Executing Process Group Process – Acquire Project Team

This is another process in Executing Process Group. Below is Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs Mind Map for Acquire Project Team which is classified under Human Resources Management Knowledge Area.


Acquire Project Team

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

Career Development Framework

Career Management” was a jargon for me till I attended a training about that. Career management & development has lot of tags attached to it like Talent, Competency, Skills, Job level, Roles & Responsibilities, Career, Improvement Plans, etc..etc..! We need to understand distinct meaning for each word to differentiate what we know with what really is it.

Once a resource joined a project almost all his future decided with the Job level, Tenure in that Job Role, How was his performance? Here is a 2 x 2 grid framework which utilizes two key factors – Tenure in Roles & Performance in deciding career development of the resource.

Learn the Job? – New to Job? New to a Role? Both scenarios fall under this category. As soon as a resource inducted/promoted in a team, his/her performance will be measured against goals set for that individual based on the roles & responsibilities attached to his/her job level.

Career Development Framework

Stretch Goals? – Resource is picking up job knowledge very well in short span of time. What to do now? Promote? Nope. Getting more exposure, in other words experience in a job level is more important for promotion. If a resource perform beyond his goals set then challenge him/her with more complex goals. This will make the project benefit out of increased productivity and also resource gets trained on number of required activities.

Improve performance? – A resource spending years in a job level without improving his performance. What do we do? “Fire him!” 🙂 This will be the word management will propose. Lower the goals & give the individual a positive feeling. Identify the missing critical skill. Put him/her on training. Slowly develop the individual based on his/her own talent.

Future Responsibilities? – A resource found to be performing well for longer period of time within a job role – here comes the promotion part. Every organization has its own policies & procedures for promotion. Hence the tenure & performance scales differ. It is up to the manager to convince upper management for an individual’s promotion with all evidences.

Key points for thought:

1. Anyone will move from one quadrant to another quadrant within a performance cycle.

2. Ignored or delayed action on each quadrant results loss to the organization & de-motivate resources

3. Keep & do regularly update resources talent assessment & skill inventory

Conflict Management MindMap

Here is the conflict resolution & conflict management Mindmap. This map is self explanatory on conflict characteristics, conflict management influence factors & gives more info on each resolution type.


Characteristics of Conflict

  • Natural & inevitable

  • Forces a search for alternatives

  • Team issue

  • Needs to be resolved by conflicting parties itself

  • Can be escalated to Project Manager

  • Pros

    • Increased Productivity

    • Better decision making

    • Stronger team

  • Cons

    • Low team morale

    • Decreased productivity

    • Biased decision making

    • Divided team

Conflict Management

  • Characteristics

    • Openness required for resolution

    • Resolution focus on issues

    • Resolution focus not on personalities

    • Resolution focus on present, not the past

    • Different styles followed by different manager

  • Influence Factors

    • Relative importance & Intensity of the conflict

    • Time pressure for resolution

    • Position taken by conflicting parties

    • Need resolution for Short term or Long term basis?

  • Techniques

    • Withdrawing/Avoiding

      • Worst way to resolve conflict

      • Withdrawing or Avoiding potential conflict situation

      • Temporary solution & leaves the conflict exists

      • Spoil goals & relationships

    • Smoothing/Accommodating

      • Temporary solution & conflict may resurface later

      • Making differences smaller they seem by emphasizing more on agreement areas

      • Good for relationships

    • Compromising

      • Permanent solution & conflict may resurface later if solution not followed

      • Getting into a solution that both parties agrees to some extent

      • middle-of-the-road kind of solution

      • Neither lose nor win

      • Will not make any difference in relationships

    • Forcing

      • Provides Win-Lose solutions

      • One party forces other to agree

      • Happens when one has more power than other

      • Permanent solution but not the best

      • Spoil relationships

    • Collaborating

      • Permanent solution & incorporated from one out of many resolutions

      • Resolutions provided from different viewpoints

      • More than one resolution identified, ranked and agreed best option selected

      • Leads to consensus and commitment

      • Experts or team involved in getting their viewpoints

    • Confronting/Problem Solving

      • Permanent and indisputable solution

      • Best way to resolve conflict

      • requires a give-and-take attitude and open dialogue

      • Conflicts considered as problems & solved

      • Finds one correct solution for each disagreement area

      • Clear resolution -> no disagreement after this

      • Good for relationships

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites.

Performance Review Meetings – Common Ground for Constructive Feedback System

Performance is focused behavior or purposeful work (Rudman, 1998, p. 205)

Generally performance review meetings are depicted as fighting stage for manager and team member. In my experience, I found few thing which I like to share here. I am here to tell you how to make performance reviews more useful to the life and not how to conduct/attend a performance review activity. To me, argument on a disputed item is not wrong. But suddenly dispute arises at the end of year while discussing the performance. How come that could be possible? Main reason for these are:

* Manager and team member are not communicating well about the work performed regularly.

* Expectations set by manager are not clear or misunderstood.

* Wrong goal settings for the respective team member’s role.

* Not much work to perform. Keeping a person in bench for long time and telling he has not performed the activity for most of the review period.

* Both manager and team member doesn’t understand they are working for the project/organization and taking things personal.

* Manager lists only mistakes whereas team member points only work performed.

* Comparing team members – this is done by both manager and team member. Ex. Manager says ‘That guy is also same experience of yours but delivering more output’. Team member says – ‘That guy is also same grade as mine but you are giving more benefits to him but not to me’

* Politics between team member and manager – Ex. May be team member is an eligible candidate for Manager promotion but manager doesn’t want to promote him.

* At the extreme level, considering both of them are enemies in the battle ground. In this team member & manager never accepts each others’ comments and even throwing papers/slamming doors at the end/shouting in the loud voice happens.

Everyone, from top management till the lowest level employees, experience above mentioned point in their life every year or half yearly or quarterly based on their feedback review period. To be practical (I don’t want to use ‘Ideal’ which means ‘impossible’ in all our dictionaries!), performance review meetings are common ground for constructive feedback system. During these meetings manager and team member

* understands about each others expectations

* sets common goal to achieve to make the project successful in turn making each one involved in the project successful

* draws road map for the career goals and aspirations

* takes closer look at issues in hand and develop solutions to overcome

I practiced above four points early on in my project management career and it is absolutely possible to do it. Try and tell me is it making any change in your teams growth.

What is Stakeholder Analysis? – Part 3

This topic is continuation of earlier posts what is stakeholder analysis? – Part 1 & what is stakeholder analysis? – Part 2

In this final post we discuss the three essential steps in stakeholder analysis in detail. Following are the vital steps in any stakeholder analysis:

* Stakeholder identification and documenting their interests (+ve or -ve) in the project

* Assessing the power of, importance of & level of impact upon each stakeholder

* Identifying how best to engage stakeholders in the project by analyzing their reactions or response in different situations.

1) Stakeholder identification and documenting their interests (+ve or -ve) in the project

This is the first step in stakeholder analysis. In Stakeholder identification process, project manager with the help of project management team need to identify all individual or organizations impacted by the project, and documenting their interests. Stakeholder identification is critical for any project – usually it is done early planning stage, and complete knowledge about stakeholders increases probability of project success.

Key stakeholder identification may be easy task to do. General list of key stakeholders are:

Project Manager,

Customer/user, Project team members,

Performing organization,

Project management team,

Sponsor and

major influencers.

Above key stakeholders are actively involved in the project & whose interests may be affected as a result of project execution or project completion.

Identifying other or secondary stakeholders can be done either brainstorming or interviewing with experts/project management team on the project area. Project manager can start with an analysis of the stakeholders and then link them to specific threat and opportunity factors.

Some of the key questions project manger may ask at this step include(not limited to):

• Who is threatening the target of this project?
• Who is most dependent on this project?
• Has there been a similar project in the market? If so, to what extent did it succeed? Who was in charge and how did local stakeholders respond?
• Who possesses claims – including legal jurisdiction and customary use – over the project/resources at stake?
• Is any government departments to be involved in this project?
• Are there national and/or international bodies involved in this project because of specific laws or treaties?
• Who are the people or groups most knowledgeable about, and capable of dealing with the project at stake?
• Are the stakeholders and their interests stable across the globe or is there any identifiable pattern exists?
• Are there major events/trends/activities currently affecting the stakeholders?
• Is this project replaceable by other project(s)?

Best tool in identifying the key stakeholders and their interests is brainstroming. Begin by brainstorming all possible stakeholders using a questionnaire(like the one listed above). Then research the general stakeholder behavior. Talk to various stakeholders, and ask them who they would see as potential stakeholders for the initiative in question. The list of stakeholders may grow or shrink as the analysis progresses, and the understanding deepens. Further, try to learn about each stakeholder group in as much depth as possible.

2) Assessing the power of, importance of & level of impact upon each stakeholder

In this step, stakeholders are organized and categorized according to their likely influence over decisions to be made, and the likely impact of project decisions upon them.

Key questions for this second step in a stakeholder analysis include(not limited to):

• Who is directly responsible for decisions on issues important to the project?
• Who holds positions of responsibility in interested organizations?
• Who is influential in the project area (both thematic and geographic areas)?
• Who will be affected by the project?
• Who will promote/support the project, provided that they are involved?
• Who will obstruct/hinder the project if they are not involved?
• Who has been involved in the area (thematic or geographic) in the past?
• Who has not been involved up to now but should have been?

Power – Interest grid (as shown below) is the best tool to plot the stakeholders based on the outcome of above questions. Depend on the quadrant a stakeholder plotted, project manager need to plan his future actions.

Explanation on actions for these quadrants already available in Stakeholder Analysis – Part 2.
Power-Interest Stakeholder Grid

3) Identifying how best to engage stakeholders in the project by analyzing their reactions or response in different situations

Finally, the third step involves determining how to involve the different stakeholders. Different types of stakeholders will be engaged in different ways in the various stages of the project, from gathering and giving information, to consultation, dialogue, working together, and partnership. Determining who needs or wants to be involved, and when and how that involvement can be achieved provides the basis for developing collaborations.

Once stakeholder views are understood, a decision can be made on whether to pursue collaboration. The importance of the process in planning and conducting successful collaborations cannot be overemphasized. Good-faith efforts are often derailed because the parties are not skilled in working together, and because insufficient attention is given to designing and managing it. Using an inclusive, transparent approach during project development and implementation will help build ownership and commitment. If it is not possible or realistic to have all key stakeholders involved from the outset, then a process for gradual involvement may be needed.

( Reference : Stakeholder Collaboration by Ecoregional Conservation Strategies Unit, Research and Development, WWF, Washington)

Preventive Actions

Though Preventive Action term is often used with Quality Management Systems, but it is vital and used widely in all knowledge areas esp. Project Integration, HR, Quality & Risk.

Some processes recommend preventive actions as output and few other processes takes the approved preventive actions as input to bring the project into compliance with project management plans.

Preventive Actions are documented direction to perform an activity that can reduce the probability of negative consequences associated with project risks.

Preventive actions are recommended in anticipation of possible problems and they are generally output from monitoring and controlling process group. Preventive actions may also include contingent actions taken to reduce the seriousness of a future problem if it should occur. Depends on the nature of responses to preventive actions, sometimes, they may results in a change request.

A simple example of Preventive action would be providing first aid kits in each block of organization and posting list of emergency phone numbers inside lifts.

Project manager and project management team along with all stakeholders need to review recommended preventive actions and debate on the effectiveness and implementation procedures before they are submitted for approval. Only approved preventive actions are later implemented.

Preventive action is a proactive process to identify opportunities for improvement rather than a simple reaction to identified problems. Preventive action include investigation, action, review, and further action if so required and follow Deming’s PDCA cycle.

In Quality management, Recommendation of new preventive actions is done in Quality control process. Preventive action involves action taken to prevent a condition that may exceed established parameters in a manufacturing or development process, which may have been indicated through a QC measurement.

In Quality Assurance process, quality audits confirm the implementation of approved change request, defect repairs, corrective actions, and preventive actions and it may recommends corrective actions.

Taking preventive actions in HR issues reduces the probability and impact of resource problems before they occur. Examples to preventive actions are: training resources beforehand to reduce problems during resource crunch, clarification on roles and responsibilities, project progress and deadlines can increase the team buy-in and reduce problems when they are asked to put extra effort to meet project deadlines.

As mentioned in my earlier post on stakeholder management & analysis, by anticipating stakeholders’ reaction to the project, taking preventive actions can be taken to win their support or minimize potential negative impacts.

Root cause analysis combined with corrective action to help understand the cause of the deviation and potentially prevent recurrence of a similar problem.

[1]. PMBOK® Guide – 3rd edition

What is Stakeholder Analysis? – Part 2

In earlier post, we reviewed few basics on Stakeholder Analysis. In this post, let us review few more important information.

Whatever method is for stakeholder management used, following are essential steps for stakeholder analysis:

* Stakeholder identification and documenting their interests (+ve or -ve) in the project

* Assessing the power of, importance of & level of impact upon each stakeholder

* Identifying how best to engage stakeholders in the project by analyzing their reactions or response in different situations.

There are multiple category of models available, some of them:

  • Power/Interest grid
  • Power/Influence grid
  • Influence/Impact grid

Power/Interest grid is widely used tool in stakeholder analysis & it is used in assessing stakeholders (step 2). In this model, each stakeholder is mapped to different quadrant based on their interest on the project against the influence (power) they have over the project.

Power-Interest Stakeholder Grid

High power, interested people: these are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy.

High power, less interested people: put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.

Low power, interested people: keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. These people can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.

Low power, less interested people: again, monitor these people, but do not bore them with excessive communication.

Even the identified stakeholder is an organization, it is better to exactly document the key person’s name for the organization to have better control over situation at times.

As a Project Manager we need to know – when to do & use stakeholder analysis outputs in Project Management Life Cycle?

Let us try to answer this question in detail.

Stakeholder analysis can be undertaken throughout all stages of the project cycle, but it definitely should be undertaken at the outset of a project. Moreover, project stakeholders have high influence over the project at the start and it decreases as the project continues.

In particular, during the Initiating phase, process of identifying stakeholders impacted by the project is crucial. Project Manager can get list of key stakeholders from earlier projects executed in their organization. Project manager should document relevant information regarding stakeholders’ interests, level of involvement, and their impact on project success.

During the Planning phase, a detailed stakeholder analysis, involving all key stakeholders, will help shape the development of strategic actions and risk analysis. Stakeholder analysis is an important input for Project manager in Communication Planning.

In the Execution phase, stakeholder analysis will help identify who, how and when stakeholders should be involved in project activities and whom to communicate regarding project progress depending on their responsibility & authority levels.

During the Monitoring & Controlling phases, the stakeholder analysis serves as a tool, providing a baseline against which projects can monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their engagement with stakeholders, both supportive and opposing.

What is Stakeholder Analysis – Part 3 discusses about the three essential steps in stakeholder analysis in detail.