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I am considering two positions, one a formal PM job, the other a supervisory role within a functional organization. I have gotten the impression that people who actually hold the PM job title work many hours. One guy said he worked 80 hours straight once over Thanksgiving weekend to finish a project. Of course, the textbooks would say that unplanned overtime is the result of poor project management, etc.

EDIT: Let me rephrase, so that this question doesn't get closed: What's the average amount of weekly hours a project manager should typically put in? How can I tell if I'm being taken advantage of and am working too many hours?

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    How can this be answered correctly? (Especially after the edit.) Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 14:30
  • Still, it doesn't fit the Q&A format as there's no specific answer for it, I'm afraid... besides, the same PM can work 20h in a week and 80h on the next. I'd suggest you to use other parameters to meter how good this role would fit to you.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 14:41
  • I will vote to close it myself. I already received the answers I needed.
    – jdb1a1
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 14:50
  • I disagree about whether this question is "answerable," though. Whether a question is answerable or not is entirely in the eyes of the beholder. The very nature of a PM site (vs. the more concrete flow of Q&A in stackoverflow.com) demands more flexibility in terms of how questions are interpreted. In particular, we seem to be confusing how generally applicable a question is with whether or not it is answerable. In this case, it is answerable.
    – jdb1a1
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 14:57
  • Hi @jdb1a1, the question is still a poll, which is "unanswerable". You're basically asking everyone to list how many hours they work per week, which doesn't solve a problem. See my edits for clarity on how you can typically word these types of questions. Good luck! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 15:02

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I've worked in two industries (financial and pharma). I've made a point of being clear that I have a couple of little kids and won't work a huge number of hours on a regulard basis. I spend ~40hrs/wk working on average, sometimes ~50-60 when necessary. About 50-75% of my time is on projects, the rest is on other stuff.

That being said, this is going to be dependent on industry, company culture, project phase, project complexity etc.

For example:

  • If you are the PM in charge of part of the next game in the HALO series you will probably be working an insane number of hours, just because the games industry has that kind of culture (or so I've heard).
  • There is more time spent during planning than during monitoring/controlling... at least until the wheels start coming off of the project...

Have you asked the hiring team what their expectations are? For example, will you be issued a cellphone and be expected to be "on call"? If YES then expect more work. Are they paying you a lot of money for the position? If YES expect more work.

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The inherent problem with this question is separating the individual and the title of PM with the role of PM. Asking individuals what they work a week really doesn't expose what one could expect a PM on a particular project to work. In other words, that an individual who is a full-time employee for some company who typically works between 40 to 70 hours a week does not mean a thing about how many hours he works on his project or projects.

Although industry specific, you might find that a typical project would budget somewhere between 8% to maybe as high as 18% of total budget for PM "stuff". And then there is variability during execution: if things are going well, op tempo should fall; if things are going to crap, op tempo could rise. If the project is small, the PM of record may oversee several projects at once. If large, the PM of record might be full-time with other project administrators and controllers on staff to help.

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