Project Human Resource Management Tutorial

Welcome to the eighth lesson ‘Project Human Resource Management’ of the CAPM Tutorial, which is a part of the CAPM Certification Course offered by Simplilearn. In this lesson, we will focus on project human resource management.

Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson.


After completing this lesson on Project Human Resource Management, you will be able to:

  • Define Project Human Resource Management

  • Differentiate between functional manager and project manager

  • Describe the Project Human Resource Management processes

  • Identify the stages of team formation, powers of project manager and conflict management techniques

  • Explain organization theories and leadership styles

In the next section, let us take a quick look at the project management process map.

Project Management Process Map

There are 47 processes in project management grouped into ten Knowledge Areas and mapped to five Process Groups. In this lesson, we will look at the sixth knowledge area, i.e., Project Human Resource Management and its processes.

In the next section, let us understand Project Human Resource Management.

Project Human Resource Management

Project human resource management includes the processes that organize, manage, and lead the project team. One of the key elements of human resource management is that each of the project team members should have a clear assignment of their roles and responsibilities.

In addition, even the team working on project management tasks should be a part of the project team and they are responsible for project management functions like initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing, along with other leadership activities.

In the next section, let us understand the difference between functional and project manager.

Functional Manager vs. Project Manager

An organization may have both functional managers and project managers. The differences are as follows:

Functional manager

The functional manager is the one who handles a business function or department. For instance, an HR manager is responsible for the HR department in an organization. Therefore, an HR manager will be a functional manager.

Generally, a functional manager is also a subject matter expert. The roles and responsibilities of the functional manager depend upon the core business of the organization and overall organizational structure.

Functional managers normally own the resources and provide the projects with necessary resources. They also negotiate with the project manager regarding resources.

Project manager

The project manager, on the other hand, is responsible and accountable for the success or failure of a project and the quality of the project. They are not technical experts.

The project manager may not have authority over the resources, depending upon the organizational structure. They often have to negotiate with the functional manager for the resources and are responsible for the product quality.

A project manager will credit the team with the success of the project and accept the blame for the failure.

Now, let us look at an example to understand the roles played by functional and project managers.

The CEO of an organization initiates a new project to secure an ISO 9001:2008 certification for the company.

Now, this project would require team members from each of the company departments and whoever is the project manager of this project will have to request the functional manager to assign one of their team members to the project. Resources assigned to the project go back to their respective departments once the project is completed.

Let us now discuss the project human resource management processes in the next section.

Project Human Resource Management Processes

There are four project human resource management processes. The first process, plan human resource management, is done as part of the planning process group. The next three processes are part of the executing process group. These processes are:

  • acquire project team

  • develop project team

  • manage project team

Let us now look into each of these processes in detail.

In the next section, let us begin with plan human resource management.

Plan Human Resource Management

Plan human resource management is the process of identifying and documenting the detailed roles and responsibilities of each of the project team members. In addition to that, finalizing the project hierarchy of who reports to whom and designing the staffing management plan is also part of this process.

The first input to this process is the project management plan. There could be a lot of information in the project management plan and subsidiary plans that may be relevant to the creation of the human resource management plan. For example, the project life cycle processes, the timelines, how the work will be accomplished, etc.

The other key input for this process is the activity resource requirement. Team members can be identified based on these requirements. In addition to this, enterprise environmental factors, like current employment outlook, etc. are also important.

For example, if the economy is booming and there are ample job opportunities for the team members, the reward and recognition system can keep the project team interested in the project.

Organizational process asset is also an input to this process. An example of the organization process assets can be a template or a form to request a new resource.

Let us now look at the tools and techniques used to develop human resource plan.

The roles and responsibilities are captured in the form of organization charts and position descriptions. There are various ways to draw this chart; it can be either hierarchical chart, which shows the reporting function, or it can be text-based.

The other technique used for developing the human resource plan is networking. This involves formal or informal interactions within the organization and outside, by the project manager to identify the best team for the project depending upon various interpersonal factors.

Organizational theory helps to understand how individuals come together and function as an organization. Expert judgment and meetings are required to put the human resource plan together. The output of this process is human resource management plan.

This plan contains documents like staffing management plan, project organization chart, and roles and responsibilities matrix. The staffing management plan is a comprehensive document that describes when and how team members would be added to and released from the project.

Another component of the staffing management plan is the recognition and reward system. Recognition and reward system helps project managers motivate their team.

The staffing management plan is relevant to the projects of a functional or matrix organization, where project team members are always caught in a dilemma about prioritizing project work against regular departmental work.

In the next section, let us discuss organization charts and role descriptions.

Organization Charts and Role Descriptions

A project manager needs to make sure that there is an organization chart prepared specifically for the project. It should clearly identify the roles and the reporting relationships between them. A sample organization chart is shown below.






Project Plan





Configuration Management





Test Plan










Team Budget





Customer Liaison





Team Building





Another way of clearly delineating responsibilities among team members is by using a responsibility assignment matrix. One form of responsibility assignment matrix is the RACI chart. In the RACI chart:

R stands for Responsible

A for Accountable

C for Concerned or Consulted

I for Informed

For each important activity or deliverable on the project, it needs to be clearly identified who is responsible or contributes to it, who is ultimately accountable, who is merely concerned about the success, and who needs to be informed or kept in the loop.

An example of the RACI chart is shown above. In this case, project manager, John is accountable for the project plan and the other team members Kris, Sally, and Ting are responsible for completing the plan. Similarly, you can note the roles of each resource in the other activities.

In the next section, let us understand resource histogram.

Resource Histogram

Resource histogram is a method of depicting how many resources are required for the life of a project. If you observe the chart shown on the section, it indicates that the number of staff hours required on the project increases to a peak in 2014 and then slowly tapers off.

Especially for long-running projects, the level of staffing needed may vary considerably over a period. This has implications for other parts of the plan as well; for example, the cost will vary as the number of resources change.

This piece of information helps a project manager to understand what time they need to onboard and off-board resources on a project.

In the next section, let us look into the second human resource management process, i.e., acquire project team.

Acquire Project Team

Acquiring resources may not be required in the planning phase; therefore, it is done in the execution phase. Though you may plan to acquire few in the planning phase, the major acquisition is done in the execution phase. This may be true where large projects are run spanning over many years, with several detailed activities.


The key input is the human resource management plan. Enterprise environmental factors help understand which team members will be available to work on the project, how much will they cost, etc. Organizational process assets will help understand the hiring procedure of the company, the policies that govern the use of team members on the project, etc.

The key technique for acquiring the project team is the negotiation. As a project manager, you have to negotiate with the company’s senior management, resource manager, or with prospective candidates to secure the most suitable resources for the project.

Sometimes, the resources may be pre-assigned to a project. This typically happens when they are the key resources, without which the project cannot take off. Sometimes project team is acquired by getting required resources from external vendors.

Most of the bigger organizations have approved a list of vendors, who provide resources on a contractual basis. Nowadays, the concept of virtual team is also quite popular to get a project team. So even though the project is being conceived in, one country, a big part of the team can be in another country.

For example, if the project is conceived in the USA, the majority of the team can be in Germany and both the teams can coordinate over the phone, email, chat, etc. Multi-criteria decision analysis is also an important tool to achieve the objectives.

While acquiring the human resources for the project, it is important to consider a number of factors, such as availability, cost, skill set, experience, attitude, relocation needs, etc. These criteria have to be considered in totality and balanced out against the project's requirements.

The output of this process is project staff assignments, resource calendars, and updates on project management plan.

Let us now discuss the next process, develop project team.

Develop Project Team

Once the project team is acquired, the next step is developing the project team. The objective of team development is to improve interaction between the team members, improve the competencies of the team members, and facilitate team bonding.

The end goal is to improve the performance of the team and therefore the project. A great teamwork can achieve exceptional results and project manager should focus on team development.

The inputs to this process include project staff assignments, resource calendars, and human resource management plan.

One of the techniques used in developing project team is interpersonal skills. It is more of an art than science and this is where individual characteristics of project managers matter a lot.

If the project manager genuinely commands trust and respect the team members, developing the team becomes easy.

Team members look up to the project manager not only for getting project-specific instructions but also for their career advancement as well. Social activities, like celebrating a team member’s birthday, going for parties outside the office, etc. help in team building.

Training is also an important tool for developing the project team, as it helps in increasing the knowledge and competencies of the team members. Sometimes, co-locating the team members at a single place also helps in developing team bonding.

This is especially important if team members work from a different geographical location. Knowing a person face to face does help in reducing conflict. Project managers can also encourage the team members by providing recognition and rewards.

Personnel assessment tools give the project manager insights into the strengths and opportunities for improvement in the team members. These tools also help in understanding members’ aspirations so that the project manager can better align the project goals with the individual aspirations.

Finally, the project manager should also set some ground rules in the project to ensure that team performs their work without any problems.

Some such rules can be:

  • everyone should reach office for the daily meeting by 9.30 AM sharp

  • if there is more than 10 percent delay in completing any activity assigned, it should immediately be escalated to project manager

  • if there are any unforeseen circumstances, it should be immediately brought to the notice of the project manager, etc.

The output of this process is team performance assessments. This is done by the project manager to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of the team as a whole. This is a document which explains team effectiveness. As information about the team evolves, the enterprise environmental factors may also be updated.

Questions that test a project manager's role in developing a project team can be expected in the CAPM exam. So ensure that you have a fair understanding of the role before you take the exam.

In the next section, let us discuss the manage project team process.

Manage Project Team

Managing the project team is different from developing project team though it is also done during the execution process group. It relates to measuring team member’s performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and managing changes to optimize project performance.

To measure team member’s performance, the manager should know the work assigned to them as well as their performance on the assigned work. Hence, project staff assignments and team performance assessments are listed as input to this process.

The human resource management plan serves as a guideline for managing project teams. Some organizations have template and procedures to do such assessment and that being the reason why organization process asset is also one of the inputs to this process.

The work performance reports, as well as issue logs, will be inputs because the team management activities have to be performed in this context. Observation and conversation is a technique where the project manager monitors and discusses the tasks done by the team.

This does not imply formal project status reports, but having an informal interaction with the team before documenting the project status report. Knowing about the issue early helps in resolving them early. Formal performance appraisals are helpful in evaluating the team member’s performance on the project. The project manager creates these with the help of the team supervisors.

It is an established practice in most organizations to evaluate team members for their work. This may have a bearing on their future assignments, salary, promotions, etc.

Since the power of appraising lies with the project manager, the project manager can use this as an effective tool for managing the team.

Since multiple resources work on a single project, it is quite natural to expect conflicts. It is the responsibility of project manager to resolve conflicts. Conflict management has been discussed in detail, later in the lesson.

You can expect questions on conflict management in the exam. The other tool is interpersonal skills. The output of managing a project team includes corrective action recommendations like which team members to be changed, implementing some reward system to motivate the team, etc.

Updating the project management plans, documents, organization process asset, and enterprise environmental factors are the other outputs of this process.

There can be questions in the CAPM exam that test a project manager's skill in managing a project team. So ensure that you are aware of the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs of managing a project team.

Let us discuss team dynamics in the next section.

Team Dynamics

Any team naturally goes through several stages as it gets together. These stages are:

  • Forming

  • Storming

  • Norming

  • Performing

  • Adjourning

In forming stage, a team formally comes together for the first time.

In storming stage, disagreements start to surface.

This is followed by norming when the team starts working together and trusting each other.

In performing stage, they are able to deliver results as a team.

Finally, the team is adjourned when the work of the project is completed or the project is terminated.

In the next section, let us discuss conflict management.

Conflict Management

Many organizations look for people with a diverse background to get different perspectives about work. If people with diverse background and culture work on a project, it is quite natural to expect conflict. Conflict often results in opportunities for improvement.

The root causes of conflict can be scarce resources, scheduling priorities, and personal work styles. While the popular belief is that personality or ego can be the key reason for conflict, it is the least possible reason for conflict.

As a project manager, if you find yourself in between a conflict with a team member, sit across the table and resolve it. If not, they should get their immediate managers involved and try to resolve it. Business scenarios based questions on conflict management can be expected in the CAPM exam. So it is essential to have a fair understanding of the topic.

We will continue our discussion on Conflict Management in the next section.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

To avoid conflicts, a project manager should let everyone involved have complete clarity about the project. Assign the roles and responsibilities to each of the team members clearly. Ensure that there are no overlapping responsibilities, which could be a possible cause for conflict.

Sometimes boredom at work can also lead to conflict. So one of the responsibilities of the project manager is to keep motivating the team members and let them work on interesting and challenging assignments. In the next section, let us look at conflict resolution techniques.

There are five techniques for resolving the conflict. They are:

  • withdraw or avoid

  • smooth or accommodate

  • compromise or reconcile

  • force or direct

  • collaborate or problem solve

In withdraw or avoid, one retreats from a potential conflict situation or defers the resolution to a later date. This does not resolve the conflict but allows for more time.

In smooth or accommodate, areas of agreement are emphasized to reduce the intensity of the conflict. Again, this does not, on its own, result in a resolution, but it may succeed in changing the perceptions about the situation.

In compromise or reconcile, there is some give and take in order to bring some satisfaction to all parties. Depending on how the process went, this may be perceived as a "win-win" or a "lose-lose" situation, because none of the parties really get what they want.

In Force or Direct, a person in a position of authority directs how the matter should be resolved. It may be necessary to do this when the matter has to be resolved immediately. However, this may result in upsetting one or more of the conflicting parties.

In collaborate or problem-solving, the parties in the conflict are asked to come together to collaborate and look for a resolution to the problem. This offers the greatest likelihood of a satisfactory and permanent resolution and should be resorted to whenever possible.

Business scenario-based problems, where a resolution technique has to be selected, can be expected in the CAPM exam. So understanding the conflict resolution techniques is essential.

In the next section, let us look into a business scenario to understand this concept better. After reading the problem statement, click the solution button to look at a possible answer.

Business Scenario—Problem Statement

Tanya is the project manager for a manufacturing project in a highly regulated industry. With the varying environmental factors that govern the practices of the company, the room for error is very small. Tanya’s project can have some major impact on several areas of the company.

To strengthen the team’s ability to deliver the project adequately without any infractions, the top players in those areas are selected to join Tanya’s project team. This decision proves to be helpful. A conflict arises between a stakeholder and one of the team members regarding how a task can be completed without violating government regulations.

Tanya has to meet with the team member and stakeholder to defuse the situation and resolve the conflict.

What is the most effective approach?

Business Scenario—Solution

Tanya should be able to get all parties to focus on the end goal being the customer and persuade them to come to a meeting of the minds and focus on their points of consensus and commitment.

After redirecting their energy to the customer’s needs and their points of agreement, Tanya should convince both sides to pull together and collaborate with one another to pick an approach that presents a win-win scenario.

In the next section, let us discuss the powers of a project manager.

Powers of the Project Manager

One of the key responsibilities of a project manager is to get work done by the team. There are certain powers that a project manager can use to get the work done. A project manager has to use a combination of techniques to get this accomplished.

Various powers of a project manager are legitimate or formal, reward, penalty, expert, and referent.

These powers are described as follows:

Legitimate Or Formal

In legitimate or formal, the project manager can formally assign a work to a team member that he or she has to do.


The project manager can reward and recognize the team members.

The reward could be as simple as assigning challenging or “sought after” work to a team member. This can motivate good performers on the project.


Sometimes project manager can penalize the team members for poor performance.


Some project managers are able to command authority because of their expertise in a certain field.


The project manager can be considered as a reference to higher authority to get the work done. Sometimes referent authority also arises from the personal charm or charisma of the project manager.

Legitimate, reward, and penalty are the powers derived from the project manager’s position in the company. Expert power exists when the project manager is an expert on the subject matter. Reward and expert are usually the best forms of authority to use.

The penalty is the worst way of influencing and managing the team. A project manager should resort to this, only as a last option.

In the next section, let us look into a business scenario to understand this concept better. After reading the problem statement, click the solution button to look at a possible answer.

Business Scenario—Problem Statement

Robert is leading a major project initiative for his company. This project is very intense and critical to the business. It will require all hands on deck. Robert is task driven and takes more of a no-nonsense approach. As a result, some project team members are afraid of him.

They view Robert as management and as someone who could damage their career, bonus potential, and work opportunities. Because of this mentality, Robert’s next team meeting is unproductive and there is debate around who is responsible for the activities.

How should Robert handle this?

Business Scenario—Solution

The fact that there are project team members who view Robert’s power as an example of penalty power is a sign the team is in need of some team building exercises. Team Building will help the team get to know Robert and one-another more and develop trust for each other.

Then Robert needs to evaluate his HR Management plan to see if he has a RACI chart for his project to help define who is responsible for what activities. This will aid in minimizing confusion with the project team on who is responsible for what.

In the next section, let us look at organizational theories.

Organizational Theories

It is important for a project manager to understand the various motivational factors to reward the team members and keep them motivated. The three popular theories on motivation are:

  • McGregor’s Theory of X and Y

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  • Herzberg’s theory

McGregor’s Theory of X and Y

McGregor’s Theory of X and Y was proposed by McGregor. He believed that there are two categories of managers and the classification is based on what they think about their team members. Managers who accept Theory X believe that people need to be watched every minute.

People are not capable and they avoid work wherever possible. Managers who accept Theory Y believe that people are willing to work without supervision and want to achieve.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was proposed by Maslow. According to this theory, people’s needs change as they grow in their career. The need begins from physiological and ends as self-actualization. The hierarchy runs from bottom to top.

Physiological needs include breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. Safety needs include safety of body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, and property. The love and belonging need include friendship, family, and intimacy.

The esteem need includes self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, and respect by others. The last need, self-actualization includes morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts.

Herzberg’s theory

Herzberg classifies factors as hygiene factors and motivating agents. Hygiene factors are mandatory, without which you cannot motivate people. Hygiene factors could include things like personal safety, fair compensation, working conditions, etc.

In addition to the hygiene factors, you need to bring in the motivating agents like recognition, higher responsibility, etc. to motivate team members.

In the next section, let us discuss the leadership styles.

Leadership Styles

Regardless of the project manager having formal reporting authority over the team, they are naturally looked upon as the leaders for their projects. Project managers need to be familiar with the leadership styles and be able to tailor their style according to the needs of the project and that of the team.

There are three leadership styles.

The first one is authoritarian or autocratic. In this style, the leader sets clear expectations of the team and expects complete compliance.

In a participative or democratic style, the leader offers guidance, but also involves the team in decision-making.

In a delegative or laissez faire style, the leader leaves the work to the team without offering much guidance. In most circumstances, you would want your leader to employ a participative style, but there may be occasions when other styles might be appropriate.

In the next section, let us discuss McKinsey’s 7-S framework.

Mckinsey’s 7-S Framework

A popular framework in management science is the McKinsey’s 7-S framework. There are seven elements that are divided into two categories described below:

Hard Elements

An organization working on a project will have these elements already in place and hence these become the hard elements.

The  three hard elements of the 7-S framework are the:

  • Strategy

  • Structure

  • Systems

Soft Elements

The leader or project manager is expected to step in and exhibit soft elements to earn the mantle of leadership.

The four soft elements are:

  • Shared values

  • Skills

  • Style

  • Staff

Let us now check your understanding of the topics covered in this lesson.


Here is a quick recap of what was covered in this lesson:

  • Project human resource management includes the processes that organize, manage, and lead the project team.

  • A functional manager is in charge of a business function and owns the resources.

  • A project manager is responsible for an organization’s projects.

  • Plan Human Resource Management, Acquire Project Team, Develop Project Team, and Manage Project Team are the four Project Human Resource Management processes.

  • Forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning are the five stages of team formation.

  • Reward and expert are usually the best forms of authority that a project manager can use.

  • Penalty should be resorted to as a last option.

  • Organization theories help a project manager to identify what motivates the team members and accordingly design a reward plan.

  • A project manager needs to establish a leadership style that matches the needs of the team.


With this, we have come to the end of this lesson. In the next lesson, we will cover Project Communications Management.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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