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Benchmarking Project Mmgt Effort

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Fraser Haffenden
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I have recently been reviewing a tender for developing a corporate email system. I was a little concerned over the effort that was being attributed to the Project Management task. As a result of my concern I did a quick look at similar project in my department and found that PM effort levels varied from 15% upto 30% of the budgeted effort. In light of this large variation of effort I want to get more data so I could refine the metric I would use. With this info I would then be able to provide evidence to negotiate the tender figure up or potentially down.

I would be grateful if anyone can provide me with a rough estimate from project that they have worked on or alternatively point me in the direction of a web site which contains such information.


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Speaking as a PM who might have put together the number from the opposite side, there are a number of ways the effort could be derived.

One way is to base the effort on a percentage of the overall project effort. This can result in a very large number. I find this method is used if theres a fair degree of project risk that makes it difficult to calculate a firm number.

Another way is to calculate how many days per week a PM intends to spend on a project. For instance, I might average 2 days a week managing a project over the project life cycle of 26 weeks = 52 man-days (416 hours). This number can fluctuate depending on the skillset of the team, the complexity of the project, reporting requirements, etc.

Finally, sometimes PMs assign time to resources for meetings and client communication, which sometimes get included into a total PM effort.

While this doesnt answer your question (ie similar project) I hope this helps you out in at least understanding how that number could be generated.

Rubin Jen, P. Eng, PMP