Project Resource Management

Projects are done through people, making project human resource management a key to project success. People management can be especially challenging for project managers because they rarely have direct authority over the people on their projects. Developing the HR plan, acquiring and developing the team, and managing them through issues and challenges requires both leadership and project management skills.

“If you’re sincere, praise is effective.

If you’re insincere, it’s manipulative.”   

– Zig Ziglar

Conflict Management

The five common approaches to managing conflicts are as follows:

  1. Withdrawl – avoiding the conflict.
  2. Smoothing – attempting to minimize the severity of the conflict.
  3. Compromising – each side gives in, at least a little, to reach an agreement
  4. Forcing – using power to push one parties resolution to the conflict.
  5. Collaboration – a win-win, problem-solving approach of confronting the issue together.

Stages of Team Development

B.W. Tuckman defined four stages of team development:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

You may see the add a 5th stage called adjourning.

Managerial Styles

Douglas McGregor defined management approaches as falling into either X or Y styles. Theory X is defined as managers who distrust employees. Theory Y is defined as managers who trust employees.

 Zero Sum Rewards

Watch out for the negative consequences of “zero sum rewards” programs, which are those programs that only reward one or a few team members. They can have negative unintended consequences on those who did not receive the reward – thereby deserving the term zero sum.

Motivation Theories

The old school motivational theories are from Taylor, Maslow, Herzberg.  The newer motivational theories are from Lencioni (see a clip on YouTube), Pink and Maxwell.

 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Listed top down:

  • Self-actualization
  • Esteem
  • Love/Belonging
  • Safety
  • Physiological

 Achievement Theory

David McClelland studied achievement for over 20 years with his associates at Harvard University, and he developed theories related to motivation associated with achievement based on these principles:

  • people can be classified to fit into one of three groups, as having a need for achievement, power, or affiliation.
  • When people start to think in terms of achievement, things start to happen (such as earning better grades, raising in the career ladder, solving difficult problems, etc)
  • People who are achievement-oriented prefer working on tasks of moderate difficulty

Types of Organizations

From a project management viewpoint, there are three general types of organizations:

  1. Functional
  2. Matrix
  3. Projectized

The matrix is the most common and complicated for project managers. It complicates team development because team members are accountable to both their functional manager and potentially multiple project managers.

Meeting Management

Facilitating meetings is important in the project management role. Following are a few of the many important skills and techniques for leading good meetings.

  • Open the meeting by clearly stating the purpose and expected outcome of the meeting.
  • Be positive and invite participation.
  • Introduce complex discussions prior to the meeting. Use the meeting for final questions, comments and vote only, not the entire discussion. Contact the key participants and know where they stand as much as possible prior to the meeting starting.

Follow up. The last portion of the meeting should be spent reviewing exactly who is going to be doing what. That information should be distributed in writing as soon as possible. AND even though it may feel a bit like babysitting, it is important to follow up with people who were assigned tasks, to ensure they have the information and time necessary to complete the task. Sometimes meeting participants will not admit to certain problems during a meeting, and they might need to modify dates.


Hold GREAT Meetings

  • Goals for the meeting should be SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Timely.(SMART goals are very appropriate for meetings but often not the best approach for people’s goals. People’s goals should be H.A.R.D.: heartfelt, animated, required, and difficult.)
  • Roles and Rules: roles should be rotated among project team members, so that everyone gets and opportunity to show leadership. Ground-rules for discussion should be agreed upon beforehand.
  • Expectations should be clearly defined.
  • Agendas should be distributed in advance.
  • Time is money so be sensitive to the team member’s scheduling needs. Keep it brief; begin and end meetings on time.
    Source: Managing the Project Team, Volume Three, by Vigay K. Verma.


“People change more often because they feel the heat than because they see the light.” – author unknown


“All of us perform better and more willingly when we know why we’re doing what we have been told or asked to do.” – Zig Ziglar


“The most powerful and predictable people-builders are praise and encouragement.” – Brian Tracy


“The P in PM is as much about ‘people management’ as it is about ‘project management’. ” – Cornelius Fichtner


“United we stand, divided we fall.” – Slogan from the American Revolution


“At least 60% of project success depends on managing the human factor. ” – Paul C. Dinsmore


“It is easy to get good players, it is harder to get them to play as a team.” – Casey Stengal