Human Resources Management - Knowledge Area

National Project Management System
Business Projects-IT-Enabled


Human Resources Management Knowledge Area


December 2010


This policy-related document is issued under the authority of the Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).


This knowledge area is to be implemented in conjunction with the PSPC National Project Management System (NPMS) policy.


To describe the components and requirements of NPMS as applied to the management of project human resources.



Human Resource Management is the process of providing human resources to an organization to meet both permanent and short-term work requirements.

The purpose of project Human Resource Management is to ensure that the project has sufficient human resources, with the correct skill sets and experience, for the project to be successfully completed.

A project Human Resource Management Plan document describes the end-to-end processes that a project will use to meet its human resource requirements. The key objective of this plan is to describe:

  • which resources are required;
  • what core skills and experience they need to have;
  • how resources will be acquired;
  • how long resources will be needed;
  • when resources will be needed;
  • how resources will be developed;
  • how day-to-day management will be formed; and
  • how resources will be transitioned into and out of the project following the completion of their project assignments.

Projects require specialized resources with the skills, competencies and experience to fill a variety of critical roles. This applies to all project resources including the Project Manager. Equally important to determining which skills and how much experience is needed for project roles is the requirement to fill those roles with resources that actually possess those skills and competencies. Examples of specialized and dedicated resources on large projects are a Risk Manager or Communications Manager, as they must have a background and experience in their expertise. In some cases, where appropriate, project-specific training and development will take place to ensure that the project is not impacted by performance gaps.

Human Resource Management is closely linked to the cost and time management planning processes and consists of the following four activities:

  • develop HR Plan;
  • acquire project team;
  • develop project team; and
  • manage project team.

The following sections describe the Business Projects-IT-Enabled Stream approach to HR management by stage and phase.

Note: The Human Resource Management knowledge area is concerned with a broad span of areas, such as leadership, team building, and conflict resolution that are beyond the scope of this document. See Annex A - Considerations in Human Resource Management for a preliminary discussion of these areas.

Human Resource Management Process by
NPMS Stage and Phase

Inception Stage

Definition phase

Human resource requirements are not identified in this phase; however, an Office of Primary Interest (OPI) is assigned.

Identification Stage

Initiation phase

During the initiation phase, the Project Lead on the business side produces high-level cost estimates for conducting the Identification Stage activities. These estimates are included in the preliminary project plan (PPP). The PPP contains a detailed set of activities and deliverables. The human resource component describes the resources required to complete project identification stage activities and deliverables. The estimation process includes a review of the HR process steps described above: planning, acquisition, development, tracking and transition. The estimator asks questions such as: what kind of skills does the project need?, when are they needed?, can they be full or part-time employees?, and so on. Estimated work effort is then linked to high-level cost estimates.

Feasibility Phase

The feasibility report includes project cost requirements for the delivery phase (capital and relevant operational costs). High-level cost estimates are provided for all options, including assumptions, constraints and contingency funds/allowances. A human resource estimate is an integral part of each of the options and essential for subsequent options analysis.

Analysis Phase

The Business Case and project charter are the core deliverables produced as a result of the Analysis Phase. Both of these documents include a human resource component to establish roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for delivering product and project management deliverables.

The costing review and analysis contained in these documents include potential contracting costs, including work effort provided by contracted resources. Each viable and recommended option contain estimates of the skill sets, skill levels, number of resources required and the experience of the resources (high level) including assumptions, constraints and contingency funds/allowances.

Identification close out phase

The purpose of the Identification Close-Out Phase is to ensure an appropriate level of assessment, reporting, evaluation, hand-over exchange, and administrative closure has taken place for the delivery organization Project Manager to seamlessly proceed to the Delivery Stage.

In light of the preliminary project approval (PPA) decision, obtained in the Analysis Phase, projects must ensure that records prepared in this phase include an updated record of work effort provided (normally by updating the actuals in the project schedule) and ensure that payments have been made for the work services performed. Resources that are not part of the delivery effort are transitioned out.

Delivery Stage

Planning Phase

The delivery organization project team is responsible for creating a project Human Resource Management Plan that describes in detail how the project will manage its human resources during the Delivery Stage. The Human Resource Management Plan is normally a subsidiary plan of the project management plan (PMP). The team also produces staff tracking documentation as well as tools for capturing and reporting variance, normally via the project schedule and its resource reporting tools. Where this application or the resources to make use of it are unavailable, the project will need to find alternative means to track and report variance.

The detailed Human Resource Management process of the Delivery Stage repeats the four activities from the Identification Stage. The focus on the project is now designing, building and implementing the recommended solution, as follows:

  • develop HR Plan;
  • acquire Project Team;
  • develop Project Team; and
  • manage Project Team.

Management in this context includes activities such as leadership and team building. For further information see Annex A - Considerations in Human Resource Management.

Develop Human Resource Plan

In this phase, the requirement is to produce a detailed Human Resource Management Plan that covers the project lifecycle from planning to project close-out. In addition, the plan will include a detailed estimate of the HR requirements for the in-service support organization which will provide operational support and maintenance services.

Detailed HR Management begins by planning the resources that will be used to execute the project. Staff planning is highly dependent on the development of a fully-elaborated Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and project schedule, which means they must be created in concert. The Project Manager analyzes the tasks and deliverables described in the WBS along with the Project Scope statement, organizational policies, historical information from previous similar projects, available resources, and activity duration estimates to develop resource requirements. The aim is to determine which roles, skills and levels of experience match this work. The Project Manager will then estimate the number of resources appropriate for the tasks. By referencing the schedule, and in consultation with resource providers such as Competency Centres, the Project Manager makes adjustments based on availability and organizational capacity.

The Project Manager creates the roles and responsibilities section of this plan based on which resources are required on the project. Next, the Project Manager determines the number of staff required and the time required by phase. The Project Manager may use Microsoft (MS) Project to enter project resources as well as each project task/deliverable directly. The Project Manager then assigns resources to specific tasks and deliverables by phase. Using resource levelling, the Project Manager determines the number of staff required to complete the deliverables and tasks and optimizes the resourcing and scheduling of activities. There are a variety of reports and views available in MS Project to assist the Project Manager in optimally scheduling activities and assigning resources.

The Project Manager produces a project organization chart to reflect the project hierarchy and the staff on the project. The list of project and technical resources required by the project is maintained separately.

All of the staffing documents referred to above will be updated for each phase as the project moves through the project lifecycle.

Acquire Project Team

A staffing plan is normally finalized at this point. The staffing plan is an output document of the HR Management Plan. It captures details of the project's resource requirements.

Staff may be acquired from two sources: from employee organizations or by contracting with an external service provider. Employees are acquired from either the business/client organization or from the project delivery organization. External resources may be acquired from an integrator as a single, integrated team, or from smaller service providers as individual resources.

There are several models for employee acquisition, for example:

  • matrix management: Competency Centres - e.g. ITSB Model. For an example, refer to Annex B - Employee Acquisition;
  • line organization: Acting as lead with resources borrowed from elsewhere in the enterprise;
  • cluster group: At the departmental level with a department lead and other participating departments; some resources remain attached to the home department;
  • partnerships: Either intergovernmental or public/private sector.

Consultants will be utilized on the project when appropriate. The Project Manager acquires consultant staff through Competency Centres or via various procurement vehicles. The Project Manager refers to the Procurement Management Plan for details.

Develop the Project Team

Develop project team is the process of improving the competencies, team interaction, and the overall team environment to enhance project performance. Refer to Annex A - Considerations in Human Resource Management for more information.

Project Orientation

When new resources join the project, the Project Manager provides an orientation to the project. The orientation involves discussing the following topics:

  • background of the project;
  • current status of the project;
  • specific job duties and expectations;
  • introduction to the existing staff; and
  • overview of the project processes, including time reporting, attendance, and status meetings.

Note: One means of facilitating project orientation at the beginning of the project is via the Project Kick-Off best practice.

Project-related Staff Development

The Project Manager or team leader reviews the related skill-sets of project staff against the new and continuing roles and responsibilities needed for each phase. The Competency Centre is responsible for maintaining core competency skills. The project is responsible for project specific training and/or development, depending on business need.

Manage Project Team

Staff Management

Day-to-day management of the project staff is the responsibility of the Project Manager and the delegated team leaders. Performance evaluations, performance issues and recognition, promotions, and disciplinary actions are the responsibility of the home unit or Competency Centres. The Project Manager provides feedback to the home unit or the Competency Centre Resource Manager on the performance of the resources.

Staff Transition to Other Projects/Organizations

In the event that a resource leaves the project prior to project completion, the team leader re-assigns the resource's responsibilities to an existing or new team member. The home unit or the Competency Centre Resource Manager will coordinate the transfer of the departing resource to the new project/organization. It is key to staff morale that transitioning be managed well.

Replacement of Staff

GC employee staff vacancies are addressed through the Competency Centres or home unit. The Project Manager works with the Competency Centre Resource Manager to advertise positions and conduct interviews.

Consultants are replaced in accordance with the procedures found in their contractual agreement. The home unit or Competency Resource Manager acquires new consultant staff as and when required. Wherever possible, the replacement resource (whether an employee or a consultant) will begin work prior to the original resource's departure. This is to ensure the appropriate transition of responsibilities and knowledge.

Note: Some or all of the project resources may transition into a new in-service support organization during the project or subsequent to project close out.

Design Phase

If necessary, the Project Manager repeats the process described in the Planning Phase for acquiring new specialists or to transition out resources who are no longer required by the project.

Implementation Phase

If necessary, the Project Manager repeats the process described in the Planning Phase for acquiring implementation or execution phase specialists or to transition out resources who are no longer required by the project.

Note: Due to time constraints, the process to acquire resources normally begins well before the phase in which the resource will be required.

Delivery Close-Out Phase

Once the project is complete, the Project Manager prepares the project close-out documentincluding lessons learned and conducts the administrative and contract close-out activities, documenting the process thoroughly. The budget, records of costs and payments and any other subsidiary financial and cost-management documents relevant to the staffing history must be updated. A summary of all staff/project team changes that were proposed and either approved or rejected must be prepared. The summary should also detail how the HR variance was managed and whether project contingency or other alternative funding sources were accessed to address HR shortfalls.


This knowledge area applies to all PSPC projects.

For projects carried out for, and funded by other government departments (OGDs), the NPMS practices are to be applied in keeping with client approvals and governance, as per the Business Projects-IT-Enabled OGD procedure.


Human Resource Plan
A document describing how roles and responsibilities, reporting relationships, and staffing management will be addressed and structured for the project. It is contained in or is a subsidiary plan of the PMP.
A role is defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) as a set of responsibilities, activities and authorizations with a defined function performed by a project team member, such as testing, filing, inspecting, coding.
Staffing Plan
The PMBOK® defines a staffing plan as the document that describes when and how human resource needs will be met. A subsidiary of the PMP. A staffing plan includes specific details regarding resource availability, such as skill sets.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
As per the PMBOK®, a WBS is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives, and deliver the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work. The WBS is decomposed into work packages. The deliverables orientation of the hierarchy includes both internal and external deliverables.


All parties responsible for identifying required skill sets, developing the project Human Resource Management Plan, managing project associated work effort and tracking HR staff usage are strongly encouraged to consult with other Project Leaders/Managers and Senior Project Managers when developing the project Human Resource Management Plan.

It is also recommended that Project Managers seek advice from technical experts and other Subject Matter Expert (SME)s within PSPC and consider historical information and lessons learned from similar projects within PSPC when updating the Human Resource Management Plan, budgets, costing documents as well as related staffing and project human resource tracking documents.

Project Lead (Business Side)

The Project Lead on the business side is accountable to the client/business line owner for the effective cost management of project funds and, in terms of managing the human resourcing of the project, is specifically responsible for:

  • ensuring that staff, skill set and work effort related cost estimates are included in the Preliminary project plan for the Identification Stage work effort;
  • ensuring that a thorough and accurate indicative work effort/cost analysis is conducted for the options described in the feasibility report;
  • ensuring that the business case prepared by the client/business line owner includes staffing/required skill set analysis for viable options;
  • ensuring that the project charter reflects an accurate representation of the human resources required to deliver the project scope;
  • setting up and activating a staff succession/change management process for the Identification Stage;
  • ensuring that accurate final staff estimates are prepared for the effective project approval control point;
  • managing the preliminary project approval and effective project approval processes, including the provision of sufficient staffing and skills analysis to justify cost approval at both control points;
  • providing current and forecast human resource reporting data to senior managers on the business side;
  • endorsing changes to the current project staff; and
  • obtaining funding approval for the project.

Project Manager

The Project Manager is responsible for managing human resource on the project and:

  • developing the project Human Resource Management Plan;
  • developing the project staffing estimates;
  • developing the project organizational chart;
  • ensuring that appropriately skilled resources are available to perform each project function;
  • setting up and activating a staff succession/change management process for the project delivery stage;
  • providing leadership and conflict resolution;
  • reporting on staffing and human resource activities; and
  • overseeing the day-to-day management of project resources.

Team Leaders

Note: Depending on the size of the project, this role may be filled by the Project Manager.

The Team Leaders on the project team are responsible for the following staffing activities:

  • providing project orientation to new staff on their team;
  • tracking the project-related activities of their staff;
  • transferring work functions from departing staff members to replacement staff;
  • providing feedback regarding work performance to their resources and to the Competency Centre Resource Manager or home unit manager; and
  • overseeing day-to-day management of their teams.

Competency Centre Resource Manager or Home Unit Manager

The Competency Centre Resource Manager or Home Unit Manager is responsible for the following staffing activities:

  • coordinating staff replacement and transition to and from projects;
  • coordinating the acquisition and assignment of project staff;
  • determining the personal training needs of Competency Centre staff;
  • maintaining core competency skills;
  • evaluating and managing staff performance,
  • filling resource requests;
  • recruiting;
  • staff development;
  • strategic resource planning for future organizational needs; and
  • procuring contract resources.


Note: PSPC's Human Resource Branch is in the process of developing guidance documents for a wide range of HR domains. These will be referenced as and when they become available.



Please direct enquiries about this Knowledge Area to the Director, Centre of Excellence, ITSB Project Delivery Office.

ANNEX A - Considerations in Human Resource Management

Team Building

Developing a cohesive team is key to the success of any project. A project team must be clear on common project goals. A common understanding and acceptance of goals within the team helps build a sense of ownership leading up to the Implementation Phase. So, in addition to creating an effective HR Management Plan, or acquiring and managing project human resource, a project manager needs to consider the human factor. A group is not the same as a team. Groups are not cohesive and have not yet formed effective internal bonds. Teams go through a maturity cycle: "forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning". Some conflict is normal before the optimal performance stage can be attained. Teams need to gel and develop a team identity or chemistry.

Getting together as a team outside the project environment and participating in social activities or group challenges has many benefits in terms of building team cohesion. Teams that like each other and have more common positive reference points and experiences are more productive in the long run. Team building occasions are useful for celebrating achievements. They build chemistry and the sense of "us".

Managing Virtual Teams

Virtual teams are composed of a group of persons with shared objectives who fulfill their roles with little or no time spent meeting face to face. Geographic dispersion can occur either within a region or in national projects across several regions. The management of virtual teams has its own set of unique challenges that require additional communications and processes. The Project Manager should try to take advantage of technological tools such as Microsoft Net Meeting and Teleconferencing, among other options, to help bridge the physical gaps between team members.

Cultural Differences

Most modern organizations are highly diverse cultural environments. It is important to take into account the cultural sensibilities of various team members when assembling teams and subsequently managing them.

Leadership and Decision-making Environment

The Project Manager must create a common vision, motivate and lead the team. There are a variety of workable leadership styles. It is useful to take into account which methods will work best given the team makeup, skills and background. For example, an effective leader often seeks input from the team and to the degree possible, builds consensus with the aim of enhancing project development and implementation. At the end of the day, though, the Project Manager is accountable and must take necessary decisions.

Leveraging Strengths

Effective team management means leveraging individual strengths and minimizing individual weaknesses in assigning tasks and roles. By contrast, to the degree possible, a project manager should avoid "pigeon holing" members of the team. Task rotation has considerable motivational advantages. The effective Project Manager knows how to empower the individuals on the team to do their best work, but does not ignore accountability.

Ground Rules

Some projects develop behavioural covenants or charters. Whether formal or informal, it is important to establish common ground rules that team can follow to promote a healthier work environment. One key point is that structure works: well organized status reports and regular, well organized meetings being but two examples. Holding a meeting at the same time and place and using an established agenda and action list is a very effective tool in achieving consistency and in managing the delivery process.

Communications and Buffering

An effective Project Manager ensures that important and necessary information is passed along to the team in a timely fashion. By contrast, the Project Manager also judiciously filters out "noise" and buffers the team from negative external influences that can lead to diminished performance.

Conflict Management and Resolution

Conflict is both inevitable and to a degree desirable. Group think leads to bad decision making. Keeping the communication channels open helps confirm a team member's sense that his contribution is valued. The freedom to contribute a differing opinion ultimately leads to more creative decision-making. It is each team member's responsibility to manage conflict. However, when a conflict disrupts performance, it is the Project Manager's role to mediate/arbitrate and ensure there is no breakdown in the team, or to escalate that intervention before performance is affected.

Employment Equity

A Project Manager needs to take into account gender sensibilities as well as the sensibilities of visible minorities and physically challenged team members in leading the team and in attaining the full contribution and engagement of every member of the team. Gender equality and employment equity are addressed in depth in Treasury Board Submissions.


Co-location saves time and energy, particularly in terms of scheduling meeting or team activities, information sharing and peer exchanges. Team cohesion is generally enhanced when members are co-located.

Rewards and Recognition

There are limits to substantive rewards in the GC context; however, pointing out a job well done during group meetings is a very positive motivator. There are other non-monetary reward and recognition processes that can be usefully implemented to improve morale and group cohesion.

Full-time Employee (FTE) programs

PSPC has a portal that provides access to a variety of tools, information and processes This link is available only to clients with access to The Source, the PWGSC/PSPC intranet.. These include, among others:

  • the employee toolkit: information for new employees;
  • employee reward and recognition programs;
  • Employee and Organizational Assistance Programs;
  • workplace conflict resolution;
  • Canada School of Public Service;
  • union contacts;
  • employment equity; and
  • rates of pay and contracts.

ANNEX B - Employee Acquisition

Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB) projects draw upon pools of technical and project management resources, known as Competency Centres, to meet their staffing needs. The resources in the Competency Centres may be government employees or contracted consultants. There are Competency Centres in Application Management and IT Operational Services (AM&ITOS) and the Project Delivery Office (PDO). In Service Management and Delivery (SM&D), there are also service management Competency Centres which may provide matrix-based project resourcing. Since Service Transitions and Major Projects (STAMP)-sector projects are infrastructure-related, these are the Competency Centres from which they will draw most of their resources for OGD work.

The business side of Business Projects-IT-Enabled draws upon the business owner's organization for subject matter expertise. These resources may be assigned on a full or part-time basis for one or more phases or for the full project lifecycle.

Which Competency Centre a project draws its resources from will depend on which organization is managing the project, the nature of the work and where the required skills are based within the organization. The principle underlying the use of Competency Centres is the need to optimize departmental and branch resource usage, while flexibly and responsively addressing project staffing needs.

The Project Manager prepares the position descriptions and minimum qualifications for each project role. The project normally acquires employees through a Competency Centres relevant to its purpose. On an exceptions basis, however, if the required employees/consultants are not available in the Competency Centre, the Project Manager requests that the Competency Centre Director General (DG) or sponsor approve a staffing or procurement action to acquire the required resources. Staffing actions are used to obtain employees; procurement actions obtain consultants. Upon DG or sponsor approval, the Competency Resource Manager determines the appropriate staff classification, advertises the position and schedules the interviews. The Project Manager conducts the interviews and selects the staff.