Posted by: kerrywills | April 5, 2013

How much Project Management is needed in a federated organization?

The organization I work for has about 30 sub-organizations each of which requires its own project managers to manage their portions of the work. Therefore most programs have an overall program manager and then 5-15 project managers for the various organizations working on the program. I have been thinking whether or not this model makes sense.

Accountability – On one hand the organization is set up so that there is ‘vertical’ accountability which means that the divisions are held accountable for the delivery of their components and assets. Therefore it makes sense for these areas to want to have their own PMs to drive their work, act as a single point of contact, and manage the resources and financials.

Overhead – On the other hand having 10-15 named PMs seems like way too many.

Do you have a small army of PMs?

Do you have a small army of PMs?

As I assessed a few programs I found that PMs made up 13% of the cost which is not significantly higher than industry benchmarks which are usually around 12%. I believe that if we remove some of the PMs that the work they are doing will still need to be done and will wind up on other roles, therefore not yielding in any saves. I believe that the focus should be on what the PMs are working on as they may not be optimizing their time.

What do others think and what other models have seemed to work?


  1. Are there some less obvious costs to having so may PMs involved? How do you assure good awareness and communication about status and coordination of dependencies? What about change management and risk planning?

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