project manager showing a report to his team, graphs and diagramsIn the set of good practices in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), the sixth area of ​​knowledge refers to human resources management within a project.

It is fundamental to perform human resource management of the organization to the highest standard. Good management will allow you to create high performance teams in each phase of the project. In this way, the maximum productivity of any company will be achieved: the efficiency of the available resources to achieve the proposed objectives.

In the field of projects, teams are created over a given period to collaborate intensively in the production of given objective. Due to the brevity of project teams, it is fundamental to master the processes to be able to manage resources, according to the following obligations:

  • Correctly estimate the amount of human resources needed, based on task estimates
  • Selecting staff with the right skills
  • Plan the costs derived from the allocation of these resources
  • Ensure that resources have sufficient time to devote to the project
  • Control the time deviations to avoid any delays that can lead to non-expendable costs

Plan the allocation of your resources to all your projects with ITM Platform

Next, we review the steps for project resource planning.

1. Estimating resources

In estimating your resources, firstly a forecast of internal and external resources is made that will be needed for the management of the project. It is necessary to contemplate the active estimation for each task, activity and phase of development, so that the deployment is carried out efficiently.

Among the most common techniques for estimating resources is the consultation of experts, that is, based on the experience that has been acquired in previous projects. Data and results achieved in the past will help improve the accuracy of the current project.

2. Data collection

It is this phase in which the available resources for subsequent management are detailed, and usually includes information regarding:

  • Available resources.
  • Resource demand.
  • In what way the available resources will be able to satisfy the demand raised.

3. Resource Plan

In project management, a plan should be prepared that addresses the different aspects, from the needs of the demand, the assignment of roles and responsibilities, and the desired results.

As head of the project you can create a list sorted by hierarchies in which the resources necessary for the execution and management of the project are displayed so as to be able to divide, delegate and assign responsibilities and functions.

Learn how to plan your resources here with ITM Platform

4. Development planning

All the information gathered in the initial phase will lay the foundations for further development planning. In this phase a schedule is created which indicates the establishment of the starting point and completion of all tasks, activities or works that will be developed in the project. This will create a final schedule, which will also include time management, which happens to be the third area of ​​knowledge of the PMBOK referred to in the Guide.

The resource plan prepared before the development phase provides information on the hierarchical breakdown of the available resources, which are related or matched with the list of resources necessary for the development of the project. This exercise improves the efficiency in resource allocation that is needed for each activity.

5. Resource verification

The project manager is responsible for the project, so make sure that the assignments made allow the creation of high-performance teams capable of executing each phase of the plan correctly and efficiently. Taking into account remote workers, which is a typical occurence today.

In managing the human resources of a project, talent management is essential. Experience is a plus, and it is important to know the skills, competencies and abilities of all team members in the work group, which will improve the assignment of roles and responsibilities while achieving greater commitment and involvement.

In addition, as the project manager, director or coordinator, you must seek the balance between functionality and profitability. The allocation phase is fundamental, since if more resources are allocated than necessary, to a certain task or activity, it could implicate the financial resources of the company.

6. Negotiation of resources

Typically, companies use internal human resources to carry out smaller plans. At this point, the project manager must be able to negotiate if he wants to incorporate external resources into the project, for example in the case of a project where high specialization is required and the company has a more profitable to contract in place to create a team.

In any case, it is becoming more common for corporate human resources teams to focus on identifying talent within the same organization to improve the profitability of the activity and each new venture.

The management of project resources at a portfolio level

Project teams can never be managed in isolation, because members often spend their time among various projects. Therefore, it is imperative that someone in the organization has a centralized view on the use of all resources. In the case of conflicts, there must be criteria for deciding which project is allocated critical resources, so that the most important projects suffer the least delays possible.

Often, portfolio planning tools are used by a professional figure with greater authority than project managers, such as a PMO director, a project program director, or the portfolio director.

This article belongs to a series on the 10 areas of knowledge of PMBOK. Take a look at the articles already published:

The 10 areas of knowledge. 1: Project integration management

Integration with the ITM Platform Project Menu

The 10 areas of knowledge. 2: Project scope management

The 10 areas of knowledge. 3: Project Time Management

The 10 areas of knowledge. 4: Project Cost Management

Managing Project Quality: Insurance case study

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clipboard with rating stars and pen. quality control, customers reviews, service rating conceptsThe fifth area of ​​knowledge of PMI's PMBOK refers to all activities and processes related to responsibilities, policies and quality objectives. Quality is a key pillar in project management.

What does the quality of a project mean? Simply stated, the quality indicates that the result delivered by the project meets the defined expectations of the project.

According to the PMBOK itself, quality is:

"The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics meets the requirements."

Thus, quality management is the set of practices whose objective are to ensure the outcome of the project is sufficient to meet the goal or set objective.

Make sure you meet the quality of your ITM Platform projects

Unfortunately, this premise is often not met. It's very common to venture into large projects that do not meet the proposed needs. This can happen for multiple reasons, to which we can refer to as the three great enemies of quality.

  • The lack of communication between the sponsor and the team associated with the project is one of the most common ways of damaging project quality. There are times when the team appropriates the project from the collection of requirements, but the final delivery is not a suitable means to achieve the sponsors' goal. On the contrary, it may happen that the sponsor doesn't have a clear idea of ​​how to reach their goal, so they can not give exact instructions regarding the requirements
  • The intangible quality. Quality has a lot to do with perception, so the client will have a different notion than the project manager or the analyst who is responsible for realizing the most complex technical details. In order for this subjective character to not become an obstacle, it is desirable to arrive at clear agreements and commitments on what quality means in the expected result. In the case of agile methodologies, these agreements become the guiding principle of the project iterations, coagulated under the notion of user story: a discrete requirement, the minimum that can be delivered in a functional way.
  • Conformity with what is planned. Or, what is the same, to think that the requirements will become a round product and finished as soon as all the planned work is completed. If progress is not measured continuously, assessing the needs for additional integration between requirements, adding new tasks and proactively solving incidents, the result may not be of the expected quality, but will be, at best, a product on which a second phase of work must be added.

To understand the great enemies of quality better, we will look at an example. Let us imagine that the project in question is a document management system with copy versioning, requested by an insurance company. The reason for requesting the document management system is that commercial area managers need to have visibility on all the policy offers that have been made to their customers to find guidelines in the negotiations and to design new promotions and pricing policies.

What happens in this project when the three enemies of quality are involved?

  • Lack of communication: The commercial management communicates the product that has been imagined that will solve their problems. However, it does not explain its business need in detail, preventing alternative ideas from emerging that could better serve that outcome, such as a CRM module with supply chain analysis and aggregate information. The systems team is based on the requested features of the document management model, cutting some characteristics whose implementation would be too expensive.
  • The intangible quality: When the product is delivered, the technical team and the project manager are satisfied and estimate the quality of the result by 90%. The most ambitious features are lacking, but they may be added at a later stage. The document manager works, is better than before, and deadlines and budgets have been respected. When the commercial director announces the new system to his team, he finds that nobody knows how to use it how it was intended. Understanding the dynamics of negotiations and extracting data is a long and expensive process. Although you can manage your documents well and improve productivity a little, no new pricing policies will emerge.
  • Conformity with what is planned. Along the way, there are characteristics that could have saved the project, such as the connection with the payment and supplier management system, and an apparently minor technical problem has prevented the new document management system from highlighting the changes of the latest version With the previous ones, facilitating the work

What does it take to manage quality?

  • Constant outward communication. It is necessary to understand the reasons and motivations of sponsors and clients to internalize what are the best requirements that guarantee quality.
  • Negotiation and agreements to define the quality of results
  • Pro-active problem solving
  • Adoption of good practices. To help in this regard, we then review the good practices that, according to the PMBOK, should be followed by the project manager in collaboration with the team members to manage the quality of the project.

Phases of Project Quality Management

1. Quality planning

Quality planning is done in the first phase of the project. The quality plan can be an independent document, although it is better that it is part of the total project management plan we have prepared, it is a way of unifying the norms and criteria that govern the quality of our products or services. It establishes the rules, variables and factors that will govern the processes, tasks, activities and projects of the organization.

The quality plan of the project establishes the standards that will govern it. These standards may be standards of the company itself or also of the client, if for example it has an ISO of its own quality and sets its own minimum requirements. The contributions made by our client will allow us to establish the quality objectives of the plan itself.

The quality plan allows for establishing the deadlines and procedures of the quality controls in the project itself, so that it fits the marked requirements and the expected objectives.

2. Quality assurance

The quality assurance can be measured through an independent evaluation of the project processes. It is a question of supervising to verify that the plan is in accordance with the purpose we had set ourselves, and for this we must check that all tasks and activities meet the requirements set.

We advise you to appoint a project control team to assume quality assurance responsibilities. It is not only a question of measuring the final result, but also of controlling and supervising the different phases, tasks, activities and dependencies.

It is also important to make reports that improve the perspective, justify the changes and correct errors or point out improvements during project management.

3. Quality control

Quality control is similar to quality assurance. The difference between the two concepts is that the quality control is carried out by the team that works in that phase, process, task or activity. On the other hand, quality assurance is supervised by a group outside the group that works at that stage.

Quality audits are carried out on an ongoing basis in each project management process. In this way, the team ensures that the result meets the standards set in the initial quality plan.

These types of audits or controls can be carried out through inspections, reviews and tests. Thanks to the integration of quality control in a systematic way in the process, we have the margin and capacity of reaction, besides the possibility of correction in case of any failure or error. It is important that you make and update a record of the tests, a history that feels the basis of learning to avoid future mistakes in that project, or another one in your company.

4. Continuous Improvement

Quality controls and quality assurance are implemented from the quality plan. The goal is to correct errors and ensure that the result is in accordance with the target or end mark, and meets the set standards. It is desirable to involve all stakeholders in quality controls to be able to rectify and make deviations from the initial planning if satisfaction with progress is low. In projects, transparency is often the mother of quality.

The quality management of the project allows us to continuously improve, advance and grow our company. The project manager has to be documented in the initial phase on the quality management of other plans, which will allow him to improve efficiency and avoid repeating mistakes. Hence the importance of records of controls and quality assurances, as well as reports, since they not only allow to lead the current project, but also provide for and alert about future.

All the team involved can collaborate by providing ideas for continuous improvement. Shared satisfaction contributes to commitment and involvement. And all this has a positive impact on the company, its services, products and projects that you want to carry out. The initial phases in which the foundations and the organization are established are fundamental for the later development.

This article belongs to a series on the 10 areas of knowledge of PMBOK. Check out the previous articles in the series:

The 10 areas of knowledge. 1: Project integration management

Integration with the ITM Platform Project Menu

The 10 areas of knowledge. 2: Project scope management

The 10 areas of knowledge. 3: Project Time Management

The 10 areas of knowledge. 4: Project Cost Management

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knowledge treeThis is the third article in a series devoted to the 10 areas of knowledge covered by PMBOK since its 5th edition. Read more on the two articles already publishedon project integration:

The 10 areas of knowledge. 1: Project integration management

Integration with the ITM Platform Project Menu

Control project time, effort and costs in real time with ITM Platform

 

The areas of knowledge are listed by importance

The areas of knowledge recognized in the PMBOK are practical subdisciplines that can be described as a set of methodological component, the sum of which covers the total domain of project management expertise. In contrast with the six phases of a project, the areas do not follow a cronological logic, but are rather sorted by importance. That explains the fact that project integration, almost a meta-area of knowledge that extends across all the rest, appears first and not last. Without component integration, there is no project beyond its parts. In other words, integration is a necessary condition for the existence and survival of a project. We're not even talking about results, efficiency and success.

That's where the next area of knowledge comes in. Now that a project exists, we want to do something specific with it. Project scope management allows to properly fulfill the two most basic conditions for a project to yield the result expected:

  • The project includes all the work needed
  • The project excludes everything that is not strictly necessary

In other words: while integration consists in giving life and sustaining a project as a complex artifact, scope management controls the causal relationships between project components and the final result. If the idea of a project starts with the final results, scope management includes all the causal factores that explain that future state.

The benefits of proper scope management are self-evident: by following the processes included in the area, the project manager will increase the chances of success and facilitate a clear work structure for the project team.

Due to the causal nexus implicit in the notion, scope can refer to:

  • Product scope : functional requirements to be delivered to the client.
  • Project scope, a broader term that often extends to include product scope. Project scope refers to the "how" (the means) rather than to the "what" (the product), and includes all the piececs that need to be take into account throughout the project lifecycle, including risks and management alternatives.

Project scope management

Project scope co-depends from the two other variables in the famous triangle: time and effort. The three variables exert a reciprocal influence, so that (at least theoretically) a larger scope can be tackled with a longer time devoted to the project or with a larger number of resources devoted to it.

The processes included in this area are thus tools to define the scope triangle with the maximum accuracy. Beyond the creation of a scope management plan, the processes include:

  • Requirement collection
  • Scope definition
  • Creation of a Work Breakdown Structure(WBS)
  • Scope validation

Of course, as we'll see in coming articles, risk management has an enormously important role in scope protection: it forsees possible situation that may alter it, and design mitigation responses.

Fine-tuning the scope definition

An accurate definition of the project scope improves time estimates, the efficacy of budgeted costs and the resources needed, forming a baseline against which all subsequent performance metrics and monitoring activities will be tracking. At that stage the scope also connects with the important area of project communication, which is vital to prevent the scope from gradually expanding.

Project Scope Statement

This detailed statement includes the following:

  • Objetives
  • Project scope and qualities
  • Project requirements, conditions or delivery capacity
  • Limits
  • Results
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Budget
  • Initial organization
  • Initially defined risks
  • Programmed milestones and important dates
  • Cost estimates

Work Breakdown Structure

This logical method to decompose the work needed into its smallest possible pieces is vital. Starting from the scope statement, it groups all tasks in a diagram and enables the work of creating a detailed gantt chart with dates, estimated costs, required resources, and possible change scenarios.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

WBS can easily become the soul of the planning process - the whole team participates in its definition so no level or task are left behind.

WBS Dictionary

Project scope management consolidates around this imperative document, which contains both the statement and the WBS and extends to a detailed description of work packages with their objectives, assignments, dates, acceptance criteria, assumptions, assigned resources and dependencies.

This instrument of permanent consultation shows the different relationships between work packages and consolidates the scope baseline.

Recommendations

Beware the kitchen sink syndrom!

One of the clichés in project management but unfortunately an invariably common risk, scope creep is also known as "Kitchen sink syndrome". Projects are particularly vulnerable to scope creep when they are large and/or innovative. In the latter case, for example, it's understandable that some of the basic requirements in the WBS may become black boxes with more complexity than initially estimated.

Realism is no time waste

That's the reason why an extraordinary effort to compile realistic requirements can avoid so many problems later down the road. It might seem counterintuitive to spend hours trying to properly understand the dimensions of a secondary area within the project - but if major areas have dependencies with it and as a consequence the critical path is accepted, a delay in the project start will surely be compensated with better time control throughout the execution.

Descriptive and permanent communication with the project team and stakeholders substantially supports scope management. Don't think that it's a waste of time to talk to a technician about apparently nimble aspects of her routine: it may help you steer the complexity of your project with dexterity.

Control, control, control

Project monitorization requires the adoption of tools that immediately identify deviations with estimated times. If you lack visibility of the time your team members are devoting to their tasks, or if your financial management is not properly connected with the project advance you will immediately benefit from ITM Platform advantages.

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coding and programming mobile applications for devices An area of ​​knowledge is, according to PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), "an identified area of ​​project management defined by its knowledge requirements and described in terms of its processes, practices, initial data, results, tools and techniques that compose them. " In fact, all project management processes contained in the PMBOK are divided into 10 areas.

Start integrating the components of your projects with ITM Platform and keep control over activities, resources, costs, suppliers, customers, risks and much more.

In addition to the famous 6 phases of project management, the PMBOK contains 10 areas of knowledge:

  • Project integration

  • Project scope management

  • Project time management

  • Project cost management

  • Project quality management

  • Project Human Resource Management

  • Project Communication Management

  • Project Risk Management

  • Project Procurement Management

  • Project Stakeholder Management

In this article, we review the first area of ​​knowledge: Project integration.

The management of PMBOK project integration brings together the processes and activities necessary for the project to exist beyond its parts. Without integration, the project is nothing more than a value proposition with a goal; Once the components are identified and defined to integrate them around the scope to be produced, the project is sufficiently defined to be accepted.

Integration, however, should not be confused with initiation: in fact, it is a beginner's mistake to integrate the components only when defining the project: integration must be maintained throughout the project life cycle, along with the six management processes in this area of ​​knowledge.

The 4 keys to improvement in this area of ​​knowledge are:

  • Gain ​​acceptance

  • Create an attack plan

  • Be willing to make concessions and rectifications

  • Learn from mistakes and successes in project closure

Obtain acceptance

Integration management will be effective if we gain the support of all team members and, above all, stakeholders. Getting acceptance from the start of the project ensures that we have the support and funding to succeed. To do this, we start by creating a Project Plan and a Preliminary Reach Statement.

The Project Plan marks the beginning of the project and includes the necessary approvals and corrections. In addition, it authorizes the project manager to direct and organize the resources, which will be reflected in this letter, being well defined in their roles and responsibilities.

In the Preliminary Scope Statement we indicate the scope of the project, we define the reasons for undertaking this initiative, the objectives, the possible limitations, the possible solutions and identify the important stakeholders affected by this project. This document defines the project itself, as well as the strategy that must be followed for the change control process.

With these two documents we will be able to guarantee that the resources are coordinated and programmed in the form and time that are needed.

Create an attack plan

We begin by identifying the activities that will be necessary to effectively execute, manage and monitor the project. It will be necessary to have a project management software that allows for planning and supervision of the project at any time and from anywhere.

With a Gantt, we can visualize the project tasks and the assigned resources. In addition, we will get daily status updates, necessary to effectively manage the project.

As the project progresses, so that reporting and monitoring among all team members is more accurate and timely, we should emphasize that everyone updates the completion status of their tasks. Otherwise, its use is very easy and intuitive.

Be willing to make concessions

One of the biggest challenges that we will face in implementing the project is the management of people. The interests and opinions may be overlapping between managers of different departments and on multiple occasions they may ask to make changes in the planning of our project.

For us to be effective we must be willing to make concessions, although we may not always be able to give them what they ask of us. Above all is the project, which must meet the objectives and requirements set out in the Project Plan.

We must ensure that the team is doing its part of the project correctly and make sure that the work is completed according to the requirements in the Preliminary Reach Statement. We must monitor and control project work by measuring and balancing project progress; and carrying out corrective or preventative actions, to ensure compliance with all objectives.

It is important that we follow the established process for change control as defined in the Preliminary Reach Statement, and when a change request is made, make sure it goes through the appropriate channels before it becomes part of the plan.

Each change request must be evaluated individually and we would only implement validated and approved changes that will help us to achieve the project objectives.

Learning from mistakes and also successes

At the beginning of the project we clearly defined all the activities, and at the end of the project all we have to do is verify that the activities are all completed and that the final product or service meets the expectations of the client and the interested parties. It is desirable that we obtain written approval of the completion of the project.

Once the project is finished, it is about learning from any mistakes and successes. We organize a formal meeting with the team members and have a brainstorming session, listing one by one all the errors observed during the project. We also make a list of things that went well.

The weaknesses that we have encountered, the threats of the environment suffered, the strengths that we have detected as a team and the opportunities that we have known or did not take advantage of, everything learned in this experience, will serve us for the next project in which we will be more effective.

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