Saturday, October 4, 2008

Identifying Your Project Staffing Needs

People make or break a project. That's why, as a project manager, it is important to carefully plan your project staffing needs. You need to choose people with the right competencies and personalities if you want your project team to work well together and to be capable of getting the job done.

Selecting the right people for your project begins with a staffing requirement plan. Staffing requirements are created using the project's Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Skills Inventory Matrix.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The first step in determining your staffing requirements is to choose people with the right competencies. The WBS details the competencies you need to complete your project. A WBS is the organization of a project into a group of deliverables that defines the project scope.

Project managers complete all phases of the WBS. These phases are:
  • identifying the major work assignments for the project
  • breaking down each work assignment into tasks
  • matching competencies to tasks.
When it comes to matching competencies to tasks, you need to consider both objective and subjective criteria. Objective criteria may include: technical ability, level of proficiency, project management skills, and previous experience as a leader.
Subjective criteria may include: social skills, opinions of fellow project managers, and opinions of co-workers.

Skills Inventory Matrix
After using the WBS, objective and subjective criteria to select the members of your team, you need to assign tasks based on team member competencies. A Skills Inventory Matrix is ideal for this purpose.

A Skills Inventory Matrix allows you to see all the competencies within the project team. The matrix can be created using a simple table. In the first column on the left, list each team member. In the columns to the right, list the competencies required to complete the project. If an employee has a particular competency, place a checkmark in the table cell corresponding to their name and the competency.

A WBS and a Skills Inventory Matrix help you to determine your staffing needs. These inputs ensure that you know which competencies and people you need, as well as what the time frames are for your project.

To ensure the timely completion of your project, you need to match people to competencies and competencies to tasks. A project manager is more likely to have success when all of these staffing requirements are in place.

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