will start going into the elements of the Human Resource Management Plan.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 8: Human Resources Management Knowledge Area


1.  Introduction

The next chapter, chapter 9, covers  Human Resources Management, that is, management of the people who are working on the project and the factors that influence them.

2.  Human Resources Management Processes

There are four project management processes in the Human Resources Management Knowledge Area.  One of them is in the Planning Process Group, and the other three are in the Executing Process Group.   There are no human resource processes in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

The first process, that of Plan Human Resources Management, creates the Human Resources Management Plan which is the framework for all of the other processes.  The second process, that of Acquire Project Team, is in the Executing process group and is where the project manager, like the director of an orchestra, acquires his performers and their instruments.  The third process, also in the Executing process group, is Develop Project Team, and this is where the project manager, like the director of an orchestra, has them rehearse together so that they work together in concert.  The last process, likewise in the Executing  process group, is the process Manage Project Team.  What if one of the instruments is playing out of tune with the others?  Well, you need to adjust the performance of that one player.  It could be a problem with the director himself (or herself), if the piece is being played so quickly that accuracy (quality) suffers as a result.

Process Group ProcessNumber Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management Process of documenting project roles, responsibilities, required skills, reporting relationships, and creating a staffing management plan.
Executing 9.2 Acquire Project Team Process of confirming the availability of resources, and obtaining the members of the team.
Executing 9.3 Develop Project Team Process of improving competencies, team member interaction, and the overall team environment.
Executing 9.4 Manage Project Team Process of tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and managing team changes.

The project manager needs to influence the human resource factors that may impact the project.  These include the following:

  • Team environment
  • Geographical locations of team members
  • Communications among stakeholders
  • Internal and external politics
  • Cultural issues
  • Organizational uniqueness

The next post will cover the first of these processes, process 9.1 Plan Human Resources Management.

5th Edition PMBOK Guide–Chapter 8: Control Charts


 

1.  Introduction–Control Limits vs. Specification Limits

The control chart is an important tool of quality control.   The PMBOK Guide definition is “A graphic display of process data over time and against established control limits, which has a centerline that assists in detecting a trend of plotted values toward either control limit.”

The definition implies that on either side of the centerline, there is a control limit; one is called the upper control limit, and the other is called the lower control limit.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the control limit exists so that the process stays within the specification limit.    The analogy that comes to mind is that of the lane marker on a highway and the guard rail at the side of the road.    The guard rail is like the specification limit, in that if you go outside that limit, you are definitely “off road” and this is definitely a situation to avoid.    But in order to stay within these outer limits, the control limits in this case are like the lane markers, assuming that there is some sort of shoulder between the lane marker and the guard rail.    If you can steer your car so that you are within the lane markers (control limits), you will never have to worry about hitting the guard rails (specification limits).

2.   Assignable or special cause vs. random variation

A measurement will have some sort of variation which is due to random variables.   In practical terms, this means that the measurement will be moved off the centerline in one direction as often as it is moved in the other direction.     A common cause is the usual variation in a system, the “background noise”, if you will.

However, if there is a special or assignable cause, it will move the measurement off the centerline in a way that is not random.    The practical upshot of this is that there are certain rules about control limits that tell if a process is being affected by a special or assignable cause in such a way that it is out of control.

3.   Control chart rules

One of the first rules is that no measurement should be outside the upper control limit or the lower control limit.   This one is fairly obvious; the reason why the control limits are put in place is precisely because going outside of them indicates the process is out of control.

The second rule is the “rule of seven,” which says that if seven consecutive points are above or below the centerline, this must be due to some process which is skewing the values to one side of the center line.

The third rule is that a certain number of points are outside certain standard deviations of the measurement.    One variation of this rule is:

  • one point over 3 sigma
  • 2 out of 3 points over 2 sigma
  • 4 out of 5 points over 1 sigma

The idea here is that the number of points over 1 sigma, for example, should be only 31% or roughly 1 out of 3.   If 4 out of 5 points are over 1 sigma, or around 80%, then the number of points over 1 sigma is higher than it should be, and there is probably a special or assignable cause for this.

These rules of thumb give a project manager a way to look at control charts to detect if there is a special or assignable cause.   If the control charts indicate there is some sort of special or assignable cause, the next task is to find out what that cause is.   There are other quality tools for that.    So the control chart is the beginning of the story of shifting from monitoring to controlling quality, not the end of it.

This is the last post discussing Chapter 8 of the guide on Quality Management.   The next post will start discussing Chapter 9 on Human Resource Management.

 

5th Edition PMBOK Guide–Chapter 8: Quality Control


The quality of a deliverable is measured against the technical requirements obtained from the customers or sponsors of the project.    Process 8.3 Perform Quality Control is a process in the monitoring and controlling process group.    The monitoring part consists of sampling and inspecting the deliverables to see if the company can verify  the quality.   The controlling part comes if the company inspects the deliverables and see that they do not meet the technical requirements.

In that case, changes are recommended which can fed into the Perform Integrated Change Control process to see if they should be implemented or not.   Once the deliverables are verified, then can be validated by the customer or sponsor by seeing if they formally accept them as conforming to the original requirements that they set forth at the beginning of the project.

The following are three paired concepts that need to be understood with respect to quality control.

1.  Prevention and inspection

Prevention keeps errors from occurring during production.   Inspection tries to keep errors that have already occurred during production from ever reaching the customer.   Obviously PMI prefers as a matter of policy to have prevention emphasized over inspection, because it is ultimately cheaper to design in quality than “inspect” it in.

2.  Attribute sampling and variables sampling

Attribute sampling is to variables sampling as digital is to analog.   Attribute sampling just asks the question: does the sample conform or does it not conform?    Is is therefore like a digital value that could be assigned a 0 or a 1.  Variables sampling takes a measurement that is along a continuous (analog) scale, and thus the degree of conformity can be measured.

3.  Tolerances and control limits

The tolerance of a measurement is the specified range of permitted or acceptable results.   A control limit is a boundary set in order to keep all of the measurements within a specified tolerance.    The difference between a tolerance and control limit is like the difference on a highway between a guard rail and a lane marker.   The guard rail is like the tolerance limit:   if you go beyond that guard rail, you are not conforming to the road and this can be a very dangerous situation.   In order to keep you from going beyond the guard rail, there are lane markers painted on either side of a lane.  If you steer your car so that it always stays within the lane markers, then you will never have a problem having your car go off the road by going beyond the guard rail.

The concept of a control limit can be illustrated by the control limit chart tool, which is the subject of the next post.