Acquire Project Team Tools, Techniques, and Outputs You Should Know for the PMP Certification Exam

In some situations on the PMP Certification Exam, and in reality, you will have pre-assigned resources. This might occur because your organization bid on a proposal and submitted resumes of the promised resources as part of the bid. However, in most cases, you have to negotiate with functional managers, resource managers, and other project managers.

Negotiation

You should negotiate for those team members who have the skill sets you identified in your RAM or other planning documents. This might mean that you’re not necessarily looking for the most-skilled resource but rather a resource that meets your needs.

A highly skilled resource is always nice to have on the team, but if you don’t have work that requires those skills, you’re paying for a level of competency you don’t need. Also, a highly skilled resource person may get bored easily and look for something more interesting to do.

If, on the other hand, you get someone with a lower level of competency, you might have issues with the schedule, your quality requirements, and rework. In some situations, you might need to go outside the organization to acquire the skills you need. If you didn’t plan for this upfront, you could overrun the budget; therefore, your ability to negotiate and influence are important in this process.

Virtual teams

One way of taking advantage of resources that have the skills you need is to incorporate them as a virtual team member. In other words, this team member isn’t co-located with you or the rest of the team. Some benefits to using virtual team members include

  • They might have the skills you need that aren’t available locally.

  • They might cost less than going outside the organization.

  • You can take advantage of employees who work at home because of disabilities, personal reasons, or telecommuting policies.

  • Travel costs can be reduced.

PMI uses the term co-located or tight matrix to indicate that team members are in the same office.

However, when you establish a virtual team, spending extra time on communications is critical. You want people to feel connected even though they don’t get to see each other. In addition, when you can’t read someone’s body language, you miss some good communication cues, so establishing as many communication channels as necessary to reduce the opportunities for misunderstandings is important.

Have some type of regular face-to-face interaction, even if only a few times per year. Nothing can replace the relationships you build when you can sit across from someone and solve a problem or discuss an issue. Using telephone, web conferencing, e-mail, and faxes is good for addressing routine situations, but to build a team and to solve complex problems, being in a room together is best.

If you aren’t able to negotiate for onsite or virtual team members, you will need to acquire them from outside the organization. This can be as simple as bringing in an external subject matter expert, or as complex as outsourcing the capabilities of an entire department.

Multicriteria decision analysis

Sometimes you will have to choose between a potential team member who has experience and expertise but little time and poor teamwork skills, and a potential team member with less experience but more time and a better attitude. In this type of circumstance, evaluate which criteria are more important on your project to help you make the best staffing choices. Some common criteria to consider include

  • Availability

  • Cost

  • Experience

  • Desire to work on the project

  • Competencies

  • Attitude

  • Geography

  • Flexibility of skill set

After you have your team members identified, you make team assignments, create a team directory, and then update the resource calendars and human resource management plan as necessary.

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct states that as a project manager, you do not discriminate against others based on, but not limited to, gender, race, age, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation. You might see this standard referenced on a question about acquiring team members.

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