Part 5: Resource Acquisition Plan

Part 5: Resource Acquisition Plan

For the project you selected in Unit I, create a simple project resource acquisition plan. Your plan should follow the process for acquiring project resources, as referred to in Figures 5.1 and 5.2 in the textbook, as well as in the section beginning with A Plan is Not a Plan Until (page 31 – 45) in the eBook, Project Management: A Common-Sense Guide to the PMBOK Program, Part Two – Plan and Execution. Your plan should include an introduction, and should be able to answer the following questions:

· What policies and procedures exist in the project environment that governs resource acquisition?

· What are my criteria for resource selection?

· How many resources am I likely to require?

· What skill sets will I require?

· With whom should I plan to negotiate for resources, and how?

· How do I document and explain the detailed requirements in terms of time required, skillsets, budget, and accounting?

Feel free to make use of tables with the resource acquisition plan when describing itemized elements such as skillsets, numbers, criteria, and policies and procedures. Note also that the plan should end with an example of a project work package. An example work package can be found in the Unit V Lesson.

Submit your resource acquisition plan in the form of a minimum two-page document. Adhere to APA Style when constructing this assignment, including in-text citations and references for all sources that are used. Please note that no abstract is needed.

Reading for Lesson

How to Acquire Project Human Resources

The project human resource acquisition process contains the following key steps:

1. Review project human resource management plan guidelines.

2. Understand the project environment.

3. Consult historical organizational project artifacts.

4. Consider criteria governing project human resource selection.

5. Perform pre-assignment.

6. Negotiate with functional managers or other resource owners.

7. Acquire human resources from alternative sources if not available in-house.

8. Acquire virtual teams.

9. Complete project staff assignments.

10. Create resource calendars.

11. Update project human resource management plan.

Figure 5.1  illustrates the project human resource acquisition process flow.


Figure 5.1 Project Human Resource Acquisition Process Flow

Review Project Human Resource Management Plan Guidelines

The human resource management plan discussed in  Chapter 2 , “ Planning Human Resource Management ,” provides guidelines on how the project human resources should be identified, acquired, managed, and released. The project manager must review and follow these guidelines to acquire needed project human resources.

Understand the Project Environment

The  project environment  information in this context includes, but is not limited to:

• The structure of the organization (Functional, Matrix, or Projectized)

• Existing information on availability, level of competency, experience, interest in the project, and labor rates of the human resources

• Geographical locations (colocation or multiple locations)

• Personnel administration policies such as the policy on outsourcing

Consult Historical Organizational Project Artifacts

The  historical organizational project artifacts  include, but are not limited to, the organizational/project standards, policies, processes, procedures, and  selection criteria  utilized by the projects completed in the past for the acquisition of project human resources. These historical artifacts provide a valuable source of reference material for a project manager to tap into and leverage from.

Consider Criteria Governing Project Human Resource Selection

The project team acquisition decisions are usually based on certain selection criteria. The criteria used to score the project team members may include, but are not limited to, the availability (when needed), cost (within budget), experience, knowledge, ability, job skills, team skills, attitude, interest, location, time zones, and communication capabilities of the team members. Some of the elements of these criteria are described in the following:

• Experience: The current experience level of the candidate human resource must be compared with the required experience level.

• Interest: The candidate human resource’s level of interest in the project must be determined.

• Team skills: The candidate human resource’s ability to work well with other project team members must be determined.

• Availability: The availability of the candidate human resource must be determined. The project manager may need to work with the functional managers to determine the availability.

• Knowledge: The competency and proficiency of the human resource being acquired must be determined to assign that resource to the appropriate role on the project.

Leveraging Volunteer Recruitment Criteria

According to Jo B. Rusin, author of Volunteers Wanted, the first step in recruiting is to know what type of volunteers you are looking for and what you want them to do.

The criteria outlined by Rusin apply to the acquisition of project human resources as well. Rubin says:

“Refer to job descriptions. This will help you target potential volunteers. Do they have to be adults or can teens or younger children do the job? Do they need experience in a specific field or can you teach them the job? Do you want them to work with children, adults, animals, etc.? Is this a one-day job or a job that recurs each week or month? Will the job require physical agility or can it be done from a sitting position? Does the job require face-to-face contact with people or can it be done over the phone? Narrow your focus on whom you are fishing for based on what you want them to do. Avoid the tendency to limit your focus to only your ideal volunteer. This way you will not inadvertently screen out potentially outstanding volunteers because they don’t fit your ideal mold.”

Perform Pre-Assignment

Pre-assignment involves selecting certain project team members in advance, even before the project starts. The rationale for doing so is that in some situations, the implementation of the project may depend on the expertise of certain specific human resources who can deliver a competitive proposal for the project.

Negotiate with Functional Managers or Other Resource Owners

Multiple projects compete for the finite and scarce human resources. Thus, a project manager or project management team must negotiate with the human resources owners, such as functional managers in matrix organizations or with other resource providers, such as other projects within the performing organization, external organizations, vendors, contractors, suppliers, and so on to acquire the required human resources on the project.

Acquire Human Resources from Alternative Sources if Not Available In-House

The performing organization may not always provide all required human resources to the project due to scarcity of human resources in-house, constrained bandwidth of the existing human resources, or unavailability of the existing human resources with the required skills and expertise. This creates the need for acquisition of the needed human resources (individual consultants or subcontractors with specific subject matter expertise) from other internal or external organizations. For example, the State of California acquires subject matter experts from various consulting companies and county consultants from various California counties on an as-needed basis. The project performance may suffer if the project request to acquire these subject matter experts from outside the performing organization isn’t performed in a timely manner.

Late Acquisition of Key Human Resources (Subject Matter Experts) Causes Project Schedule Delays and Cost Overruns

As part of a large IT systems integration project with a public sector client, the client (performing organization) was unable to provide key subject matter experts in a timely manner in the areas of business functional knowledge and mainframe software development. Even though the specific resource needs were communicated early to the client, it was unable to provide them due to overall resource constraints and competing priorities. The lack of these resources hindered the prime vendor’s ability to capture key business requirements and processes in a timely manner as well as slowed down its ability to integrate with the client’s legacy systems. Although these resources were eventually brought on board, the project incurred a six-month delay and $5 million cost increase as a result.

Acquire Virtual Teams

PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition defines the virtual teams as “groups of people with a shared goal who fulfill their roles with little or no time spent meeting face to face.” Virtual teams are a byproduct of the advancement in the communication technologies. Based on high-speed Internet, the communication and collaboration tools, such as e-mail, instant-messaging, audio/video-conferencing, social media, and web-based meetings have made it possible for project team members from diverse geographical global locations work together as a cohesive team. There are both advantages and disadvantages of the virtual teams.

Advantages of Virtual Teams

The following are key advantages of virtual teams:

• Create teams from the human resources from the same organization but living in different geographical locations.

• Acquire talent and required expertise from wherever available regardless of the geographical boundaries.

• Save money by acquiring low-cost human resources from wherever they live without making them leave their place.

• Save money on travel expenses.

• Enabling team members to work remotely or telecommuting.

• Create global teams of people living across different time zones. This benefit of the virtual teams has enabled the modern organizations to operate round the clock. For example, the U.S.-based IT companies can work seamlessly around the clock by having offices in India due to time zones differences.

• Include experts to the team who are unable to move due to disability or other reasons.

Disadvantages of Virtual Teams

The following are key disadvantages of virtual teams:

• Possible lack of understanding due to no visibility of body language or due to some technical issues.

• Team members pretending to be working without actually working.

• Feeling of isolation by some team members.

• Hard to share knowledge and experience among geographically scattered team members.

• Costs associated with the communication technology and tools.

Effective Virtual Teams

Due to availability of the advanced communications technology and the benefits previously discussed, virtual teams have become an integral part of the modern work environment. The effectiveness of the virtual teams can be increased by establishing clear ground rules and expectations, facilitating communications, asking probing questions during virtual meetings, developing etiquettes for conflict resolution, involving all team members in decision making, developing understanding and tolerance for cultural differences, understanding communication styles and needs of all team members, and sharing success credit with the entire team.

Global Project Teams

In the article “Ahead of the Curve” in the January 2010 issue of PM Network, Sullivan and Miller talk about global project teams. In this article, the authors included the views of Naomi Brooks and David Pericak to support their point.

Naomi Brookes, Ph.D., a Royal Academy of Engineering and European Construction Institute professor of project management at Loughborough University, Loughborough, England, believes that an increasingly global project landscape demands for insight into cross-cultural project management issues. “With teams scattered around the world, project managers must learn how to adapt to different perceptions in areas such as time, hierarchy, and leadership,” Dr. Brooks says.

Similarly, David Pericak, contributor to Project Management Circa 2025 and chief engineer at Ford Motor Company, believes that project managers “need to stick to their company’s core values, yet at the same time understand and deal with the cultural differences, the language differences, and everything that comes with the global organization.”

Complete Project Staff Assignments

When all human resources needed on the project have been acquired and assigned to appropriate roles, the project is said to be staffed. These assignments are documented in the project team directory, team memos, project organization charts, and project schedules.


Figure 5.2 Project Human Resources Acquisition Process Summary