I was in a meeting recently where someone commented that HR pros don’t know project management. And I thought, really? Managing projects is one of the largest responsibilities we have in human resources. It could be a small project like organizing an employee event or a large scale project such as implementing a new software solution. Regardless of size, projects are an important part of what we do.
As such, we should manage projects well. That means having some understanding of project management terminology, processes, and techniques. Some of the activities that come to mind are launch meetings, maintenance plans, communications, pilot programs, and project plans. It got me thinking about my list of go-to project management resources, so I thought I would put together a list.
First off, I have a couple of books on my shelf about managing projects. “Project Management Step-By-Step” by Larry Richman and “Project Management in 24 Hours” by Nancy Mingus. Both of these are practical how-to guides for the project manager. I use them as a regular resource.
In addition to books, I read a couple of project management blogs on a regular basis. So, if you’d rather read blogs instead of books, check out these couple of posts:
You might not want to follow all of these, but look for blogs that keep popping up on lists. That’s one of the reasons I like reading those “top lists” articles because I look for trends.
Another way to learn how to manage projects is by actually doing it. There are several apps on the market that can assist with managing projects. For example, when we were doing some recent updates to HR Bartender, we worked with the developer using Basecamp. Here are some articles on the topic:
From Zapier: The 18 Best Free Project Management Apps
From PC Magazine: The Best Project Management Software of 2018
Again, the goal isn’t to download and test-drive all of these. That would quickly turn into its own project! Think of your needs, look at the names that continue to show up, and then select 2-3 (max!) to try.
I’m not sure that there’s an expectation for HR professionals to obtain their Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. But knowing the principles in terms of scheduling, budgeting, evaluation, etc. is essential. I recently heard an easy to remember way to manage project data that I plan to incorporate into my project management toolkit. Call it the 3 C’s:
- CONFIRM existing information
- CLEANUP incorrect information
- CONFIGURE processes for the future
There’s one other aspect of project management that we need to keep in mind. It’s the people part. Successfully managing projects requires communication, decision making, problem solving, and conflict management. Not only does HR need to know these things, but they need to make sure that everyone else knows them too. Because part of the reason that HR needs to know the principles of project management is so they can help the rest of the organization learn them too.
So, I’m curious. What books, blogs, or apps are on your project management resource list?
P.S. Today’s image was taken at the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. This year’s conference will be held in Chicago, IL on June 17-20, 2018. Hope to see you there!14