What’s New in Project Resource Management (pt 3: Acquire Resources)

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Hello again, and welcome to another column in what has now become established as a regular-ish feature on The Money Files blog: What’s New In the PMBOK Guide®-- Sixth Edition. Last month I took my second look at Project Resource Management (read Part 1 here and Part 2, on Estimate Activity Resources here). Today, it’s the turn of the third process in this knowledge area: Acquire Resources.

The name of this process is slightly different to what you might remember from the last version. Previously, the process was Acquire Project Team. I think the updated name is better, not because it’s cool to refer to people as ‘resources’ (it’s not) but because it is a broader description of the resources required to run a project.

‘Resources’ can include equipment, and even the budget. And as we are using it to refer to people, it can also mean getting the support and buy in of people who aren’t directly on the core team.

Acquire Resources Process

This is the third process in the Knowledge Area. We’re now in the Executing process group.

This process is where you get what you need to do the project, be that people, supplies, equipment, facilities, a temporary office or whatever.


There are two new inputs, which are:

Project management plan: This simply replaces the ‘human resource management plan’ that was in the last version. As with a lot of these changes, they have made the inputs broader. Instead of referencing the particular pages within the project management plan, the reference is to the whole thing.

This makes a lot more sense to me because it’s clearer that the project management plan is one document with sub-sections and not lots of documentation (although it could be… tailoring, right?). Also, there might be other sections of the plan that are useful for securing resources including the procurement management plan (as you don’t want to go over budget) and the resource management plan.

Project documents: Again we see this vague input here. It could basically cover anything but most likely you’ll be thinking about:

  • The project schedule, so you can plan when resources are required
  • Resource calendars, which make more sense here than in the previous process. You can’t secure resources if they are off on long term sick leave or have planned maternity leave just at the point you need them.
  • Resource requirements, which will be documented somewhere and relate to what you need – you can’t acquire what you don’t know about
  • Stakeholder register.

You can also include other documentation as required, like the assumptions log – there might be things in here relating to how tasks need to be carried out.

Tools and Techniques

There are 4 tools and techniques for this process. Negotiation, acquisition and multi-criteria decision analysis have been removed. That leaves us with pre-assignment and virtual teams.

The two new ones are:

Technique: Decision making. Multi-criteria decision analysis is something that fits into the broader category of decision making, so it hasn’t really disappeared, just been ‘rolled up’. Personally I find it strange to consider decision making something to be used specifically here. Don’t we make decisions all the time? You probably do multi-criteria decision analysis every single day without calling it that. It’s just part of the job.

In case you aren’t sure what it means, it’s taking lots of factors into account when making a decision. For resource allocation, this could include:

  • Availability of the resource
  • How much it costs
  • Whether the person has the right skills and experience
  • Whether the person has the right attitude and temperament for the project
  • The location of the resource and whether it (or they) can be transported to the project’s location as required, or whether it (or they) can be used virtually.

Technique: Interpersonal and team skills. Negotiation is something that fits into the broader category of interpersonal skills, so that hasn’t really disappeared either. You may have to negotiate to get the resources that you need.


The outputs to this process have changed quite a lot, but there’s nothing surprising here. Project staff assignments have dropped out. That leaves resource calendars and project management plan updates, plus some new ones.

We have:

Physical resource assignments: these relate to the non-people resources that you need for the project.

Project team assignments: these relate to the people that you need for the project. You should also document what those people are going to do e.g. roles and responsibilities.

Change requests: I don’t know why this doesn’t appear more frequently. Carrying out any process may result in something changing. Perhaps the specific reference here relates to the fact that when you are trying to book resources, you’ll often find you can’t have who you want when you want and that may change the schedule.

Project documents updates: Lots of documents might get updated as a result of this process. As a prompt, some are listed in the PMBOK Guide®-- Sixth Edition including the lessons learned register, the project schedule, the resource breakdown structure, resource calendars, the risk register and the stakeholder register. Update whatever you think needs updating.

Enterprise environmental factors updates: There might be some need to update enterprise information for some reason, perhaps if you have a central resource pool, for example.

Organisational process assets updates: There might be some incredible insight you’ve gained through securing resources for this project that means you have to change the way the whole organisation deals with resource management and results in you updating OPAs.

That’s the end of this process. The Knowledge Area has 3 more processes to work through, so next time I’ll take a look at Develop Team.

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Posted on: July 10, 2018 08:59 AM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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These section snippets are great summaries Elizabeth. Thanks.

Good comparative!!!

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth!!

Thanks for sharing

I, too, enjoy this series, Elizabeth. Great summarization.

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