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The Close Sibling of Communications and Stakeholder Management: Resource Management

In one of my earlier articles, The Twins–Communications and Stakeholder Management, I outlined how deeply and closely these two knowledge areas of the PMBOK® guide interact with each other. We saw a good number of overlaps.

Among other knowledge areas (KAs) that you will come across in project management, Resource Management comes in close when considered along with Communications and Stakeholder Management. For example, a plan for resources has information to drive communication and interactions with stakeholders. While other KAs can possibly interact with the twins like siblings in a family, no other area comes as close to the twins as Resource Management. This is why I call it “the close sibling.”

Like in my previous article on the twins, this will be less of a discussion on Resource Management and more about how the knowledge area interacts with its closely related sibling knowledge areas. If you are an aspiring Project Management Professional (PMP ®), your understanding of the interplay between these KAs should be solid.

First, let’s look at the basics of resource management.

 

Humans Vs. Resources

In my view, the term “human resource” is somewhat dicey. The word human, which is a noble word when combined with the word resources, becomes awkward.

The latest edition of the PMBOK® guide went with “Resource Management,” in place of “Human Resource Management” because this KA covers all possible resources – team resources and physical resources, alike. This is a key distinction to be aware of.

The word team referenced here is specifically referring to the project’s team members, not all the stakeholders. For stakeholders, we have the KA of Project Stakeholder Management. This is another key distinction that is important to understand. On the other hand, physical resources can be equipment, supplies, and materials (among others).

We will see the significance of these two high level categorizations of resources in the upcoming section on process interaction within the Resource Management KA.

 

Resource Management – What Happens?

Here we see three processes interacting with each other as shown below:

Below are the key points to note:

  • Plan Resource Management process: First, the “Resource Management Plan” is prepared in “Plan Resource Management” process. It allows the project manager to document how it is that he/she obtains and manages both team and physical resources. The created plan informs on when to hire and/or acquire and for how long. It also provides a plan for how to develop, reward, motivate, and manage team members. For physical resources, it tells you how to control.
    The key output for this process is the Resource Management Plan (ResMP).I’m using the abbreviation, ResMP, here in place of RMP, as I’ve previously used RMP within the context of a Risk Management Plan and framework in Risk Management.
  • Estimate Activity Resources process: This process succeeds Plan Resource Management, and here you estimate the type and quantity of team and physical resources. We see the Resource Requirements for activities (or work packages), as a key output from this process. We also get the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS), which tells the category and type of resources in a graphical way.
  • Acquire Resources process: In this process, you actually acquire or hire the estimated resources. After that, said resources are assigned to activities. Team resources result in Project Team Assignments, and physical resources result in Physical Resource Assignments. Another key output of this process is the Resource Calendar reflecting when and how long the resources will be available for.But wait! Can a newly joining team member perform from day one? Unlikely! For that you have to train and manage your team with interpersonal skills, set the ground rules, and possibly co-locate them together during initial stages. This happens in the next process, Develop Team.
  • Develop Team process: In this process, the decision to give rewards and recognition to team members is considered. Team Performance Assessments are the key output of this process.
  • Manage Team process: In this process, you track the team member performance, provide feedback, and manage issues when they are raised. You also recognize and reward your team members based on their performances, which you have assessed earlier in Develop Team process.
  • Control Resources process: While Develop Team and Manage Team processes are for team resources, the process of Control Resources is for physical resources. Here, you ensure that physical resources are continuously available as planned, as well as monitor and control the resource utilization.

The interactions among the processes of the Resource Management KA is explained in this video [duration – 4m:39s], taken from my PMP Live Lessons. For the best experience, you may want to go full-screen with HD mode and plug-in your earphones.

 

 

With this understanding of the Resource Management KA, let’s now move to the interaction of Resource Management with Communications and Stakeholder Management.

 

The Interaction of Resource Management with Communications and Stakeholder Management

We already know that the key documents and plans created in twin knowledge areas are as follows:

  • Communications Management Plan (CMP)
  • Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP)
  • Stakeholder Register

In the preceding section, we also just saw that the key plan prepared in the Resource Management is the Resource Management Plan (ResMP).

The interactions among these knowledge areas will focus on these four documents and how they are flowing across the various processes of these knowledge areas, as well as cutting across the process groups.

 

Interaction Point 1

The ResMP prepared in the Plan Resource Management process focuses primarily on the confirmed and approved scope (Scope Baseline) and contains information on deliverables. These deliverables determine and drive the types of resources needed.

The Stakeholder Register already created in the Identify Stakeholders process acts as an input to Plan Resource Management. This is because some stakeholders have interest/impact on resources being selected and used.

At this stage, the created ResMP will document the roles and responsibilities of team members. This includes those responsibilities related to communications management and stakeholder engagement. Team members are not hired at this stage, and hence, are considered generic resources.

 

Interaction Point 2

After resource requirements are determined in the Estimate Activity Resources process, the Stakeholder Register acts to inform the Acquire Resources process because of stakeholders’ interests. For example, stakeholders may have a need that is apparent while getting a particular type of resource.

The Stakeholder Register is also updated in this process because new team members are actually acquired or hired in the Acquire Resources process. Such is documented in the stakeholder register. This is very significant because the team members are also stakeholders and their information has to be available in the Stakeholder Register (this is not so in any other document or plan generated in Resource Management).

Now, a project manager doesn’t need each and every resource at the beginning of a project. One of the best practices is to go for Just-in-time (JIT) acquisition. If this is implemented, change requests (CRs) are raised throughout the process.

 

Interaction Point 3

The ResMP, along with the Stakeholder Register, acts to inform the Plan Stakeholder Engagement process and creates a high-level Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP). While the names of stakeholders, including the team members, come from the Stakeholder Register, the roles and responsibilities for stakeholder engagement comes from the ResMP.

Next, the high-level SEP, the ResMP, and the Stakeholder Register created earlier, act as input to the Plan Communications Management process ultimately creating the CommsMP. The CommsMP lists out the communication requirements for all stakeholders, including those of the team members, who are also project stakeholders.

 

Interaction Point 4

As you prepare the Communications Management Plan (CMP), which comes as output of the Plan Communications Management process, the CMP, along with the ResMP and the Stakeholder Register, acts to inform the Plan Stakeholder Engagement process and a detailed SEP.

Remember, as noted before, the engagement of stakeholders’ responsibilities lies with the team members—those listed in the Stakeholder Register. The roles and responsibilities; however, for engagement are listed in the ResMP, and hence, this plan becomes vital to creating the SEP.

 

Interaction Point 5

The ResMP, CMP, and SEP prepared are executed in their respective processes–Develop Team and Manage Team for team members, Manage Communications for the execution of communications strategies, and Manage Stakeholder Engagement for stakeholder engagement.

As you develop your team members to improve skills, competencies, and enhance project performance, Change Requests (CRs) can be raised in the process of Develop Team. Similarly, while managing a team, it’s possible to experience staffing changes, reassignment of work, or replacement of team members who leave. In such cases, too, CRs can be raised in the Manage Team process.

 

Interaction Point 6

The CMP and SEP are monitored in their respective processes, as well. I am referring to Monitor Communications and Monitor Stakeholder Engagement.

Here too, the ResMP acts as input to the Monitor Communications process as it has information on roles and responsibilities related to project communications. Similarly, the ResMP inputs the Monitor Stakeholder Engagement process.

All change requests raised from the processes of Resource Management are analyzed, processed, and addressed through integrated change control, where the change control board (CCB) makes decisions on the fate of the CRs.

 

Hands-on Exercises

Now that we understand the processes, key inputs and outputs, and interactions among the Resource, Communications, and Stakeholder Management KAs, let’s do a few hands-on exercises.

In the below figure, each box or block represents a process in one of the three areas we’ve been discussing—Resource, Communications, and Stakeholder. I’ve put certain questions in these blocks. Can you answer them by replacing the questions with the name of the processes?

The answers should be one of the processes that we saw earlier within the Resource Management, Communications Management, and Stakeholder Management KAs. All change requests will be addressed via integrated change control.

Scroll down only if you have answered!

. . .

. . .

. . .

 

The correct answers are shown below:

For a better understanding, I’ve color coded some of the lines in the above figure. For example, unicolor coded lines such as green, orange, pink, or black represent a single input or output throughout the processes and across the KAs.  Can you share just one key output for each process? Do not scroll, before you have answered.

. . .

. . .

. . .

Note that in the above figure, the following is true:

  • The Resource Management Plan (ResMP) is highlighted in green colored lines.
  • The Communications Management Plan (CMP) is highlighted in orange colored lines.
  • The Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) is highlighted in pink colored lines.
  • The Stakeholder Register is highlighted in black colored lines.
  • The change requests (CRs) are highlighted in purple colored lines.

To explain further, I have another video [duration: 9m:54s] on how the twins and the close sibling interact with each other. The video is taken from PMP Live Lessons.

 

Guidance for the PMP Exam

The PMP exam tests your understanding on how knowledge areas interact and interplay with each other–why, when, and what inputs or outputs are used in various situational contexts or scenarios. Like with the twin KAs, questions can be tricky when the close sibling, Resource Management, gets involved. There are quite a few subtle differences among the three respective processes and associated documents that confuse many aspiring PMPs.

In my videos and examples here, I’ve referenced several documents and plans to show how all the three knowledge areas interact. Of course, there can be a number of other documents, plans, or subsidiary components of the plans that create other possible flows. Nevertheless, the aforementioned plans will be the most important for you in understanding the interactions between these KAs.

 

Key Points of Interplay between the Twins and the Close Sibling

Finally, as we close, I’m listing a few key points, out of many, about the interplay between the twins and the close sibling.

  • Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) is for stakeholders’ engagements, including those of the team members.
  • The question of how to engage team members is a part of Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP), but, the question of how to manage the team members is addressed by Resource Management Plan (ResMP).
  • The Stakeholder Register includes ALL stakeholders, including project team members.
  • The names of the project team members are part of the Stakeholder Register, but roles and responsibilities of the team members are part of the Resource Management Plan (ResMP).
  • The communications requirements for all stakeholders, including the team members, will be part of the Communications Management Plan (CMP).

What do you think? As management practitioners, how important are resource, communications, and stakeholder management KAs for your projects? Is there any other area which interacts closely with the twins and the sibling? I’d love to hear your views and thoughts in the comment section below.

 

References

[1] PMP Live Lessons – Guaranteed Pass or Your Money Back, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course, by Satya Narayan Dash

[3] I Want To Be A PMP: The Plain and Simple Way To Be A PMP, 2nd edition, by Satya Narayan Dash

[4] Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, 6th Edition, by Project Management Institute (PMI)

 

 

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