Project Resource Management and Agile context


Project resource management involves effectively planning, allocating, and managing resources to ensure that project goals are achieved on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. Resources in a project context can include human resources (e.g., project team members, contractors), materials, equipment, facilities, and financial resources. Here are the key components of project resource management:

  1. Resource Planning: Identify the resources required for the project based on the project scope, objectives, and deliverables. Determine the quantity, type, and skill level of resources needed. Consider resource availability, constraints, and dependencies. Develop a resource management plan that outlines how resources will be acquired, allocated, and utilized throughout the project lifecycle.

  2. Resource Allocation: Assign resources to specific tasks or activities based on their skills, availability, and suitability for the work. Balance workloads to avoid overallocation or underutilization of resources. Consider factors such as resource availability, dependencies, and critical path activities when allocating resources.

  3. Resource Acquisition: Procure external resources, such as contractors, vendors, or specialized equipment, as needed for the project. Define requirements, solicit bids or proposals, negotiate contracts, and onboard external resources in accordance with project needs and budget constraints.

  4. Resource Development: Develop and maintain the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of project team members to ensure they can effectively contribute to project success. Provide training, coaching, and professional development opportunities to enhance team members' skills and expertise. Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the project team.

  5. Resource Tracking and Monitoring: Track resource utilization and performance against the project plan. Monitor progress, identify deviations from the plan, and address resource-related issues or constraints promptly. Use project management tools and techniques, such as resource histograms, Gantt charts, and earned value analysis, to monitor resource usage and performance.

  6. Resource Optimization: Optimize resource allocation and utilization to maximize productivity and efficiency. Identify opportunities to reallocate resources, adjust schedules, or streamline processes to improve resource utilization and minimize project delays or bottlenecks.

  7. Conflict Resolution: Address conflicts or disputes related to resource allocation, availability, or performance. Facilitate open communication, collaboration, and negotiation to resolve conflicts and ensure that project goals are prioritized and achieved.

  8. Cost Management: Monitor and control project costs associated with resource utilization, procurement, and management. Track resource-related expenses, manage budget constraints, and implement cost-saving measures where possible.

Effective project resource management requires careful planning, proactive communication, and continuous monitoring and adaptation throughout the project lifecycle. By effectively managing resources, project managers can optimize productivity, minimize risks, and ensure successful project outcomes.

Resource Management Plan

The Resource management plan is the component of the project management plan that provides guidance on how project resources should be categorized, allocated, managed, and released. A project resource management plan outlines how resources will be identified, acquired, allocated, utilized, and managed throughout the project lifecycle. It serves as a roadmap for effectively managing resources to ensure project success. Here's a template for creating a project resource management plan:

The resource management plan includes:

Identification of resources 

Acquisition of resources 

Roles and Responsibilities 

  • Roles—The function of the person in the project. 
  • Authority—Rights to use resources, make decisions, accept deliverables, etc. 
  • Responsibility—Assigned duties to be performed. 
  • Competence—Skills and capacities required to complete the desired activities. 

Project Organization Chart

  • Defines the project team members and their reporting relationships. 

Project team resource management—Guidance on the lifecycle of the team resources; how they are defined, staffed, managed, and eventually released. 

Training strategies and requirements. 

Team development methods to be used. 

Resource controls for the management of physical resources to support the team. 

Recognition Plan—How team members are rewarded and recognized. 

By developing a comprehensive project resource management plan, project managers can ensure that resources are effectively managed to support project objectives, minimize risks, and deliver successful project outcomes.

RACI Matrix

A RACI matrix is a tool used in project management to clarify and define the roles and responsibilities of team members for specific tasks or activities within a project. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Here's how the RACI matrix works:

  1. Responsible (R): The "Responsible" role is assigned to individuals who are responsible for performing the tasks or activities. They are the ones who actually do the work to complete the task.

  2. Accountable (A): The "Accountable" role is assigned to individuals who are ultimately answerable for the completion and success of the task or activity. They are responsible for ensuring that the work is completed satisfactorily and may delegate tasks to the Responsible individuals.

  3. Consulted (C): The "Consulted" role is assigned to individuals who provide input or expertise to the task or activity. They are consulted for their opinions, feedback, or advice before decisions are made or actions are taken.

  4. Informed (I): The "Informed" role is assigned to individuals who need to be kept informed about the progress or outcomes of the task or activity. They are not directly involved in the work but need to be aware of the results or decisions.

The RACI matrix is typically presented as a table with tasks or activities listed in rows and team members or roles listed in columns. Each cell of the matrix indicates the role(s) assigned to each team member for each task or activity. Here's an example of how a RACI matrix might look: 

In this example:

  • Team Member 1 is Responsible for Task 1, Accountable for Task 2, Consulted for Task 3, and Informed for all tasks.
  • Team Member 2 is Accountable for Task 1, Responsible for Task 2, Consulted for Task 1, and Informed for all tasks.
  • Team Member 3 is Consulted for Task 1, Informed for Task 2, Responsible for Task 3, and Accountable for Task 3.
  • Team Member 4 is Informed for all tasks, indicating that they need to be kept informed about the progress or outcomes of each task.

By using a RACI matrix, project managers can clarify roles and responsibilities, improve communication and collaboration, and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively within the project team.

Project Team Selection Tools

Selecting the right project team is critical for project success, and several tools can aid in this process. These tools help assess candidates' skills, experience, and suitability for project roles. Here are some commonly used project team selection tools:

  1. Skills Assessment Tests: Skills assessment tests evaluate candidates' technical skills, knowledge, and competencies relevant to the project. These tests can be customized based on the specific requirements of the project roles. Examples include coding tests for developers, case studies for business analysts, or design challenges for UX/UI designers.

  2. Behavioural Interviews: Behavioural interviews focus on candidates' past experiences, behaviours, and problem-solving abilities. These interviews aim to assess candidates' fit with the project team culture and their ability to handle specific project scenarios. Use structured interview questions to elicit examples of how candidates have dealt with challenges, communicated with team members, and contributed to successful projects.

  3. Technical Interviews: Technical interviews delve deeper into candidates' technical knowledge and expertise. They assess candidates' proficiency in specific technologies, tools, or methodologies relevant to the project. Conduct technical interviews with subject matter experts or senior team members to evaluate candidates' technical capabilities and problem-solving skills.

  4. Assessment Centers: Assessment centers are comprehensive evaluation programs that simulate real-world project scenarios. Candidates participate in a series of exercises, case studies, and role-plays to demonstrate their skills, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Assessment centers provide a holistic view of candidates' capabilities and potential for success in project roles.

  5. Reference Checks: Reference checks involve contacting candidates' previous employers, colleagues, or clients to gather feedback on their performance, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. Use structured reference check questions to obtain specific examples of candidates' strengths, areas for improvement, and suitability for the project team.

  6. Portfolio Reviews: Portfolio reviews are particularly relevant for creative or technical roles such as designers, developers, or artists. Candidates showcase their previous work, projects, or achievements to demonstrate their skills and expertise. Evaluate candidates' portfolios based on the quality of their work, creativity, problem-solving ability, and alignment with project requirements.

  7. Personality Assessments: Personality assessments measure candidates' personality traits, communication styles, and interpersonal skills. These assessments help identify candidates who are a good fit for the project team culture and dynamics. Use validated personality assessment tools such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or DISC assessment to gain insights into candidates' preferences and behaviours.

  8. Team Interviews or Panel Interviews: Team interviews or panel interviews involve multiple team members interviewing candidates together. This approach allows team members to assess candidates' fit with the team dynamics and culture. Panel interviews also facilitate consensus-building and decision-making among team members regarding candidate selection.

By using these project team selection tools, project managers can make informed decisions and assemble a high-performing project team that is well-equipped to achieve project objectives and deliver successful outcomes.

Team Charter

A team charter is a document that establishes the purpose, objectives, roles, responsibilities, and guidelines for a project team. It serves as a blueprint for team members to understand their roles, expectations, and how they will work together to achieve project success. Here's a template for creating a team charter:

  1. Title:  Provide a clear and descriptive title for the team charter, such as "[Project Name] Team Charter" or "[Team Name] Charter".

  2. Introduction: Provide an overview of the project and the purpose of the team charter. Explain the importance of establishing clear guidelines and expectations for the project team.

  3. Mission Statement: Define the mission or purpose of the project team in a concise statement. Clearly articulate the team's goals, objectives, and desired outcomes.

  4. Scope: Describe the scope of the project and the boundaries within which the team will operate. Clarify the project deliverables, milestones, and timeline.

  5. Team Objectives: Outline specific objectives and goals that the team aims to achieve. Ensure that objectives are measurable, realistic, and aligned with the project's mission and scope.

  6. Roles and Responsibilities: Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Specify key roles such as project manager, team lead, subject matter experts, etc. Clearly outline the duties, tasks, and expectations associated with each role.

  7. Communication Plan: Establish guidelines for communication within the team. Specify communication channels, frequency of updates, and preferred modes of communication (e.g., email, meetings, collaboration tools). Identify key stakeholders and their roles in project communication.

  8. Decision-Making Process: Define the decision-making process within the team. Specify how decisions will be made, who has the authority to make decisions, and how conflicts will be resolved. Ensure that the decision-making process is transparent, inclusive, and aligned with project objectives.

  9. Team Norms and Values: Establish norms and values that govern team behaviour and interactions. Define expectations for professionalism, respect, collaboration, and accountability. Encourage open communication, feedback, and continuous improvement.

  10. Team agreements (such as shared hours, improvement activities). 

  11. Ground rules include all actions considered acceptable and unacceptable in the project management context. 

By creating a comprehensive team charter, project managers can establish a shared understanding among team members, clarify expectations, and set the stage for collaboration, accountability, and success.

Bruce Tuckman's Team Building Model

The Tuckman's team building model, also known as the Tuckman's stages of group development, describes the typical stages that teams go through as they form, grow, and become effective. Developed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965, the model consists of four stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. A fifth stage, Adjourning, was later added to represent the process of disbanding or transitioning out of the team. Here's an overview of each stage:

  1. Forming: In the forming stage, team members come together and begin to get acquainted with one another. There is often a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity as team members are unfamiliar with each other's backgrounds, skills, and roles. Individuals may be polite and cautious in their interactions, seeking guidance from the team leader and trying to understand the purpose and goals of the team.

  2. Storming: In the storming stage, conflicts and disagreements may arise as team members express their opinions, assert their ideas, and establish their roles within the team. There may be power struggles, competition for leadership, and challenges in communication and collaboration. It is common for tensions to surface during this stage as team members navigate differences in personalities, working styles, and priorities.

  3. Norming: In the norming stage, team members begin to resolve conflicts, build trust, and establish norms and standards for behaviour. There is a greater sense of cohesion and unity as team members develop mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. Roles and responsibilities become clearer, and communication improves as team members collaborate towards common goals.

  4. Performing: In the performing stage, the team is highly functional, productive, and focused on achieving its objectives. Team members work together effectively, leveraging their individual strengths and talents to accomplish tasks and solve problems. There is a high level of trust, open communication, and synergy within the team, leading to high performance and successful outcomes.

  5. Adjourning (or sometimes called "Mourning"): In the adjourning stage, the team disbands or transitions out of its current configuration. This stage is characterized by reflection, celebration of accomplishments, and preparation for the next phase. Team members may experience feelings of loss or nostalgia as they say goodbye to their teammates and move on to new projects or roles.

It's important to note that teams do not necessarily progress through these stages linearly, and they may experience regression or cycles of behavior as they encounter new challenges or changes. Additionally, effective team leadership, communication, and support are essential for guiding teams through these stages and fostering a positive and productive team environment.

The Hershey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory, also known as the Situational Leadership® Model, was developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard in the late 1960s. This theory suggests that effective leadership is contingent upon the readiness or maturity level of the followers. It emphasizes the need for leaders to adapt their leadership style based on the specific needs and abilities of their followers in different situations. The key components of the Hershey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory include:

Leadership Styles: The theory identifies four primary leadership styles based on the amount of direction and support provided by the leader: 

  • Directing (Telling): High directive behaviour and low supportive behaviour. The leader provides specific instructions and closely supervises followers. 
  • Coaching (Selling): High directive behaviour and high supportive behaviour. The leader continues to provide guidance and direction while also offering support and encouragement. 
  • Supporting (Participating): Low directive behaviour and high supportive behaviour. The leader provides less direction and allows followers to take more responsibility, while offering support and encouragement as needed. 
  • Delegating (Empowering): Low directive behaviour and low supportive behaviour. The leader gives followers more autonomy and freedom to make decisions and take initiative.

Follower Readiness:

  • Follower readiness refers to the ability and willingness of followers to accomplish a specific task or goal. It is determined by two factors: competence (ability) and commitment (willingness).
  • The theory identifies four levels of follower readiness:
    • R1: Unable and Unwilling - Followers lack the necessary skills and are unwilling to perform the task.
    • R2: Unable but Willing - Followers are motivated but lack the necessary skills to perform the task.
    • R3: Able but Unwilling - Followers have the skills but are hesitant or unmotivated to perform the task.
    • R4: Able and Willing - Followers have the skills and motivation to perform the task independently.

Leadership Effectiveness: Effective leadership occurs when the leader matches their leadership style to the readiness level of the followers. This means adapting the leadership approach based on the specific needs and abilities of the followers in a given situation. For example, when followers are at a low level of readiness (R1), the leader should adopt a directing style to provide clear instructions and guidance. As followers become more ready and capable, the leader can gradually shift to more supportive and empowering styles.

Overall, the Hershey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory emphasizes the importance of flexibility and adaptability in leadership. It suggests that effective leaders are those who can assess the readiness level of their followers and adjust their leadership style accordingly to support and develop their capabilities.

Organizational Theories

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation." It suggests that human needs can be organized into a hierarchical structure, with basic physiological needs at the bottom and higher-level psychological needs at the top. The hierarchy is often depicted as a pyramid, with each level representing a different category of needs. Here are the five levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, arranged from the lowest to the highest:

  1. Physiological Needs: Physiological needs are the most basic biological requirements for human survival, such as air, water, food, shelter, sleep, and clothing. These needs must be satisfied before higher-level needs become motivators.

  2. Safety Needs: Safety needs refer to the desire for physical and emotional security, stability, and protection from harm or danger. This includes safety in the form of employment, health, property, family, and personal security.

  3. Love and Belongingness Needs: Love and belongingness needs involve the desire for social connections, intimate relationships, friendships, and a sense of belonging to a group or community. Humans seek affection, acceptance, and meaningful relationships with others.

  4. Esteem Needs: Esteem needs encompass both internal and external sources of self-worth, recognition, respect, and achievement. This includes the desire for self-esteem, confidence, competence, mastery, independence, and the respect and admiration of others.

  5. Self-Actualization Needs: Self-actualization needs represent the highest level of human potential and fulfillment. It involves the desire for personal growth, self-discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and the realization of one's full potential. Self-actualized individuals pursue intrinsic goals and values and strive for personal fulfillment and self-fulfillment.

According to Maslow, individuals progress through these levels sequentially, starting with the fulfillment of lower-level needs before moving on to higher-level needs. Once a lower-level need is satisfied, it no longer serves as a motivator, and individuals become motivated by the next higher-level need. However, Maslow's theory has been criticized for its lack of empirical evidence and its cultural and individual variations in the prioritization of needs. Nonetheless, it remains influential in understanding human motivation and behavior.

Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory, also known as the Motivation-Hygiene Theory, was proposed by Frederick Herzberg in the late 1950s. Unlike other motivational theories that focus solely on factors that motivate employees, Herzberg's theory suggests that there are two distinct sets of factors that influence employee satisfaction and motivation: motivators (satisfiers) and hygiene factors (dissatisfiers). Here's an overview of Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory:

  1. Motivators (Satisfiers): Motivators are factors related to the content of the work itself and the intrinsic aspects of the job. They are sources of satisfaction and motivation for employees when present but do not necessarily lead to dissatisfaction when absent. Examples of motivators include challenging work, opportunities for growth and advancement, recognition, responsibility, achievement, and meaningfulness in the work itself. Herzberg argued that motivators are primarily associated with job satisfaction and the psychological aspects of work that contribute to intrinsic motivation and personal fulfilment.

  2. Hygiene Factors (Dissatisfiers): Hygiene factors are external to the actual work and are related to the context or environment in which the work is performed. They are sources of dissatisfaction when absent but do not necessarily lead to increased motivation or satisfaction when present. Examples of hygiene factors include salary and benefits, working conditions, job security, organizational policies, supervision, interpersonal relationships, and company culture. Herzberg suggested that hygiene factors are primarily associated with job dissatisfaction and the absence of certain conditions or amenities that are necessary for maintaining basic levels of comfort and job security.

  3. Dual Continuum Theory: Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory proposes a dual continuum, where job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are separate and independent constructs influenced by different sets of factors. According to Herzberg, enhancing motivators can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation, while improving hygiene factors can prevent job dissatisfaction but may not necessarily lead to increased motivation or satisfaction. Herzberg argued that organizations should focus on both motivators and hygiene factors to create a work environment that fosters job satisfaction, motivation, and overall well-being among employees.

Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory has had a significant impact on the field of organizational behavior and management, particularly in understanding the factors that influence employee satisfaction and motivation. It suggests that addressing both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of work is essential for creating a positive and fulfilling work environment.

McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y apply to the management of labour. Theory X states that people generally do not like to work, and are not motivated to work. Management feels the need to supervise labour to maintain productivity. Theory Y is essentially the opposite: people want to work and enjoy it, and management does not need to "hover" and constantly supervise. Sometimes, Theory X is called the "old-school" approach, and Theory Y is a more modern approach. McClelland's Achievement Theory has three components: achievement, power, and affiliation. Achievement relates to success, power to influence other people, and affiliation to belonging to a team.