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Topics: Cost Management, Estimating, Governance, Government, Using PMI Standards
Number of hours a manager should charge to a task order for an employee?
I am wondering what the average number of hours on a bi-weekly basis a subcontractor manager should be charging to a given task order being they only have 1 employee working on it. The task order isn't that big but the manager seems to charge almost 16 hours every two weeks to the program. Is this normal?

Is there an industry standard and/or ratio for a manager/# of employees?
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There is no such industry standard exists. Assuming your contract is of type T& may have to look at the deliverable or the actions performed by the employee in 2 weeks to get clarity on the effort.
Although it might not be an "industry standard", 80% is frequently used for an employee working full time on a project. That accounts for other day-to-day things like attending staff meetings, performance reviews, and other overhead. It's commonly used when estimating the hours that will take to perform a task when personnel are assigned as dedicated resources rather than splitting their time between projects.

That is an average though. Some weeks they might spend 100% of their time on the project, and others 60%. If they are charging 100% of their time, for extended periods, I would be suspicious. That would suggest they are blending their overhead into your project.

There is definitely no industry standard for manager to employees. The "rule of 7" is sometimes used (7 reports to 1 manager) but that tends to apply more to middle managers than 1st line managers. I've heard "experts" say you can't effectively manage more than that, but 30+ employees is not uncommon (although tough on the manager. )
Scott -

if it is true "over head" (e.g. governance oversight, QA), then I'd be concerned if it was more than 10-20% of the effort spent by the employee. 8 hours per week might be reasonable if the manager is playing a QC/QA role and the quality objectives are that challenging...

I guess my concern is the manager of the one subcontractor is spending almost 20% of their time bi-weekly against the same Task Order. They aren’t doing anything to the best of my knowledge other than overhead management of their employee and possibly company business. If there was a large group of people from their company supporting the task I could see spending more time, but one person seems to me like they should be billing on average 5 hours or less.
I see I misread your original post.

This is where your judgment comes in as a PM. I would ask their manager for an explanation. I've had to do that many times when I see questionable charging. Sometimes people just split up their time between projects and it is overlooked when it's not enough to any particular project to raise questions.

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