As a PM I am working with a team and I almost always define our times, however, sometimes my boss stipulates a deadline to the presentation, and even when I discuss it with him he explains the project won't be on budget if we don't get it on time.

Is it my responsability to work extra hours to get the presentation on time, or should he discard the project if he's not willing to spend additional resources on it?

I also have other extra curricular responsabilities, but he says that since we are working for objectives and with the additional fact that me and my team has somewhat freedom to make our inner management, that we should repay it, without complain, or at least I should repay it, since I'm responsable for the project.

But, where's the line?

  • 7
    This is a great question. But, it seems to be a better fit for workplace.stackexchange.com since this question is generalizable to any type of person. PM's aren't the only ones asked to work extra hours for the greater good of the organization : ) That being said, Thursdaysgeek's answer hits the nail on the head. The ball is in your court to draw the line. Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:47
  • I agree that the question should be migrated.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 4:24

5 Answers 5


I suggest to sit down with your boss and talk about responsibilities and expectations. It sounds that he gave you something (the freedom) and expects something in return that he forgot to mention to you.

There is a common misunderstanding that the extra work requires overtime. I think you as a project manager are expected to organise and prioritise your work so that you can deal with the important things during work hours. So, if your boss wants you to do some extra, you should find something that won't be done, or will be delegated to somebody else in your team. There are things that doesn't require a project manager.

If you are about the draw the line, don't do the same as your boss. Make it clear to him as well where the line is in order to avoid further misunderstandings.


There is a joke: "Project managers are people that believe 9 women can give birth to one baby in a month." It is your professional responsibility to set realistic expectations. Going all out and working a 80+ hr. week is mentally exhausting, which in software development leads to more bugs than genuine progress. In France since 2000, the legal work week is 35 hours, and anything over that is overtime, allowed up to 220 hrs. per year. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1873245,00.html

Success is setting expectations and then going beyond them. Talk with your boss and bluntly ask them: "Do you want to meet deadlines with a low quality product and burnt out workers, or have a high quality product with fully engaged workers?" If they say they want quality, speed, and low cost, they are delusional. It's the iron triangle, choose 2. If they won't listen, it's time to update your resume and start looking. Don't waste your life spending 40+ hrs. a week in a miserable environment.


It depends: the line is where you draw it, knowing that if he wants more than you're willing to give, you have to find a different job where the line is drawn differently. Depending on where you draw the line, if you want to work less than other available PMs, that other job may be harder to find or pay less.


The official PMI perspective is you shouldn't sign up for a project that won't succeed. The other answer the real world, however. In your case if it is just the extra hours, I would try to get my manger to give me "comp" time for later. Some companies allow that if you worked extra, you can take off extra time later without using up your vacation.

  • 1
    Once I got a very valuable feedback from a senior PM after I mentioned something similar: "If you don't do it, I'll find somebody who will..."
    – Zsolt
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 19:29
  • 1
    Hi Brian, I'm not sure this answers the question, "Is it my responsability to work extra hours to get the presentation on time, or should he discard the project if he's not willing to spend additional resources on it?" Can you expand this post to clarify?
    – jmort253
    Commented May 25, 2013 at 4:10

Of your four paragraphs, only the last one is relevant. The first three are just noise. Where's the line? It is where you draw it. Each of us makes a choice as to the degree of commitment one is willing to make in his/her career. And that choice will likely yield a certain result. Your boss is opening the door, indicating his/her expectations and desired behavior that will enable a value proposition to make him/her competitive in the market. If you choose to not walk through that, then (s)he will find someone else. That someone else will receive some set of consequences for walking through that door and you will receive another set of consequences for not walking through it.

Choose wisely and accept the results you get.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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