5 Steps to Improve Human Resource Planning in Project Management

Published: Sep 13, 2021
Modified: Apr 08, 2024


From American Management Association

Most organizations have a limited pool of resources—and that includes people. This hard reality adds to the challenges of effectively managing projects. Increasingly, employees are tasked with juggling multiple projects along with other job responsibilities. As a project manager in a multi-project environment with frequently changing priorities and ongoing pressures, it’s unlikely that you’ll always be able to get the people power you want, in terms of both quantity and quality, for your project team. To clearly define your project’s needs and effectively communicate those needs across and up the organization, developing strong project management skills and implementing human resource planning in project management are essential.

Human resource planning ensures that you have the right number of people with the right skills for a sufficient amount of time to help get your project done right. It ensures that your project’s valuable human resources are appropriately compensated and rewarded for their contributions. That’s why all project managers need to invest in developing a comprehensive and detailed Resource Management Plan. There are various charts and tools available to guide and support you in creating such a plan, but whatever template or software you choose, it’s important to have a firm grasp of the key components.

A world leader in professional development, American Management Association (AMA) understands the challenges project managers face in today’s competitive business environment and increasingly virtual workplace. To help you create a solid Resource Management Plan with an emphasis on vital human resources, AMA provides the following steps:

Step 1: Decide project team size
Determine the number of team members needed to complete the project, and for how long—whether measured in dedicated hours per day or week, or an allotted span of weeks or months.

Step 2: Determine what expertise is needed
State how people with the right type of expertise you need for your project will be acquired, including the costs. Does your organization have the current staff to support your project, or will you need to invest in contractors or new hires? If your project requires recruiting contract talent or an addition of staff, whether full- or part-time, determine the individual rate of compensation.

Step 3: Identify roles and responsibilities
Identify peoples’ roles and responsibilities. For large projects, create a project organization chart—like a company’s org chart but for your project team. Also, define how physical resources will be allocated for different roles and responsibilities, and how those resources will be controlled and accessed so they’re available when needed.

Step 4: Conduct a skills gap analysis of the project team
Establish your team’s development needs. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and collaboration among virtual and on-site team members becomes more and more common, people often lack the skills required to do their job effectively—as AMA surveys have found. Doing a thorough skills gap analysis and then securing the required training for team members is crucial to the success of your project.

Step 5: Incentivize project team members
Detail how people will be recognized and rewarded for their performance, and when. As a project manager, your job is to keep your team motivated to deliver the results expected for your project. Before starting the project, consider the range of incentives available to motivate performance and recognize exceptional contributions. Will you be able to offer individual contributors on your team a financial bonus for exceeding expectations at incremental benchmarks? How will your entire team be recognized upon the project’s successful completion?

By taking the care to document and explain every detail of how your project’s resources will be managed, you’ll be better equipped to meet any challenges that may arise. That especially applies to people: the project team members you depend on to make your project a success.

About AMA

American Management Association (AMA) is globally recognized as a leader in professional development. For nearly 100 years, it has helped millions of people bring about positive change in their performance in order to improve results. AMA’s learn-by-doing instructor-led methods, extensive content, and flexible learning formats are proven effective—and constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations. To learn more, visit www.amanet.org.