by Jurie Smith

Project staff superheroes

Human resources

Project staff superheroes
Project staff superheroes

While growing up, I used to pay particular attention to comic book superheroes such as Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern and so on. These make-believe characters could perform great exploits and change the lives of the human race in whichever imaginary world they resided.

Despite the great abilities and superior knowledge they possessed, however, they soon discovered that individually they had limitations, the most obvious being the inability to be in several places at the same time in order to prevent some cataclysmic event.

Realising this inadequacy, the comic characters decided to form a team called the Justice League, of which the founding members comprised Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Together, they were able to tackle insurmountable tasks!

This preamble leads us to our main focus: It is the task of the project management team to put together the most effective group of individuals who will be tasked with the successful delivery of a project to the sponsoring organisation.

One of the key activities preceding the actual execution of the project is the drawing up of a project schedule that clearly allocates project tasks to identified team members. This goes before identifying which tasks depend on these particular individuals for their successful completion.

In selecting the appropriate staff, a project staffing plan has to be put together. This involves selecting and assembling a project team. The staffing plan spells out in great detail when and how the human resource requirements of the project will be met. The plan takes into account the high-level staffing needs identified in the initial stage. The staffing plan needs to further provide for any non-labour resources such as tools, equipment or processes that the project members may require in order for the project team to tackle the assigned tasks competently.

In inscribing the staffing plan, some aspects have to be taken into consideration, namely: how the staff will be acquired, duration the staff will be needed, and the necessary training requirements for the staff.

Acquiring staff

It goes without saying that project tasks cannot be accomplished without the team members’ presence, both physically and mentally. The staffing plan, therefore, has to detail how the staff will be identified, as well as how and where the staff will be secured. After this it is crucial that commitment is sought from the key players before any actual work commences.


It has to be stated beforehand how long each human resource will be needed on the ensuing project so as to correctly apportion tasks and duties to the team members.

Training requirements

If the staff identified to take part in the project lack skill in a required area, it is prudential to include a plan for training or coaching in order to bring their knowledge up to the requisite level.

The main people involved in the selection and appointing of the project staff should be the project manager and the project sponsor.

Ultimately, in order for any project to ‘fly’, the most appropriately endowed individuals have to be chosen to take the vision of the organisation to the prescribed level. The superheroes of the project have to be brought in to make sure it is delivered.

Jurie Smith (MBA, PMP®, PRINCE2® Practitioner, and MSP®) is the chief executive at the PM Academy. He is an experienced business executive with over 24 years’ experience in project management consulting and training. He is a project management assessor registered with the Services SETA, an executive on the Steering Committee of the Project Management Standards Generating Body and has held various executive positions at Project Management South Africa. For further details, email or visit

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Issue 29


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