Possible Duplicate:
Should a PM also be a resource on the project? Why?

When you're a project manager, you tend to spend (at least with larger projects) the vast majority of your time on project management tasks -- tracking the schedule, work complete and incomplete, holding meetings with stakeholders, etc.

But sometimes, as a project manager, you're also a team-member -- whether implicitly (eg. team lead spending 50% of his time on PM work) or explicitly, because the work just needs to get done.

What I want to know are two criteria:

  • How to tell when you, the project manager, need to do project work. What are the (warning) signs? Is it that there's more work than the team can handle?
  • How to find the balance between time spent on PM work and time spend on project work. How do you know when you've found the balance? Or, conversely, how do you know if you're spending too much time on PM tasks (neglecting project work) or project work (neglecting PM tasks)?
  • Doh, I think you're right.
    – ashes999
    Apr 3, 2011 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


What are the major blockers/risks at the time?

You need to do more PM work if:

  • If the team is seeming lost
  • People are not sure where the project is up to
  • People are not sure what their current/next priorities are
  • You as a PM are not sure on the health of the project

If the above are not true, then you may need to do more project work if:

  • Team members have a stack of tasks they know they must do, but don't have time
  • You know the project is not on track
  • You find yourself doing unimportant/low-value PM tasks more frequently then normal
  • You feel you have plenty of time. Your team doesn't.

I would advise you to plan your PM work in detail: put it in your calendar, with sufficient contingency for tackling issues, etc. Make sure you don't have any (or little) non-PM work to do at the important moments of your project: eg end of month when status reports are due; phase transistions; go-life; project closing etc. ... Ensure you have back-up for your non-PM work and also try to make your non-PM tasks as short as possible.

If you don't do this, you'll be overwhelmed in no time when Murphy strikes, needing all your time for managing your project and at the same time still having lost of non-pm work to fulfill.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.