6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Project Resource Management: Introduction

This post is an introduction to the discussion of the project management processes in Chapter 9 which covers project resource management.   It is focuses on the changes that have occurred in the world of project management since the publication of the last edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

  1. We’re all resources now–in the past, the people on the project were managed through “human resources management”.  In the 6th Edition, physical resources and human resources are dealt with in the same knowledge area.   However, the skills and competencies needed to deal with human resources are different than the ones needed to handle physical resources.   Although process 9.3 Acquire Resources deals with both types of resources, process 9.4 Develop Team and process 9.5 Manage Team focus primarily on human resources.
  2. Resource management methods–because critical resources are scarce, there has been a proliferation of methods for managing them effectively such as lean management, just-in-time manufacturing (JIT), kaizen (continuous improvement), etc.   The project manager needs to learn to use those tools which are used by the organization.
  3. Emotional intelligence–people have different emotional maturity levels, different needs and motivations, and different personality types.   It is important to develop the team’s emotional intelligence or sensitivity to these variations, and a project manager needs to develop skillful means in order to communicate to different team members by taking consideration of the variables mentioned above.
  4. Self-organizing teams–these are teams where the project manager provides the environment and support needed for the team, but where the team organizes the work to get the project done.   This requires the development of team members who act more like generalists, rather than subject matter experts in specific fields.  These were used at first in agile approaches for the execution of IT projects, but are becoming used more in other applications as well.   It is important than the project manager learn about agile approaches as well as the traditional approaches to project management.
  5. Virtual teams–with the globalization of projects, there is a need for teams to work virtually, i.e., not co-located physically at the same site.   This provides advantages of drawing on a larger geographic pool of talent, but the project manager needs to be aware of the disadvantages of virtual teams.   Communication is more complicated and requires more attention, not just in terms of logistics of tracking progress and productivity in several locations, but also in terms of awareness of cultural differences.

So there’s a lot more for a project manager to know nowadays in the domain of human resources!   As an aside for those studying for the PMP exam, there are questions on the exam that include knowledge of human resource management theory which are NOT contained in the PMBOK® Guide itself.   For a review of this material, see my post from the series of blog posts I did on the 5th Edition.

https://4squareviews.com/2013/06/29/5th-edition-pmbok-guide-chapter-9 : theories-of-motivation/

In the next post, I will go through the inputs to the first process, 9.1 Plan Resource Management.


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