Assigning Resources

Assigning Resources

When you have a WBS list of modified activities that match the life cycle you have selected for a project, you are ready to allocate resources to them. This should be easy, right? The database people get the database assignments, and the testers get the testing assignments. Not so fast. There are numerous dimensions to the resource assignment problem that a software development project manager should know about and consider when parceling out the work. All programmers are not created equal. Jealousy and bickering can erupt over choice assignments, creating more work for the project manager to manage clash within the team. Career paths intersect and fork. And workloads get unbalanced, leading to project schedule and team spirit problems.

To tackle these issues, we will look at the project manager's role in staffing a project and making resource choices. These are part of human resource management. We'll learn about a concept and tool that can help people match themselves to assignments. We'll see how a simple spreadsheet tool can make project roles clear and also provide tracking for deliverables. These are necessary skills and competencies for the software project manager today. It's not all about transactions. It's about relationship management, too.

Where We Are in the Product Development Life Cycle

Where are we in the basic software life cycle model that serves as our map? As shown in "Selecting Software Development Life Cycles" Figure and Figure 1 below, we are still at the beginning of the software life cycle. But because we have created a product-oriented WBS, which answers the what question for us, we can move on to the how step, where we will find out how to do the what, as shown in Figure 2.

Product Development Life Cycle

          Project Process Framework

"Assigning Resources" Relation to the 34 Competencies

This section depends on the competencies shown here. For resource assignments, the key product development technique required is an awareness of the processes of software development using different life cycles. Life cycles must be evaluated and customized to the individual needs of each project. A general understanding of software development activities (software engineering) and how to define the software product are competencies required for task and activity identification.

The project management skills required here are a continuation of those required for building the WBS, such as documenting plans in an arranged structure and finding tasks and activities that can be used to create a schedule. Activity ID requires the people skills of leadership, interface, and communication, as well as the ability to present ideas efficiently throughout the identification process.

People management skills are required the most here. Interaction and communications skills are vital to selecting the right people for the right activities. You may have to recruit people to your project, through interviews and a personnel-hiring process. Performance appraisal skills also are essential to track progress and support career planning. Selecting and building a team come into play as you assemble resources for the activities. These are the skills and competencies to be touched on in this section.

Product Development Techniques:

6. Managing subcontractors - Planning, managing, and monitoring performance

11. Understanding development activities - Learning the software development cycle

Project Management Skills:

18. Scheduling - Creating a schedule and key milestones

21. Tracking process - Monitoring compliance of the project team

People Management Skills:

23. Appraising performance - Evaluating teams to enhance performance

26. Interaction and communication - Dealing with developers, upper management, and other teams

29. Negotiating successfully - Resolving conflicts and negotiating successfully

30. Planning careers - Structuring and giving career guidance

32. Recruiting - Recruiting and interviewing team members successfully

33. Selecting a team - Choosing highly competent teams

34. Teambuilding - Forming, guiding, and maintaining an effective team

Learning Objectives for "Assigning Resources"

 Upon completion of this section, the reader should be1 able to:

●  Explain several different roles necessary for a software project;

●  Explain the contents and purpose of a staffing management plan;

●  Describe how to use a responsibility assignment matrix on a software project;

●  Justify fitting a person to a role based on characteristics other than a specific skill;

●  List and explain the characteristics of any role.

Organizational Planning

When you have a WBS list of modified activities that match the life cycle you have selected for a project, you are ready to allocate resources to them. But there are several important dimensions to the resource assignment process. For every activity in the project, you have to understand what the responsibilities and authority are and find out how the person performing the activity will be held accountable for results. You have to arrange and describe reporting relationships and roles on certain tasks. You have to balance career goals with project needs, optimize human interaction, and minimize barriers to achievement. These are not easy tasks for any project manager.

The project manager is responsible for the planning necessary to staff the project, which includes the functions of:

●  Identifying and documenting the project roles and skills needed;

●  Assigning responsibilities to individuals;

●  Establishing reporting relationships.


life cycle, deliverables, software project, software product
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