HR project management: 10 best practices identified for 2022
The transformation of the HR function to its contemporary form occurred for the most part during the 1970s. Nevertheless, due to economic and social changes as well as the current digital revolutions, human resources management is facing major new challenges.
In order to address these various issues and challenges, the HR function has adopted new approaches and methods, including the integration of project management into its day-to-day operations.
By Imane EL HADIRI
1. Preparing an HR project: some key practices
Project management is now an integral part of the HR function. Numerous projects, both strategic and functional, are indeed led by HR professionals.
As a result, there is a real polarization of the role of HR professionals. They are no longer restricted to traditional administrative management, training management or payroll management… but are faced with new issues such as the development of flexibility at work, the management of tools… HRIS…
A large majority of these new challenges are managed by the HR function in project mode. It must therefore establish a clear and concrete methodology in order to carry out the latter. It is then necessary to follow a myriad of steps in the preparation and implementation of these projects. In this sense, many organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) offer ready-to-use methods. PMI lists some of them in its Project Management Body Of Knowledge. The PMBOK is considered as a guide, even a bible of project management. It is therefore possible to adapt them to the HR function and to implement them within this framework.
Brainstorming: HR project teams can start with what is called the pre-project phase, during which they can define a precise objective for the project. During this phase, they will have to identify, analyze and sometimes question the expectations and needs related to the project. During this phase, the project leaders can be helped by brainstorming methods, using tools such as Klaxoon or Canva.
Resource planning: Secondly, it is essential to identify the project’s material and immaterial resources. For material resources, it will be necessary to define a budget that will then be arbitrated at a higher hierarchical level. As for the project’s stakeholders, the team must not only identify them (managers, mentors, trainers, etc.), but also determine the roles of each of them, their degree of involvement in the project and the potential tasks they will have to perform. In this sense, they will be able to create a resource schedule which will allow, through a precise restitution of information, to appreciate the budgetary constraints and the constraints of availability of the requested actors.
Change management : Following this, it will be necessary to set up a change management strategy from the beginning of the project. Indeed, our consultants specialized in Change Management at SQORUS, propose to implement change management strategies adapted to each project, depending on its scope, its perspectives and its actors. The project team, with the support of Change Managers, will be able to identify the type of change, whether it is cultural, technological or strategic. It will also be relevant to determine whether the depth of the change is radical, revolutionary, incremental… and whether the pace of change will be rather sustained and will induce direct breaks, or on the contrary slow and will allow to break more subtly with the old practices.
The management of the transition: Following the strategy of Change set up, it will be necessary to manage the transition throughout the project. It will be possible to put into practice various approaches, such as that of William BRIDGES (mourning, moving into the neutral zone and then adopting the change) or that of Kurt LEWIN (decrystallizing, taking action and then recrystallizing).
Macro-planning and kick-off: Using all these practices and approaches, the project team will be able to draw up an initial macro-planning, containing the key phases of the project, as well as a global vision of the potential workload. Once completed, the ideal is to onboard the project participants by setting up a kick-off, explaining the context, the stakes and the perspectives of the project.
2. Managing an HR project: some allied tools
Following the official launch of the project, comes the piloting of the project. It is therefore essential to carry out all the phases and stages of the project to ensure an optimal life cycle. For our HR projects, it is possible to use a range of management tools, some of which are advocated by project management specialists, whether at the Project Management Institute (PMI) or at SQORUS, by our specialist project management consultants.
The Gantt chart: The first step is to establish a detailed project schedule. The Gantt chart will be a great ally to accomplish this task. Used for our internal and/or external projects at SQORUS, the Gantt chart can be used for all types of functional areas, whether it be HR, finance or IT. This tool allows the project manager to clearly represent all the scheduled steps of his project, as well as their deadlines. He can distinguish for each activity its duration, materialized by a bar more or less long according to the time previously allocated to it (see Image below).
The purpose of the diagram is therefore to set dates and deadlines for the completion of a project. It also highlights the possible margins in terms of deadlines for certain tasks allowing for time flexibility. In addition, it facilitates the visualization of the project’s progress and its evolution.
Work Breakdown Structure: The second tool that allows the project team to refine and clarify the relationships between all deliverables is the Work Breakdown Structure, commonly known by its acronym, WBS.
The role of this tool is to break down the project into tasks, phases and deliverables. Creating this matrix is essential for a project team and allows everyone to know their scope of work by having a great visibility not only on the content of the project but also on the phases and deliverables of the latter (see image below).
Also known as the Project Work Breakdown Structure, the WBS can also govern risk management and identify the most important actions to be taken during the project.
It is therefore a horizontal and exhaustive distribution of tasks or activities to be carried out during the project. It is essential to stress that it must be developed in collaboration with all members of the project team.
The Kanban board: It is also possible to use other tools during more advanced phases of the project, such as the Kanban board or the Deming wheel. Concerning the kanban board, it contains columns indicating the progress of each task. It highlights what has been done, what is in progress, what remains to be done… Originally used for technical and IT projects, it can be adapted to HR projects and its use will allow the project team to improve its efficiency by representing the workflow, easily visualizing obstacles and modulating tasks according to the current scope of work.
The Deming wheel: The Deming wheel, or PDCA, allows the project manager to follow the evolution of tasks and deliverables, while controlling their quality.
It is formed by 4 crucial steps:
– The planning of the task or deliverable (Plan), which can also be done beforehand with the WBS
– The execution of the task or deliverable (Do)
– The control of the results obtained (Check)
– The action following the result obtained (Act)
The evolution of the HR function, both operationally and strategically, has allowed it to use methods, approaches and tools that were previously reserved for projects in different functional areas. At SQORUS, our experts and consultants are already supporting several clients in their transformation and HR projects. In order to implement these good practices within your company, our SQORUSIEN(NE)S are available to accompany you.
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