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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

Question 1: Write short notes on the following major Human resource concepts:
a) Collocation
b) Recognition & rewards
c) Resource Histogram
d) Responsibility Assignment Matrix

Answer:

a) Collocation:

Collocation involves placing all or almost all of the most active project team members in
the same physical location to enhance their ability to perform as team. Collocation is widely
used on larger projects and can also be effective for smaller projects Studies have shown
that top two things people in their work want are, being recognized as a contributing
member of a worthy enterprise, and recognition and reward for their accomplishments. A
contributing member of a worthy enterprise, want to identify with the enterprise. They
want to know that what they do has value in the marketplace, and has value to the success
of their organization.. The organization has to communicate that every position adds value
- some may be more obvious than others, but the "we are all in this together" approach
and philosophy of work leads to high performance.

Recognition and rewards can come in many forms. Accomplishment on team projects
needs to be publicized, and individual accomplishment within teams should lead to actions
that make it clear that team participation and success lead to opportunities. One other
thing about rewards and recognition – they can be lost in the helter-skelter of getting
everything done. Schedule regular review times – at least monthly, to determine who
should be recognized and rewarded, and make it a very public ceremony. If you find you
cannot name – quickly – people to reward, you really need to look at how the team is
performing. Review the essentials and compare them to your own organization, then
change what you need to change to improve success – or to implement teams in your
company. Doing so will ensure that you are accessing the collective genius of your
organization – and that's like money in the bank – for everyone!

b) Recognition & rewards:

Reward and recognition systems are formal management actions which promote or
reinforce desired behaviour. To be effective, such systems must make the link between
performance and reward clear, explicit, and achievable. For example, a project manager
who is to be rewarded for meeting the project’s cost objective should have an appropriate
level of control over staffing and procurement decisions.

Projects must often have their own reward and recognition systems since the systems of
the performing organization may not be appropriate. For example, the willingness to work
overtime in order to meet an aggressive schedule objective should be rewarded or
recognized; needing to work overtime as the result of poor planning should not be. Reward
and recognition systems must also consider cultural differences. For example, developing
an appropriate team reward mechanism in a culture that prizes individualism may be very
difficult.

Clear criteria for rewards & a planned system for their use helps promote & reinforce
desired behaviours. To be effective, recognition & rewards should be based on activities &
performance under a person’s control. For example, a team member who is to be rewarded

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

for meeting cost objectives should have an appropriate level of control over decisions that
affect expenses. Creating a plan with established times for distribution of rewards ensures
that recognition takes place & is not forgotten. Recognition & rewards are part of the
Develop Project Team process.

c) Resource Histogram:

The staffing management plan describes the necessary time frames for project team
members, either individually or collectively, as well as when acquisition activities such as
recruiting should start. One tool for charting human resources is a resource histogram. This
bar chart illustrates the number of hours a person, department or entire project team will
be needed each week or month over the course of the project. The chart can include a
horizontal line that represents the maximum number of hours available from a particular
resource. Bars that extend beyond the maximum number of hours identify the need for a
resource levelling strategy, such as adding more resources or modifying the schedule. An
example of a resource histogram is illustrated below:

d) Responsibility Assignment Matrix:

A Responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) is a chart displaying the resources assigned to a


project. It also shows the assignments that are responsible for. The RAM allows easy
identification of all responsibilities for a given resource.

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

A specific type of RAM is the RACI matrix. This shows the resources that are responsible,
accountable, consulted, and informed in project activities. Below table is shows a typical
RACI matrix:

Activity Person
A B C
Design Responsible Consult Accountable
Build Accountable Responsible Consult
Test Inform Accountable Consult

The matrix is typically created with a vertical axis (left-hand column) of tasks (e.g., from a
work breakdown structure or WBS) or deliverables (e.g., from a product breakdown
structure or PBS), and a horizontal axis (top row) of roles (e.g., from an organizational
chart) – as illustrated in the image of an example responsibility assignment (or RACI)
matrix.

There is a distinction between a role and individually identified people: a role is a descriptor
of an associated set of tasks; may be performed by many people; and one person can
perform many roles. For example, an organization may have 10 people who can perform
the role of project manager, although traditionally each project only has one project
manager at any one time; and a person who is able to perform the role of project manager
may also be able to perform the role of business analyst and tester. The responsibility
assignment matrix is commonly known as a RACI matrix.

R: Responsible – this is the resource that owns the work. Each deliverable should have at
least one person responsible for it.
A: Accountable – this is the person who approves the work. There is only one accountable
resource.
C: Consulted – this is the person who delivers information required to complete the work.
I: Informed: This is the person who is informed of the progress of the deliverable.
S: Supportive: This is the person who provides work in addition to the responsible party.
V: Verifies: This is the person who ensures that the work meets standards.
F: Final Authority: This person gives the final stamp on the completed work.

Question 2: List and explain in brief the potential sources of conflict.

Answer:

Meaning of Conflict:

A conflict is a dispute or a struggle in which each party expresses opposition towards the other
party or interferes intentionally with other party’s goals attainment. Conflict can also be a
disagreement about the allocation of scarce resources or a clash of statuses, values,
perceptions or personalities. Behavioural scientists agree that conflict is an abnormal
phenomenon with only negative consequences.

Some of the characteristics of conflicts are:

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

 Conflict occurs when two parties have competing goals.


 Conflict is unavoidable, and we can learn how to handle it effectively.
 Conflict is not always bad. Constructive conflict can help solve problems and leads to
new ideas.
 The Collaborating strategy is the most effective way of resolving conflict – the resolution
is mutually beneficial for all parties.
 The other conflict resolution strategies can be appropriate for certain types of situations.

Features of organizational conflicts are as follows:

i) Many of the present-day conflicts are totally devoid of cost benefit consciousness on the
part of labour. Many of them were long-drawn-out. The issue rose by the strikes and the
quantitative benefits even in the cases of total success, show a lack of proportion to the
disadvantage of employees. It is as though damage and loss to the employer rather than
benefits for labour have been the objectives of the struggle.

ii) Another significant trend seen in those conflicts is the frequency with which management
met, "employee pressure by the management pressure of lockout," It is not easy to
identify a single factor as a cause of industrial conflicts as multifarious cause’s blended
together result in industrial disputes. Deep seated and more basic causes of disputes can
be identified through in-depth probe, though surface manifestations appear to be
responsible for conflicts. The relative importance of these causes, when more than one
present, is often very difficult to gauge.

According to Mukherjee, "the development of capitalistic enterprise, which means the


control of the tools of production by small entrepreneur class has brought to the fore the
acute problem of friction between management and labour throughout the world."

The conflict environment:

In the project environment, conflicts are inevitable. However, as described, conflicts and their
resolution can be planned to meet the requirements of parties having conflicts over each other.
For example, conflicts can easily develop out of a situation where members of project group are
misunderstanding each other’s roles and responsibilities. Through documentation, such as the
linear responsibility charts, it is possible to establish fewer organizational procedures either at
the project level or companywide, resolutions can be made. The most common type of conflicts
involves:

 Manpower resources
 Equipment and facilities
 Capital expenditures
 Costs’ technical opinions and trade-offs
 Priorities
 Administrative procedures
 Scheduling
 Responsibilities
 Personality clashes

Each of these conflicts can vary in relative intensity over the life cycle of a project. The relative
intensity can vary as a function of:

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

 Getting closer to project constraints


 Having only two constraints instead of three (i:e, time, performance but not cost)
 The project life cycle itself
 The person whom the conflict is with.

Causes of organizational conflicts may be grouped into four categories, viz.

 Organizational factors;
 Management's attitude towards workers;
 Government policy and
 Other causes.

Organizational Factors:

Under this category, some of the causes of a dispute may be:

1) A matter relating to employment, work, wages, hours of work, privileges, the rights and
obligations of employees and employers, terms and conditions of employment including
matters pertaining to:

a) Dismissal or non-employment of any person;


b) Registered agreement, settlement or award; and
c) Demarcation of the functions of an employee.

2) A dispute which connotes any difference which has been fairly defined as is of real
substances;
i.e., a matter in which both parties are directly and substantially interested; or which is a
grievance on the part of a worker which the employer is in a position to redress; or which
is such as the parties are capable of settling between themselves or referring it to a
adjudication.

3) Disputes often arise because of:

a) The rapidly increasing population which has no opportunities for gainful employment;
there is, therefore, no improvement in the standard of living of employees who put
forward demand for higher wages, which, if not conceded, often lead to strained
industrial relations and strikes.
b) Rising unemployment.

4) The attitude and temperament of employees or team members have changed because of
their education, their adoption of urban culture and the consequent change in social values,
the growth of public opinion and progressive legislation enacted for their benefit. They are,
therefore, very conscious of their rights and will not put up with any injustice or wrong
done to them.

Question 3: Discuss the various roles of a project manager in handling conflicts

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

Answer:
The area for which operating rules are needed deals with how the team resolves conflicts.
Conflicts arise when two or more team members have a difference of opinion, when the
customer takes issue with an action to be taken by the project team, or in a variety of other
situations involving two parties with different points of view. In all of these examples, the
difference must be resolved. Clearly, conflict resolution is a much more sensitive situation than
the decision-making rule because it is confrontational and situational, whereas the decision-
making rule is procedural and structured.

Role of a Project manager in handling conflicts:

 As a Discussion Leader:

As a discussion leader the conciliator reduces irrationality and antagonism between the
parties. He guides them towards a problem-solving approach to their dispute; he ensures
that they discuss their differences in as friendly a manner as possible; he helps them to
analyze their problem, always striving to keep the analysis on rational ground; he identifies
the elements of the problem, both for the parties’ benefit and for his own.

 As a Safety Valve:

The project manager can place himself in the position of alternative target when he feels
that the parties are in an aggressive mood. By setting a substitute target, the teams can
achieve an emotional release without direct and immediate damage to the negotiations.

 As a Communication Link:

The conciliator fulfils an important function as a communication link between the parties:
serving as a communication link may either constitute his main conciliatory effort or be a
contribution to it. He not only-works as a conduit through which messages relayed from one
side to the other, are passed, but he also provides a thorough explanation and interprets
the intention of the party.

 As an Innovator:

The conciliator acts as an invaluable source of new information, and new thoughts,
particularly in providing the parties with different views of the issues, with possible
alternative solution and possibly an entirely new approach.

 As a Protector:

The conciliator plays a protecting role for making the parties ready for collective bargaining
positions by exploring alternative solutions during separate meetings.

 As a Stimulator:

Sensing the need for positive action, the conciliator can provide necessary impulse; he
makes a concise statement, supplies some date, gives a hint or suggestion. He crystallizes
changes of opinion, in course of discussions, by intervening at the appropriate moment and
giving such ideas a concrete form.

 As an Adviser:

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

The conciliator tries to remove misunderstandings regarding the other's position, Intentions
and capabilities. He tries to see that such misinterpretations do not occur.

 As a Promoter of Collective Bargaining:

While intervening in a dispute he is not only concerned with obtaining settlement, but often
he assists and promotes collective bargaining and helps and guides the parties in the
development of their relationship.

Question 4: Describe the elements of enterprise environmental factors-the input to


creating HR plan process.

Answer:

Human Resource (HR) Plan:

Creating a Human Resource (HR) plan is the method of identifying and documenting project
roles, responsibilities, and required skills, reporting relationships and creating a staffing
management plan. Staffing management plan depicts how and when team members are added
to the team, and how the team members are released from the project. Human Resource
planning is utilized to decide and recognize. Human Resources with the necessary skills are
essential for the success of a project.

One key result of Human Resource planning is the Effective Human Resource planning must
think and plan for these factors and widen Human Resource options.

The inputs for creating a Human Resource (HR) plan are:

Enterprise environmental factors:

The enterprise environmental factors comprises of individuals of an organization interacting and


relating with one another. The enterprise environmental factors that play a major role includes
are existing organizational culture, knowing how different technical disciplines work, existing
Human Resources and policies and procedures, interpersonal, logical and political issues with
respect to Human Resources.

 Organizational culture:

Organizational culture is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management


which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and
cultural values) of an organization. It is defined as "the specific collection of values and
norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that controls the way
they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization”. List the
organizations or departments that are going to be engaged in the project. Enquire whether
there are any existing working arrangements between them. Know the formal and informal
relationships between the departments.

 Technical:

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

To accomplish the project successfully, list the fields of expertise needed.


 Interpersonal:

It lists formal and informal reporting relations existing among the team members. Know the
team member’s existing job descriptions.

 Logistical:
Find whether people are in different locations or time zones.

 Political:
List the individual goals and agendas of stakeholders. Find the informal authority base and
how that can impact the project. List the informal agreements that are present.

Besides these aspects, there are some restrictions. In human planning, the instances of rigidity
are:

Structure of organization:

The usual constraint in an organization is a weak matrix structure.

 Collective bargaining agreements:


Contractual agreements with service organizations can require nuances to certain roles and
reporting arrangements.

 Economical conditions:
Some of the restrictions on staffing options can be freezing of hiring, little or no training
funds, and lack of traveling budget.

Assets of organizational process:

As project management in an organization evolves, experience acquired from past projects is


available as assets of organizational processes in terms of checklist, processes, etc.

Activity resource requirements:

For the purpose of Human Resource needs of the project, Human Resource planning uses
activity resource requirements. The basic information regarding the required people and
capabilities for the project team members is progressively involved as part of Human Resource
planning and information regarding the same is obtained from the activity resource
requirement.

Accurate inputs for creating a Human Resource (HR) plan leads to good results which have a
strong foundation.

Question 5: Describe in brief the challenges faced in case of Virtual Teamwork.

Answer:

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

Because of the complexity and scope of many modern-day tasks, there has been a heightened
realization over the past decade of the value of team performance to business, industry, and
the military. Furthermore, changes in business practice and advances in telecommunications
have led to the increasing prevalence of distributed teams that interact over long distances. It
is clear that unprecedented opportunities exist for the development of tools to support team
collaboration.

Firms are increasingly adopting electronic communication tools to facilitate collaboration among
individuals and groups, both within and beyond organizational boundaries. This trend is driven
by the motivation of firms to take advantage of the collaborative potential of such tools as
discussion boards, instant messaging, and groupware for facilitating communication and
coordination without the limitations of time and place.

In a global community, competitive organizations must navigate complex, chaotic contexts. In


fact, modern operational environments are most characterized by increasingly sophisticated
challenges encountered when organizations attempt to capitalize on emerging domestic and
global opportunities.

For example, Amazon.com, Inc.'s, recent purchase of Joyo.com, China's largest online retailer
of books, music, DVDs, and videos, presents a host of challenges to coordinating across time
zones. Addressing these challenges requires innovative solutions, which for many organizations
increasingly takes the form of team-based systems and cutting-edge technology. The use of
teams and technology can, in turn, lead to unprecedented amounts of available information and
performance capability.

Challenges of Virtual Teamwork:

As seen in the discussion above, which suggests that organizations are naturally evolving
toward distributive structures, the trend toward virtual teamwork will accelerate as operating
environments become increasingly fluid. If the spread of virtual teams and distributed
performance arrangements is all but inevitable, it is important to develop a deeper
understanding of the challenges confronting this ongoing movement. The team literature
already provides a variety of examples of knowledge/ skills/attitudes and teamwork processes
that may be adversely affected when teams use computer-mediated communication. For
example, researchers have noted that distribution is detrimental to decision making, social
motivation, cohesiveness, status equalization, and normative behavior. Research also suggests
that team development may be more complex in virtual teams.

 Individual: Social Isolation

Despite the increased availability of communication technologies to support virtual workers,


distribution often results in less frequent communication and social isolation. This is
consistent with research proposing that the actual distance of team member separation is of
secondary concern to the impact of computer mediated communication on team processes.
The isolation resulting from separation and decreased interaction is a key factor limiting the
adoption of distributed work. This is because many employees derive satisfaction from their
interactions with their coworkers, both in the act of socializing and through the social
support they receive. Furthermore, when employees are not co-located, social and task
support may break down, causing people to identify less with the organization. Proximity
has been linked to informal channels of communication (e.g., the "water cooler") and is
vital for disseminating information about organizational norms, socializing new employees,

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

and encouraging collaboration and sharing of information (National Research Council,


1994). To the extent that distributed team members feel socially isolated from their
coworkers, supervisors, and subordinates, the quality of both their work and family lives
will suffer.

Research suggests that distributed team members experience lower levels of work – family
conflict and commute time while concomitantly enjoying higher levels of personal control,
job satisfaction, and productivity. Hence, the much coveted goal of simultaneously
improving employee satisfaction and productivity seems to be offered via distributed
arrangements. Unfortunately, distribution can result in social isolation. One solution already
advanced in the current body of research suggests that increasing media richness, and
thereby the number of cues available to team members, may be an important mechanism
for reducing social isolation. Moreover, increasing media richness may help foster a social
presence. Social presence is the degree to which technology facilitates a personal
connection with others. Interactions with high social presence are described as more lively,
social, warm, and intimate than those with little social presence. Synchronous
communications, such as face-to-face (FTF) meetings and audio- and videoconferences,
result in more social presence than asynchronous communications such as electronic mail
(e-mail) and voicemail. Synchronous communication facilitates social presence primarily
because it enables the spontaneous, back and- forth exchanges associated with normal
conversation.

 Team Opacity:

Teams separated by space – time have additional demands placed on them during
distributed interaction. Interaction in distributed environments often leads to artificial and
ambiguous experiences, in part based on a shortage of, or change in, the cues available to
team members. Fiore and colleagues (2003) coined the term team opacity to describe the
debilitating effects of distribution inherent to being virtual team. Team opacity has been
discussed as a special form of workload resulting from teams that are not co-located. Team
opacity is defined as "the experiences whereby distribution decreases awareness of team
member actions and may thus alter their interaction". Cue deprivation can increase the
workload of team members because they must adjust routine strategies to seek out
additional cues. The absence of cues, typically present when teams are co-located, taxes
the working memory of team members and prevents much of the scaffolding often used to
reduce memory load in co-located teams. Also, the lack of or change in cues affects
interaction when teams are relegated to computer-mediated communication because of the
loss of nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, nods, and gestures.

Information flow and information format can significantly influence team opacity.
Specifically, team opacity can be curtailed in part by increasing the synchrony and richness
of available information (e.g., flow, format). These additional cues influence if, how, and
when distributed team members enact knowledge/skills/ attitudes, thereby reducing opacity
and increasing performance effectiveness. Appropriate communication channels and
information formats should be implemented to strengthen the relationship between
cognition and team behavior and lessen the workload (i.e., team opacity) of team
members.

Question 6: List and explain in brief the various types of communication in project
management.

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

Answer:

Communication management in a project is defined as the process of creating, gathering,


distributing, storing, retrieving, and ultimately disposing project information. The project
managers systematically plan, implement and monitor the communication within the project
team and with the project stakeholders. The communication management process is a set of
steps considered while communicating in a project team. A project team frequently
communicates within the team, with the project manager and also with the project
stakeholders. A good communication management process can make these communications
effective by creating a link between different stakeholders engaged in the same project.

Importance of communication management:

Effective communication management leads to a successful project. It is delivered on time,


with minimal or no defects and within the budget. Such projects provide client satisfaction.
In a properly structured project, project communication should be open, regular and accurate
within the various levels, i.e., stakeholders, project manager and project team members. The
project staff or team should know its roles and responsibilities, which has to be efficiently
communicated by the project manager. At the same time, right expectations with respect to
budget, time constraints and quality should be set with the client and properly communicated,
so as to prevent any future uncertainties. Similarly, the project staff should frequently update
the project manager regarding the progress of the project. Such updates from the project team
are essential for the project manager to closely monitor the project.

Information needs to be communicated to a project team based on the team member ranking
within the organization. The project team releases newsletters, articles and trends followed
within the project on a regular basis, so that the team members and stakeholders would get
adequate project information and can scale up accordingly. Critical project and organization
information can only be communicated to the board members of the organization, whereas the
project functionality, deadlines and other project requirements can be communicated to the
project team.

Various types of communication in project management are:

 Internal and external:

Internal communication occurs within the project team, while external communication
occurs with the stakeholders.

 Formal and informal:

Formal communication includes reports, logs, memos, emails and project meetings.
Informal communication includes discussions which can be either face-to-face or over calls.

 Vertical or horizontal:

In vertical communication the team members discuss project issues with managers at
various levels. In horizontal communication the team members discuss the project issues
with the peer groups in the project.
 Official and unofficial:

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Sikkim Manipal University - MBA - PM0013 - Managing Human Resources in Projects

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 2

Official communication includes circulars and reports which carries official sanctity.
Unofficial communication includes all off-the- record interactions in a project.

 Oral and written:

Oral communication includes discussions in meetings or telephone calls (one-to-


one/conference) and written communication involves all correspondence through letters and
emails.

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