What is a Human Resource Plan in Project Management? resources are the most valuable asset of any project. Without the right people and skills, it’s impossible to execute projects successfully. That’s why a human resource plan is a critical component of project management.

Specialists play a vital role in successfully completing projects in any organization. Project and delivery managers are responsible for ensuring that the right professionals are distributed for the right jobs and have the necessary skills and training to do their jobs effectively during a project. They also play a key role in managing conflict and motivating employees to achieve project goals.

When used effectively, human resources plan can be a powerful tool for maximizing the success of your project management efforts. By developing a clear human resources plan, defining roles and responsibilities, creating a system of rewards and recognition, and managing conflict effectively, you can ensure that your projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the highest standards.

We asked our PMs and DMs what they think about the human resources plan in project management, why a PM or DM should have basic knowledge of HR, and what the benefits of human resources plan in project management are.

In this comprehensive guide we’ll explain what a human resource plan is why it matters, how to build one, and tips for managing project team members. Let’s dive in!

What is a Human Resource Plan?

A human resource plan outlines how you will staff your project. It describes the roles, responsibilities, and number of team members you need. It also covers how you will manage, lead, and communicate with the project team.

In essence, the human resource plan helps you define the workforce needs to complete the project. It serves as a guide for leading and engaging team members throughout the project lifecycle.

Here are some key elements a human resource plan typically includes:

  • Roles and responsibilities – Descriptions of each project role needed and their responsibilities.

  • Project organization chart – Visual diagram of team members and reporting structure.

  • Staffing plan – Details on team size,Timeline for bringing on team members.

  • Resource histogram – Graph of resource utilization over time

  • Team member contact list – List of team members and contact information.

  • Professional development plans – Training, mentoring or growth opportunities.

  • Motivational strategies – Methods for motivating and engaging team members.

  • Communication plan – Outline of communication methods, channels and frequency.

  • Performance reviews – Schedule and process for reviews/feedback.

  • Team building strategies – Activities or events to develop team cohesion.

Why Develop a Human Resource Plan?

Taking the time up front to develop a human resource plan pays off significantly over the course of a project. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Defines resource needs – The plan ensures you have identified the right roles and number of people needed. This avoids being under or overstaffed.

  • Gets team onboard – The plan provides details to get team members aligned on expectations before the project starts.

  • Optimizes budgeting – Accurately forecasting resources allows creating realistic project budgets.

  • Avoids skill gaps – Identifying skill requirements ensures you fill gaps that might otherwise risk the project.

  • Enables motivation – Strategies in the plan help motivate and engage the team for higher performance.

  • Allows scaling – Resource histograms provide data to scale staffing levels over the project lifecycle.

  • Improves resource utilization – The plan allows optimizing use of team members and avoiding waste.

  • Manages stakeholders – The plan accounts for managing expectations and communication with stakeholders.

How to Develop a Human Resource Plan

Now that you know what a human resource plan is and why it matters, let’s go through the process of developing one:

Step 1: Define Roles and Responsibilities

First, identify all the roles you will need on your project team. Think through the range of skills that will be required. Common roles like:

  • Project manager
  • Technical/engineering specialists
  • Testers / QA specialists
  • Business analyst
  • Designers (UX/UI)
  • Training / implementation specialists
  • Data analyst
  • Content writer

For each role, write up a description including the responsibilities and skills required. Outline expectations for the role on the project.

Step 2. Create Project Organization Chart

Next, map out your reporting structure and relationships between roles using a project organization chart. This visual diagram illustrates:

  • Hierarchy of the team roles
  • Who reports to who
  • Relationships between team members

There are lots of free templates and tools to easily create org charts.

Step 3. Develop Resource Staffing Plan

With your roles defined, now build out your resource plan specifying the number of people you need in each role.

Identify required skills and abilities for each role that will guide hiring/staffing. Specify if you need the role full time, part time or intermittently.

Include a forecast of the timeline for onboarding resources. You may not need your full team right away. Plan to ramp up staffing over time as needed.

Step 4. Create Resource Histogram

Once you know the quantity and timeline for staffing, create a resource histogram. This graphic illustrates the number of full time equivalent (FTE) resources you expect to need in each time period over the course of the project.

Identify expected busy times that require more staff. Look for potential overstaffing risks that might require scaling back.

Step 5. Define Team Member Communications

Outline your plans and channels for communicating with project team members:

  • How will you share regular status updates? Email? Status meetings?
  • What project management software or tools will you use? Asana, Trello, Jira etc
  • How often will you have touchpoints? 1-on-1s, team meetings, office hours?
  • How will you promote transparency on issues, risks, obstacles?

Step 6. Develop Motivational Strategies

To keep your team engaged, outline some motivational strategies:

  • Recognition programs or celebrations for major milestones
  • Team success metrics or progress boards to showcase achievements
  • Opportunities for professional development and growth
  • Team lunches, events or offsites to connect socially

Step 7. Plan Performance Reviews

Define a process and schedule for reviewing performance with team members:

  • How often will reviews happen? Quarterly? Bi-annually?
  • What feedback will be provided? Self-reviews? 360-degree?
  • Any links to compensation changes or promotions?

Reviews help align on development areas and hold team members accountable.

Step 8. Document Team Building Approach

Consider what you can do to help your team collaborate effectively and become more cohesive:

  • Team kickoff meeting or retreat to start the project
  • Trainings on teamwork, effective collaboration
  • Rotating ‘lunch buddies’ to mix up who eats together
  • Offsites for social relationship building

Building team chemistry will enable working together more smoothly.

Tips for Managing Project Team Members

Here are some additional tips for leading and engaging your project team to execute the human resource plan successfully:

  • Provide clear direction by documenting roles, expectations and scope. But allow flexibility in how team members accomplish tasks.

  • Outline project objectives, timeframes and constraints, but involve team in planning and decision making.

  • Look to team members’ skills and interests in making work assignments to improve engagement.

  • Schedule frequent 1-on-1s and provide ongoing coaching and feedback, both formal and informal.

  • Communicate frequently across multiple channels to provide transparency into issues and project status.

  • Reward and recognize achievements, milestones and exceptional performers.

  • Develop team pride and spirit through retreats, social activities, branding, and rewards.

  • Set the cultural tone by modeling work ethic, integrity, collaboration and learning.

  • Be approachable, available and willing to listen to resolve concerns and obstacles.

  • Provide growth opportunities like mentoring, cross-training, or learning new skills.

Managing people ultimately drives the success of your project. Following the human resource plan while utilizing these tips will enable you to build a motivated, productive, and engaged team.

Bringing on the right people and managing them effectively is hard work. But it’s one of the most important investments you can make to achieve project results. The human resource plan is the blueprint to get you there.

By defining your workforce plan upfront and continuing to focus on your team, you can surmount any challenge and deliver successful projects.

what is a human resource plan in project management

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What is a Human Resource Plan in project management?

A human resource plan is all aspects of a project management plan that relate to the individual members of a project’s team. This can include identifying needed team members, assigning roles and tracking professional relationships between staff members.

How do you create a human resources management plan?

1. Design A Human Resources Management Plan Every project is different. The first step is to develop a staffing plan that fits the current project. Managers must define the team’s structure, project roles and the responsibilities of those roles.

Do you need a human resource plan for project management?

When working in project management, you may need to lead a team of professionals in a variety of tasks and can occasionally hire your own team members. One way you can keep track of your team and their various responsibilities is to create a human resource plan.

What is HR Project Management?

HR project management is a smarter way of working that enables HR teams to carry out their tasks and plans in an organized, efficient manner. Let’s look at what project management looks like in Human Resources, its benefits, and how to get started with HR project management.

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