Human Resources Management PMP® Study Guide

Human Resource (HR) Management involves all the activities planning, acquiring and managing people. HR is a soft skill that relies on the project manager’s EQ rather than IQ. However, it is hard to test for EQ on a standardized test. As a result, a lot of the questions you’ll see in the HR section of your PMP® exam will be based on HR theories. For more, make sure to check out our PMP® Tutorial PDF and PMBok PDF 6th Edition.

HR Theories

Herzberg’s theory of motivation

  • Hygiene factors vs. motivating agents
  • Motivating agents – relate to the work itself. E.g. increase job satisfaction, accountability/responsibility
  • Hygiene factors – relate to work environment. E.g. admin policies, working conditions, salary, status and security
  • Hygiene factors are necessary but are not sufficient for a contented worker. If they are not present, morale and productivity will go down. When they are present, morale and productivity will stay the same.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

  • Motivation springs from an unsatisfied need
  • Lower level needs must be satisfied first
  • Dynamic of needs are complex and several needs may impact behavior at any one time
  • Higher needs can be satisfied in more ways that lower needs
  • Five levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
    • Physiological – air, water, food, sleep
    • Safety – protection from danger
    • Social – belonging, acceptance, friendship
    • Esteem – recognition, status, and appreciation
    • Self-actualization – desire to utilize one’s full potential, constant self-development

McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

  • Theory X – Average worker is lazy and needs supervision (relies on external motivation)
  • Theory Y – Workers are willing to do the job without continuous supervision (relies on self-motivation)

Expectancy theory

People will be highly productive if the following two conditions are satisfied:

  • Believe their efforts will likely lead to successful results
  • Believe they will be rewarded for their success

If you want to learn about the HR theories in more details, here’s an article that goes into each theory in more details.

Plan Resource Management

Plan Resource Management is the process of identifying project roles, responsibilities, needed skills, and reporting structure. The key benefit of this process is that it establishes a framework for hiring and managing people on your project. The main output of this process is the HR management plan.

There are three different ways to represent organizational charts and position descriptions:

  1. Hierarchical (e.g. organizational breakdown structure or resource breakdown structure)
  2. Matrix (e.g. responsibility assignment matrix)
  3. Text – suited for documenting detailed position descriptions

Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) – A grid that shows who is doing what on which work package or activities.

One axis of the matrix will list the names of the team members, and the other axis will list the work packages or activities. The intersection of the two axes will tell you what the team member is doing on a particular work package/activity.

RAM is RACI. RACI = Responsible, Accountable, Consult, and Inform.

Networking – formal and informal interactions with others; can be useful for understanding project politics

Resource calendars – identifies when each resource will be available and for how long.

Human Resources Management Plan – a component of the Project Management Plan that provides guidance on how human resources will be hired, managed, and released on the project.

The HR management plan should include:

  • Roles and responsibilities:
    • Roles – who does what
    • Authority – the right to make decision, hire/assign resources, sign approvals, and accept deliverables
    • Responsibilities – the work the team member is expected to complete
    • Competency – the skill and knowledge required to complete the task
  • Project organization charts
    • Can be represented in 3 ways (hierarchy, matrix, or text)
    • Graphic display of the reporting structure on the project
  • Staffing management plan
    • Describes how team members will be acquired, what tasks they will be responsible for, and how long they will stay on the project.
    • Includes: resource calendar, staff release plan, training needs, rewards and recognition, compliance, and safety.

Estimate Activity Resources

Estimate Activity Resources is the process of estimating team resources and the type and quantities of materials, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform project work.

Acquire Resources

Acquire Resources is the process of finding gaps in skill sets on your project and obtaining the necessary people to fill those gaps in order to complete your project’s deliverables.

The key benefit of this project is that it provides an outline for hiring new team members and assigns responsibilities to the team.

When you are acquiring new team members, keep the following in mind:

  • Failure to acquire the necessary resources can delay the project
  • If a person with the required skills is unavailable, find alternative resources
  • You should negotiate with other PMs or functional managers to get the resources you need for your project

To negotiate for resources from within the organization, the project manager should:

  • Know the needs of the project and its priority within the organization
  • Be able to express how the resource manager will benefit from assisting the project manager
  • Understand that the resource manager has his or her own work to do and that the individual may not gain benefit from the supporting project
  • Do not ask for the best resources if the project does not need them
  • Be able to prove, by using the tools of project management such as the network diagram and project schedule, why the project requires the stated quantity and quality of resources
  • Build a relationship so that the project manager can call on the resource manager’s expertise later in the project if necessary

Pre-assignment – People who are assigned to the project before the project even starts (e.g. these people may have been identified in the proposal)

Project staff assignments – People who are assigned to the project

Virtual TeamsTeams that do not meet face-to-face. Although it is cheaper to maintain a virtual team, there are many disadvantages, such as miscommunication and feeling of isolation.

Halo effectThe tendency to rate team members high or low on all factors due to the impression of a high or low rating on some specific factor

Develop Team

Develop Team is the process of improving the skills set of team members and the overall team environment.

The key benefit of this process is that it improves the team work, increases competencies, motivates employees, and reduces turnover.

Interpersonal skills – interpersonal skills are soft skills that allow you to interact with others more effectively. These skills include emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and negotiation.

Team building activities – team building activities bring the team together and enhance project performance (includes off-site activities).  

Ground rulesGround rules provide the structure and expectations for the team to follow during the project

Co-location – placing team members in one location

War room – team room where all team members gather; central location for project coordination

Rewards and recognitionTo promote and reinforce desired behavior while on the project

Team performance assessmentsThese assessments are meant to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of the team. This assessment may include an analysis of how much team members’ skills have improved; how well the team is performing, interacting, and dealing with conflict; and the turnover rate.

  • It is the project manager’s job to guide, manage, and improve the interactions of the team members
  • The project manager should improve trust and cohesiveness among the team members
  • The project manager should incorporate team-building activities into all project activities
  • Team building requires a concerted effort and continued attention throughout the life of the project
  • WBS creation is the team building tool
  • Team building should start early in the life of the project

Tuckerman’s ladderTuckerman’s ladder describes the stages of team formation and development. These stages are:

  • Forming – people are brought together as a team
  • Storming – there are disagreements as people learn to work together
  • Norming – team members begin to build good working relationships
  • Performing – the team becomes efficient and works effectively together. Project manager focusses on developing individual team members
  • Adjourning – project ends; team is disbanded

Manage Team

Manage Team is the process of tracking team members’ performances, providing feedback, and resolving issues.

Issue logs – document who is responsible for resolving specific issues by a target date

Project performance appraisals – include clarification of roles and responsibilities, constructive feedback on team members, discovery of unknown or unresolved issues, establish for future time periods goals

Powers of the Project Manager

You, the PM, has 5 types of power:

  • Formal (legitimate) – this power is based on your position
  • Reward – this power stems from giving rewards
  • Penalty (coercive) – this power comes from the ability to penalize team members
  • Expert – this power comes from being the technical or project management expert
  • Referent – this power comes from another person liking you, respecting you, or wanting to be like you

Control Resources

Control Resources is the process of ensuring that the physical resources assigned and allocated to the project are available as planned, as well as monitoring the planned versus actual utilization of resources and taking corrective actions as necessary.

Management and Leadership Styles

  • Directing – this style involves telling others what to do
  • Facilitating – this style involves coordinating the input of others
  • Coaching – in coaching, the manager helps others achieve their goals
  • Supporting – this style involves providing assistance along the way
  • Autocratic – this is a top-down approach where the manager has power to do whatever he or she wants. The manager may coach or delegate, but everyone is done what the manager wants them to do
  • Consultative – this bottom-up approach uses influence to achieve results. The manager obtains others’ opinions and acts as the servant for the team
  • Consultativeautocratic – the manager solicits input from team members, but retains decision making authority for him or herself
  • Consensus – this style involves problem solving in a group, and making decisions based on group agreement
  • Delegating – the manager establishes goals and then gives the project team sufficient authority to complete the work. For basic project management, the manager would involve the team in the planning process and assign or delegate planning work and executing work to team members
  • Bureaucratic – focuses on following procedures exactly. It may be appropriate for work in which detail is critical or in which specific safety or other regulations must be strictly adhered to
  • Charismatic – charismatic managers energize and encourage their team in performing project work. Project success may become dependent on the presence of the charismatic leader, and the team relies on the leader for motivation
  • Democratic or participative – involves encouraging team participation in the decision-making process. Team members “own” the decisions made by the group, which results in the improved teamwork and cooperation
  • Laissez-faire – the French term as been translated as meaning “allows to act” or “leave alone.” Manager is not directly involved in the work of the team, but manages and consults. This style can be appropriate with a highly skilled team.
  • Analytical – this style depends on the manager’s own technical knowledge and ability. Analytical managers often make the technical decisions for the project, which they communicate to their teams. Interview style communication, in which the project manager ask questions to get the facts, is common with this style
  • Driver – a driver manager is constantly giving directions. His or her competitive attitude drives the team to win
  • Influencing – this style emphasizes team work, team building, and team decision making. These managers work with their teams to influence project implementation.  

Conflict Management

The following are the main conflicts resolution techniques you will need to know for the exam.

  • Confronting/problem solving – confronting means solving the real problem so that the problem goes away. Confronting leads to win-win situation
  • Compromising – this technique involves finding solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to both parties. This is a low-lose situation since not part gets everything
  • Withdrawal/Avoidance – the parties retreat or postpone a decision on a problem.
  • Smoothing/Accommodating – this technique emphasizes agreement rather than differences of opinion
  • Collaborating – the parties try to incorporate multiple viewpoints in order to lead to consensus
  • Forcing – this technique involves pushing one viewpoint at the expense of another

Before you go…

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the other study notes from other knowledge areas in this series and download our free 200 practice questions by clicking the links below:

Integration Management – PMP® Study Guide

Scope Management – PMP® Study Guide

Time Management – PMP® Study Guide

Cost Management – PMP® Study Guide

Quality Management – PMP® Study Guide

HR Management – PMP® Study Guide

Communications Management – PMP® Study Guide

Risk Management – PMP® Study Guide

Procurement Management – PMP® Study Guide

Stakeholder Management – PMP® Study Guide

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