Project Management

Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

Topics: Using PMI Standards
How to plan a project manager time
Dear PMs,

Are there any PMI standards on how to plan a project manager time and make sure he/she can handle the right number of projects at the same time?

Many Thanks,

Ben
Sort By:
Page: 1 2 next>
I do not know if there are standards on the matter. I guess it could be some papers about it but I really do not know. As a rule of thumb (and something that works for me) the time consumed in project management activities is 15%-20% of total project time. But it depends on multiple factors that varies from the organizational culture and maturity regarding project management thru the level of project governance defined in the organization. 20% is the average I found along my work experience.
Agree with Sergio, my experience is 10-15% of all efforts would be PM efforts, as consumed by the PM and their PM team (like project office).

Working for IBM we had some analysis and found projects with as low as 5% (if highly standardised and low risk) and also others with 25%.

One aspect is research on effective team sizes which says 6-7 team members is an optimum as sufficient interactions by all with all is possible. If you install team leaders, this comes back to 10-15% for those.

I come from an environment with team sizes 10+, so a fulltime PM is standard. If you have a PM managing several projects in parallel, most of them are small in team size and not time critical. Nevertheless I would deem it inefficient due to the multitasking waste.
That is a good question. As Sergio and Thomas mentioned, there is not any standard that I am aware of. Anyways, I think being committed to a kind of self regulation and principles are more important for project managers. They should be able to plan their routines and tasks!
Keep in mind that any estimates for how much time a PM can expect to spend on a project are aggregates of the whole project. I've found that 5-6 projects at a time can be manageable, as long as they are not all demanding attention at the same time.

I've been on small projects that required little attention and others that required almost all of my attention. You might spend a large percentage of time on a project during initiation, testing, and go-live and be back down in the 15-20% range the rest of the time. You might have issues with scope and getting people to agree during planning/requirements. A longer project might need a lot of attention during execution if external variables result in scope changes.

Additional variables are the skill level and time management capabilities of the PM. One PM might be better at working multiple small projects while another might be better with a couple of larger projects.
Benjamin -

This is affected by many factors but three of the more critical ones are:

1. What the PM is expected to do - this varies widely from company-to-company and can heavily impact how many concurrent projects a PM can handle.

2. The life cycle or approach for delivering the projects. In a sequential phased life cycle, a PM's time will fluctuate over the project's life whereas with an incremental and iterative one, it may be pretty constant throughout.

3. The relative complexity of the project. The more complex the project, the greater the effort a PM will need to spend managing it.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Deborah Conrad
Aug 29, 2022 12:18 PM
Deborah Conrad
...
I totally agree with your response. There is no one size fits all standard. Depending on the projects you are working on (size for example), where they are in their life cycle (work efforts vary within each area) and even complexity of the projects should be considering factors. I think if you map out the various projects that you currently are working on, over a time period, you'll be able to see where/when there may be opportunities to grow your portfolio, or identify times when you might become available if you don't have time in the near future. Being clear and upfront with your organization when they are looking to put more on your plate is important.
Thanks to all who replied, it's helpfull to understand the different approaches and the basis to plan PMs capacity.
There isn't any defined standard about how a Project Manager should manage his time. it may depend on many factors, like type of projects of the program/portfolio, way of working of the organization, projects approach, and even the outside-work activities of the Project Manager.
Aug 24, 2022 11:45 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Benjamin -

This is affected by many factors but three of the more critical ones are:

1. What the PM is expected to do - this varies widely from company-to-company and can heavily impact how many concurrent projects a PM can handle.

2. The life cycle or approach for delivering the projects. In a sequential phased life cycle, a PM's time will fluctuate over the project's life whereas with an incremental and iterative one, it may be pretty constant throughout.

3. The relative complexity of the project. The more complex the project, the greater the effort a PM will need to spend managing it.

Kiron
I totally agree with your response. There is no one size fits all standard. Depending on the projects you are working on (size for example), where they are in their life cycle (work efforts vary within each area) and even complexity of the projects should be considering factors. I think if you map out the various projects that you currently are working on, over a time period, you'll be able to see where/when there may be opportunities to grow your portfolio, or identify times when you might become available if you don't have time in the near future. Being clear and upfront with your organization when they are looking to put more on your plate is important.
I keep going back to risk management. The thinner the PM is spread the greater the project(s) are at risk of not achieving the objectives. Management is like a gas, it can expand to fill the space available but expansion dilutes its effects.

What one tries to do is balance risk and reward. Look at all the factors - experience, competence, complexity, tolerance, benefit, support availability, etc. - and make a calculated decision.

When you start looking for and applying standards you are using someone else's calculations without knowing the factors that were considered in making those calculations.

Don't look for the easy route, determine the right route - do the work.
Bonjour,
Je ne pense pas qu'il existe une norme particulière sur la façon de planifier le temps du chef de projet. Il faut plutôt regarder la capacité à pouvoir effectuer du multi-tasking, l'expérience et surtout la disponibilité.

Plus tu es sur un nombre important de projet, plus le risque devient élevé.

Trouvez le juste équilibre entre efficacité et efficience pour gérer son temps.
Page: 1 2 next>  

Please login or join to reply

Content ID:
ADVERTISEMENTS

"More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

- Woody Allen

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors