Importance of Human Resources in Software Projects
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by Arindam Ghosh
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Tools and Techniques for Developing Project Team

General Management Skills

Soft skills or interpersonal skills are particularly important to team development. The project management team can greatly reduce problems and increase cooperation by understanding the sentiments of project team members, anticipating their actions, acknowledging their concerns and following up on their issues. Skills such as empathy, influence, creativity, and group facilitation are valuable assets when managing the project team.

Training

It includes all formal or informal activities designed to enhance the competencies of the project team members. Examples of training methods include classroom, online, computer based, on-the-job training from another project team member, mentoring and coaching.

Part of the project work can include development of necessary management or technical skills project team members do not have. Scheduled training takes place as stated in the staffing management plan. Unplanned training takes place as stated in staffing management plan. Unplanned training takes place as a result of observation, conversation, and project performance appraisals conducted during the controlling process of managing the project team.

Team-Building Activities

This varies from an agenda item, has a very short duration, is in a status review meeting to an off-site, and professionally facilitates an experience designed to improve interpersonal relationships. Some group activities, such as developing the WBS, may not be explicitly designed as team building activities, but can increase team cohesiveness when that planning activity is structured and facilitated well. It also is important to encourage informal communication and activities because of their role in building trust and establishing good working relationships. Teambuilding strategies are particularly valuable when team members operate virtually from remote locations, without the benefit of face-to-face contact.

Ground Rules

Ground rules clearly specify the expected acceptable behavior by project team members. Early commitment to clear guidelines decreases misunderstandings and increases productivity. The process of discussing ground rules allows team members to discover values that are important to one another. All project team members share responsibility for enforcing the rules once they are established.

Co-Location

It involves enhancing people’s ability to perform as a team by placing many or all of the most active project team members in the same physical location. During the project, team members can be collocated temporarily at strategically important times or for the entire project. Co-Location strategy can include a meeting room, sometimes a war room, with electronic communication devices, places to post schedules, and other conveniences that enhance communication and a sense of community. While co-location is considered a good strategy, the use of virtual teams will reduce the frequency that team members are located together. Recognizing and rewarding desirable behavior is an important part of the team development process. Reward and recognition plan takes shape while doing the human resource planning. Award decisions are made, formally or informally, during the process of managing the project team through performance appraisals. Only desirable behavior should be awarded.


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User Comments

Title: Importance of Human Resources in Software Projects   
Name: Toti Bayudan
Date: 2007-05-01 10:54:56 PM
Comment:
I found your article very interesting and helpful. I think it would help us more if you could point us to case studies where
human resources are clearly critical either to the success or failure of a software project. Thanks.

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