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What Does the Staff Acquisition Process Include?

The content of the staff acquisition process in projects is different from the general staff recruiting procedures for the organization. In The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, it is considered to be one of the facilitating processes in the planning process group. In projects, the project manager does not actually recruit personnel for the project from outside of the organization. A clear exception to this is when the project requires some skills and knowledge that are not available inside the company. In this case if the project manager does not make the decision to buy these services from the outside, certain skilled people are recruited for this project only, and this becomes another responsibility of the project manager.

In most cases, however, the staff acquisition process involves a number of activities to select the right types of people and sign them up to certain project tasks.

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The major result of the staff acquisition process, according to The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, is to set up the project team with all the needed skills and knowledge important for successful project realization. In order to achieve the stated result, the project manager often has to perform functions not necessarily associated with the normal process of personnel recruitment. For instance, one of the important parts of the responsibilities of the project manager involves good communication skills. These skills allow the project manager to reach a productive understanding with the functional managers and other project managers interested in getting the same types of resources. Needless to say, this process becomes extremely complicated in weak matrix organizations where the project manager does not have enough authority to take people away from the functional departments, and the functional managers are not rewarded for the amount of project work their people are doing.

In many cases the project manager is not clear about which people are best for working on certain tasks in the project at the stage of planning where the decisions are made. It is surely important for a manager to preassign as many people as possible to the specific tasks, especially if a task involves some special skills. The fact that the project manager does not have a clear idea about exactly who would be able to work on the project also negatively affects the estimating process. This is important especially in cases where the company holds the salaries of its employees a total secret from everybody else in the company except the accounting department. In this case, the project managers tend to plan using the average cost for this skill group for their estimates and, what is worse, report performance based on the average figures as well. This creates a strong demand for experienced and expensive employees, leaving the young, inexperienced ones unclaimed.

Generally, all those considerations make it important for the project manager to be able to preplan for certain people to be assigned to certain project tasks at the stage of staff acquisition.