% 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
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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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