Project Resource Management

Knowledge Area Executive Summary

Reource Management - PM-ProLearnThis Knowledge Area is about identifying, acquiring, and managing team and physical resources in projects.  Previous editions of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (or PMBOK®) separated the Human Resources from the physical resources on projects.  This change to incorporating both resource types in the same chapter moved and renamed a few processes (this Knowledge Area was previously 4 total processes and is now 6 processes) in order to encompass all resources together according to trends and emerging practices in Project Management.

  • Process Groups Covered by Stakeholder Management:
    • Planning
    • Executing
    • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Processes in this Knowledge Area
    • Plan Resource Management
    • Estimate Activity Resources
    • Acquire Resources
    • Develop Team
    • Manage Team
    • Control Resources
  • Major or important ITTOs
    • Project Charter
    • PM Plan
    • Project Documents
    • Work Performance Data
    • Data Analysis
    • Team Charter
    • Estimating Techniques
    • Basis of Estimates
    • Resource Breakdown Structure
    • Resource Requirements
    • Team Performance Assessments
    • Change Requests
    • Resource Calendars
    • Physical Resource Assignments
    • Project Team Assignments
    • Organizational Behavior Theory
    • Responsibility Assignment Matrix
  • Critical concepts

Resource Management encompasses the processes to identify, acquire, and manage resources needed to successfully complete the project.  We will identify all human resources, define their responsibilities on the project, where they will be sourced from, and how you will acquire, lead, and motivate the team to find success.  Physical resources encompass all of the material, equipment, and supplies to complete the project.  To succeed in this Knowledge Area, you must have an understanding of Organizational Behavior Theory, Leadership Styles, and Conflict Management.

Our first process, Plan Resource Management, established the approach we will take and the level of management effort needed for managing project resources based upon the type and complexity of the project.  We can begin developing this plan using the Project Charter and any already-completed PM Plan components and Project Documents.  During this process, the initial project organizational chart and Responsibility Assignment Matrix (or RTM) are created.  As a result of this process, we will generate a Resource Management Plan (which provides a structure to categorize, allocate, manage, and release resources for the project) and a Team Charter (which lays the ground rules for the team on the project).  These two items place an extreme importance on having a familiarity with Organizational Behavior Theories.  A chart to assist you is provided in the “What to Memorize in This Knowledge Area” section of this article.

The next Resource Management PM process to discuss is Estimate Activity Resources.  This process utilizes aspects of the Project Schedule Management Knowledge Area to help identify what resources will be needed to complete each activity.  It also brings in aspects of Project Cost Management to determine resources based upon the funding capabilities (what we can afford) for the project.  We will also add in aspects of Project Risk Management to identify any risks that may be associated by our resource selection.  Now we are starting to see how all of these Knowledge Areas interact with each other, constantly feeding and adding detail to other Knowledge Areas.  Using these inputs, we will use various Estimating Techniques to determine what resources will be needed to complete each activity, keep us within our cost baseline, and keep the level of risk within the tolerance of our stakeholders.  Outputs include the Resource Requirements, Basis of Estimates, and the Resource Breakdown Structure.

Now that we know what we’re going to need and how we plan to manage the resources, we have another PM process called Acquire Resources.  This process outlines and guides the selection of resources and then subsequently assigns them to their respective activities.  We are going to go and get all of the people, places, and things that we need to complete the project work.  This will require some interpersonal and team skills as well as decision making skills and tools.  As an output, we will have physical resource assignments, project team assignments, and resource calendars to names just a few of the Project Documents generated or updated as a result of this process.

Another PM process in Resource Management is the Develop Team process.  We take the resource calendars, team assignments, team charter, and any developed aspects of the PM Plan and begin to execute the project.  Resulting work on the project and in this process will allow us to create team performance assessments which will let us know which stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Team Development our team is in.  This helps to determine what type of training, mentoring, or conflict management practices are needed to get the team operating at peak performance as quickly as possible.  The goal here is to get the team from the lowest stage of team development, the Forming stage, to optimal performance in the Performing stage.

Another Executing process being used in this Knowledge Area is the Manage Team process.  This one is different than Develop Team because rather than looking at the team as a whole, we look at the team as a sum of its parts.  During this phase, we will evaluate individual performance, provide feedback, resolve conflicts, and manage changes in the team to ensure they are performing together well as a team.  This is where a large amount of Conflict Management techniques are employed.

Our final Resource Management process is Control Resources.  This is performed throughout the project and ensures that the assigned resources are available at the right time and in the right place to ensure project work is completed and then released when they are no longer needed.  This last aspect, release them when they are no longer needed, is often performed poorly in projects.  You will need to employ good data analysis techniques and problem-solving skills to maximize performance in this process.

Knowledge Area Frequently Asked Questions

question-symbol-2804296Q: If a scheduled resource is due to be released from the project, but they are still needed, can I keep that resource?

A: Yes, but there is a process that must be followed.  Keeping resources for longer than planned can have internal and external impacts.  Internally, those resources will likely cost you more money and therefore affect the Cost Baseline.  This means that if you need to keep a resource for longer than planned, you will need a Change Request and use the Perform Integrated Change Control process.  Externally, you may not be the only project that needs that resource and you have negative effects on other projects to stay within time and budget.  You will still need a Change Request here to attempt to retain the resource.

Q: What are the most common sources of conflict in a project?

A: There are several types and sources of conflict in projects.  Being able to be forward thinking and recognize when these things are going to affect your project is vital.  The most common sources (over 50%) of conflict on a project are:

  • Schedules
  • Project Priorities
  • Resources

Other sources of conflict could be technical opinions, cost, level of risk, or personality conflicts.

What to Memorize in this Knowledge Area

Make sure that you are studying the most common sources of conflict in projects.  It may help you to write these down in your Brain Dump. Remember the purposes and key benefits of each process.  You can find out more about this by using a structured Study Plan to help solidify these items in your mind.  Remember that there are 3 Keys to Passing the PMP Exam and the first is an in-depth understanding of the PMBOK®.  Also, find the best way to memorize the table below or add them to your Brain Dump.

What to Memorize… What it is…
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Developed by Abraham Maslow, this is a 5-tier pyramid that displays human needs. Lower levels must be met first, and once met, no longer satisfy motivation needs.
Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory


Developed by Frederick Herzberg and sometimes referred to as ‘dual factor’ theory. This theory states that there are certain factors in the workplace that cause job dissatisfaction, while a separate set of factors cause satisfaction.
McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y A theory developed by Douglas McGregor in which two contrasting theories explain how manager’s beliefs about what motivated their people determines the management style used.
Vroom’s Expectancy Theory Developed by Victor Vroom, this theory assumes that behavior results from conscious choices among alternatives to increase pleasure and reduce pain.
McKinsey’s Seven S’ – Developed by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. This model involves 7 interdependent factors, categorized as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ elements. Hard elements are easy to recognize and describe where management can directly influence the tem. Soft elements are more difficult to describe and less tangible (often influenced by culture).
Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Team Development


Developed by Bruce Tuckman to describe the 5 stages of team development

  • Forming – Meets and learns about objectives
  • Storming – Addresses the work. Periods with most conflict
  • Norming – Beginning to work together and adjust habits and behaviors to support the team and objectives
  • Performing – Well-organized and high-functioning
  • Adjourning – Team completes the work and moves on from the project.
Leadership Styles
  • Authoritarian/Autocratic – Clear direction and expected compliance
  • Participative/Democratic – Offers guidance and encourages input
  • Delegative/Laissez Faire – Little to no guidance and believes in self-direction of the team and members
  • MBWA – Management by Walking Around
Types of PM Power
  • Expert – Leadership because you are a knowledgeable party
  • Referent – Personality-based
  • Legitimate – Formal assignment as the leader
  • Reward – Based upon giving praise or awards
  • Penalty – Punishment for not meeting expectations
Theory of Leadership vs Management
  • Management – Ensure objectives are met
  • Leadership – Actions taken to build a vision, create buy-in, and move people in the direction of that vision.

Memorize - Study

Knowledge Area Critical Reasoning & Testing Skills

Tools and HandsThis Knowledge Area is quite large and as a result, you can expect to see questions regarding physical resource management (which may be associated with Cost and Schedule aspects as well), and human resources (such as conflict management and Organizational Behavioral Theory).  Below are two examples of ‘PMP-like’ questions for the Resource Management Knowledge Area.

Q: You are speaking with the department manager of the quality assurance group.  He tells you that in his experience, all people are lazy and without constant supervision, nothing would ever get done.  He also says that the only reason that people take any responsibility in your company is due to the company’s bonus and incentive programs.  What Organizational Behavior Theory BEST describes this manager’s views?

  1. Theory X
  2. Theory Y
  3. Theory Z
  4. Theory P

EXPLANATION: This question and its subsequent answers are pointing you towards McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y.  Theory X says that workers will avoid work, need to be controlled, avoid responsibility, and seek only security.  That’s fairly close to what our manager stated, but in the interest of detail, let’s keep looking at the remainder of the answers… Theory Y says that workers see work as natural and are capable of self-direction, will seek responsibility, and make good decisions.  In other words, basically the opposite of what our manager stated.  Theory Z probably has something to do with Zombies and I urge you to run.  Just… run…  Theory P is a real theory, but doesn’t have any bearing on the PMP exam and what we’re talking about here.  Our BEST answer then is A.

Q: You are the Project Manager of a Technical Asset Refresh project for your organization.  Two of your experts on the project are having a discussion on the server requirements for the new network assets you plan to deliver.  This discussion turns to an argument as each has their on views as to what specifications are ‘necessary’ for the new servers.  You step in as the Project Manager and encourage them to work together to come to resolution.  This technique is not resolving the issue and the three of you now sit down as a group to work through the issue.  You suggest that they find pieces of each of their ideas to find a common ground.  Eventually, they are able to find mutual ground and the server specifications are agreed upon.  What Conflict Management Strategy has been applied to reach resolution?

  1. Collaborating/Problem Solving
  2. Withdraw/Avoid
  3. Force/Direct
  4. Compromise/Reconcile

EXPLANATION: The PMBOK, 6th Edition includes 5 Conflict Management Strategies; Collaborating/Problem Solving, Compromise/Reconcile, Force/Direct, Smooth/Accommodate, and Withdraw/Avoid.  In this example, you tried first to have them collaborate on the issues, but this did not work.  Therefore, answer A is out.  Withdrawing and avoiding is the worst Conflict Management strategy because no resolution is reached.  One or both parties simply walk away.  Answer B is out.  Forcing and Directing means that the person with the power makes the decision.  Since you did not determine the server specifications on your own and you also made them sit down to work out their issues together, Answer C is out.  That leaves D. Compromise/Reconcile.  This strategy requires that both parties give up something to find resolution.  In asking them to ‘find a common ground’ by considering each other’s opinions and needs, you have asked for them to ‘give up something’ and compromise.  Our correct answer here is D.

Knowledge Area Closing Summary

With the changes to the PMBOK, 6th Edition, this area becomes a bit more complex to understand because it now integrates heavily with other areas such as Schedule Management, Cost Management, and Procurement Management in new ways.  You should spend some time connecting the dots between these processes and knowledge areas to ensure that you have a complete understanding of how they interact.  It helps to map out where the pieces intersect to gain understanding and comprehension.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to get help on these nuances of the PMBOK processes as well to solidify the knowledge for your test.

PM-ProLearn Logo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s