KPI of the Day – Project Management: # Project managers to staff ratio
Measures the ratio of the project managers assigned to supervise and manage projects relative to the project staff involved in running projects.
To track the complexity and size of the projects running, as well as, to give a clue of the efficiency of resource allocation.
# Project managers to staff ratio can also be an indirect determinant of staff experience, efficiency and productivity. Staff which are able to deliver projects in time, on budget and within specification don’t need a lot of coordination. At the same time, an increase in the number of project leaders, compared to previous years, can denote an increase in the complexity of the projects.
Sizing projects is a matter of ensuring the optimal balance between cost and risk. On the one hand, organizations with a high project management maturity level will ensure support with managing projects, thereby allowing project managers to focus directly on individual team members.
On the other hand, organizations with low project management maturity will most certainly focus on keeping projects on track, thereby offering project leaders less time for managing their teams. Establishing the optimal # Project managers to staff ratio, therefore comes as highly debatable. When little or no time is allowed for managing the project team, the # Project manager to staff ratio may require adjustment.
The same goes for situations in which projects get of course because of too many managers and not enough project team members. Whether it is the maturity level of the project management capability, the productivity of the project team, the ability to multitask or prioritize, the # Project managers to staff ratio is a parameter that requires continuous review and adjustment.
Thus, several recommendations to optimize the # Project managers to staff ratio are as follows:
- Establish a simple hierarchical structure to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy;
- Communicate project methodology at the initial stage to all staff;
- Increase delegation by empowering staff to make independent decisions;
- Prioritize and schedule projects to reduce over-employing staff;
- Cultivate minimal-sized team for small projects;
- Increase staff training to ensure team productivity and reliability.
Targets for this KPI may vary according to the nature and complexity of projects. IT projects are generally considered more intensive, requiring complex work and multiple tasks to be completed. Thus, a larger number of project managers could be needed in comparison with other types of projects which are less intensive.