% Of Total Project Time Allocated to a Project Management Work

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I know this varies by type of project and level of complexity etc, however, I am looking for benchmarks for how much time is allocated to Project Management work vs executing on the project work. For example - for a complex financial services technology project with an excess of 100,000 estimated hours of effort to complete with 125 plus resources allocated over a 6 month period - would the PMO Team or Project Manager effort account for 10% or 20% of those total hours or more?

It would be greatly appreciated if you might provide a link to substantiate your answer.

I have searched PMI website and PMBOK but may not be asking the right question.

Thank you

This is an excellent question. And you're right, it's going to depend on several things...

- the project customer
- the complexity of the project
- your own PM infrastructure and best practices
- PM skill level

And there are probably several other variables that need to be considered. However, as a general rule of thumb, 20% is the general number that I've worked with and that several organizations I've been involved with has used as a starting point when putting together an initial project schedule. Certainly that can change as you dive into the detail of each set of tasks in a project. And again, the type and complexity of the project will come in to play.

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I haven't come across a recommended percentage of project management time on projects. It's quite hard to have a one size fits all amount. A lot of digital agencies I work with use 10% for all projects. You need to be able to justify what you are going to do in this time. Often it's an amount added without a lot of thought. Each project should be looked at individually as some will need more project management effort than others.

If you work on a time and materials basis then it's alright to give an estimate, say 20% of the total project time and then charge for the time actually spent. The problem comes when you are working with a fixed price contract and need an accurate estimate.

It depends on the style of the project manager and how hands on he or she is; whether they run daily stand-ups, and how much involvement they feel is necessary to get the project delivered successfully. There needs to be a degree of trust in the PM to get the project delivered in the most efficient and effective way.

I would recommend asking the PM to estimate the project management effort they think necessary to deliver the project, but in the absence of that, 10% or even 20% of the total project time seems reasonable.

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