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Topics: Government
What is an appropriate project caseload for a project manager?
I am a new deputy director of a local government public works department in charge of highway and capital infrastructure projects. Projects range in size from around $100,000 to approaching $100M. Project managers in my office are separated between development and construction.
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It depends on the expertise and experience of the project manager. I'd assume a $100M project would be quite a significant workload, while compared to a $100K. As a point of reference, I am currently managing two multi-million dollar multi-year projects, with probably a third on the horizon.

Complexity and resources can be a factor in the PM workload.

Complexity, experience and timelines are crucial in deciding the load for each PM

My virtual colleagues have provided the two attributes I would lead with - complexity and level of PM experience.

I'd add:

1. Expectations for what specific activities or deliverables a PM is expected to own as per policies and standards.
2. Degree of project coordinator or admin support available to the PM.
3. Strength of their existing relationships with key stakeholders.


I agree with what has been said about complexity, experience, effectiveness of standards or PMO support, stakeholder relations.

As my rule of thumb, PM effort per project could be 10-15%, in highly efficient environments down to 5%, with high complexity up to 25%.
So, if the total project effort (not cost) is 2000 or more hours a month, I would recommend a fulltime PM (who might chose to acquire a project office).

Also agree with the complexity and experience comments. Thomas also touched on a very important point - the PMO. If you have an effective PMO behind you life becomes so much easier, without one you're on your own and with a bad one your workload can actually increase.
Thanks everyone for the input! Our projects run the gamut from sidewalk projects valued in the tens of thousands to new highway construction with values approaching $100M, and everything in between.

Mr Walenta describes a rule of thumb that is consistent with my experience.

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