Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Agile
Avg Projects Per Project Manager
Does anyone know of any benchmark studies on the number of projects that a PM should run concurrently? I'm trying to justify hiring additional PMs in my organization and I need to show an industry standard for project ratio per PM.
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did u hear back anything? iam also looking for a similiar metric. I narrowed down to 5 to 6 projects (small/medium) per PM. But this was not authentic. Do u have any numbers from say gartner or other research companies/?
Just want to say that project scope varies not only in size but also whether it has dependencies which could potentially dictate whether it be agile or not.

If it is agile, the PM or Project Lead will be hard press to keep up with all the components of the plan, not to mention the vast number of stakeholders to be pandered to at the same time. Suggest that there be only 3 -6 projects dependent on the number of stakeholders.

If it is a waterfall, the capacity should be 8 to 12 for large to medium size projects. Alternatively 1 large, 2 medium and 10 small projects.

However, there are more and more projects dependent on the highly skilled Senior BA to lead the SDLC and only use the PM for meetings with management to report on progress. 99% of all SDLC projects can do without a PM but cannot do without a Senior BA as Project Lead because they know exactly what stakeholders want and how they want the solutions to be. Since they are hands on, they are also more suited to provide business case. Ask a PM for an update and who do they run to? Senior BA.

Hope above helps.

Your response assumes the PM is only a paper pusher or project reporter. This is certainly not the case in a projectized organization. The PM's in the organization I work for manage their teams. They are responsible for much more than reporting on a project. They are very hands on with our projects. We are very successful with our process and our BA's work (very important and needed work) winds down by the end of the planning phase to as little as 10% in some cases. I can guarantee you that our PM's do not run to the BA's for updates on the projects. They would not be PM's in my department for any time at all with that kind of effort.

In our PMO, the amount of projects assigned to a PM depends on multiple factors, the size and complexity of the project, the number of projects in our portfolio, the composition of the team, the ability of the PM.

That said, currently, the average number of projects assigned to our PM's is 5. However we have had times when that number has been slightly higher. I would prefer to keep my PM's limited to between 5 and eight projects depending primarily on 1) the complexity and importance of projects, 2) the skill level of the PM, and 3) the size of the project team.

The criteria for assigning PM's is spelled out in our resource management plan.

Good luck.

Good to know that your PM are hands on and that they manage the team. On this side of the world, my counterparts are reporting that the role of the PM here has somehow being reduced to that of a Project Coordinator. Some also reported that it's like 2 layers of Program Managers.

I guess this imbalance started to occur when more and more SDLC are requirements based with Senior BA/Project Lead spending 15hours a day to work with developers and testers to ensure the solution is as per requirements or as user friendly as possible.

When I first started 15 years ago, we were presented with what IT provided and accordingly we developed policy and procedure for users which we then asked operations managers to sign off before handing them over to the Trainer.

Due to the above, the permanent Senior BA's are being held accountable by the PM and therefore the business whereby PIR feedbacks are automatically channelled. Thus start another cycle or "circle" whereby Senior BA's would want to ensure future developments conform to business requirements, often with the Senior BA's having to compile business cases for business process improvements.

So there are projects but then 99% are deliverables based on business requirements, 1% being prototypes. Project being PIP to PIR with 99% of the tasks in SDLC and if Senior BA's adhere to gathering business requirements and UAT, who is managing the traceabilities from business requirements to UAT?

I've been on projects (Software Development / System Integration) so large that a team is required to manage the project. So in that case One project (with some help). I've also been charged with infrastructure projects and handled as many as twelve. It has to do with the scope of the project, and your definition of project management. I favor a definition where a PM uderstands and buys into the business objectives, and then has a great deal of flexibility to meet those objectives.

If you need to justify headcount - I recommend using value added metrics. Perhaps one PM should be able to drive 3 million $ of benefit per year. This has the added benifit of avoiding low-value projects which tend to be unfulfilling for the PM and project team.

What do you think of that model?

Are you able / willing to share with us: "The criteria for assigning PM's is spelled out in our resource management plan."
Interesting question and one I was asked at a job interview - how many projects can you manage. I will re-state my answer (I did get the job).

Not only does it depend on the size, risk and complexity of the project but also what phase they are at. (Initiation,planning, execution, closure)

I can manage a number of projects, provided that they are all not in the planning phase which is where the PM tends to spend the most time. Provided the plan is reasonable, after that it is a matter of managing the plan, and co-ordinating the resources (Time spent is based on Complexity & Size), managing risk and issues (Time spent is based on riskiness).

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