Meetings

PM Milestone Project Management Templates

PM Milestone Project Management Templates

Get Instant Access

4 Although we refer to the respondents as project managers, the list also includes assistant project manager, project engineers, and other project office personnel.

TABLE 6-1. SURVEY BASE

Industry

Number of People Male

Female

Average Age, Years

Span of Projects

Value of Projects

Utilities (electric)

9

2

40-45

2 mos—4 yrs

$2M-200M

Automotive equipment

39

0

35-40

1-7 yrs

1M-100M

Utilities (telephone)

10

0

35-40

1 mo-2 yrs

10K-500K

Oil

10

0

35-50

1-5 yrs

25M-2.5B

Banking

5

3

25-30

2 wks-6 mos

10K-100K

Manufacturing

7

0

25-35

6 mos-1 yr

1M-9M

Construction

57

2

30-40

6 mos-5 yrs

1M-500M

Communications

9

0

30-35

6 mos-2 yrs

50K-25M

Computers

2

1

25-30

6 mos-2 yrs

100K-175K

Steel

7

1

25-30

3 mos-1 yr

10K-1M

Chemical

4

0

30-40

3 mos-1 yr

25K-5M

Government

38

3

45-55

3 mos-2 yrs

100K-25M

Batteries

10

0

30-35

6 mos-1 yr

100K-2M

Rubber

3

0

45-50

2 mos-1 yr

100K-500K

Nuclear

4

1

30-35

6 mos-5 yrs

100K-50M

Consulting (engineering)

9

0

30-35

1 mo-2 yrs

25K-500K

Health Care

7

3

30-35

1 mo-3 yrs

25K-2M

• Priorities

• Communications

• Conflict management

• Planning/replanning

• Community service

• Delegation

Table 6-1 identifies the survey base for the questionnaires. The respondents were surveyed according to gender, average age, project time span, and dollar value of project. The seventeen industries shown in Table 6-1 were representative of the survey. Most of the projects fell into the one- to two-year time period except for banking and manufacturing. The banking projects were predominantly data processing-oriented, and the manufacturing projects were capital equipment projects for modification and improvement of existing facilities. This accounts for the relatively short time periods.

The average age of the project managers appears to be consistent with published data.5,6 The average age of all project managers appears to fall in the range

5 Harold Kerzner, "Formal Training for Project Managers," Project Management Quarterly, June 1979, pp. 3844.

6 Harold Kerzner, "The Educational Path to Training System Managers," Journal of Systems Management, December 1978, pp. 23-27.

of thirty-forty years. The younger project managers are usually found in computer-oriented projects, such as in banking. Two surprises were found in the age brackets. In manufacturing companies today the trend is to give more responsibility to the younger manufacturing engineers for the capital equipment projects, and the steel industry appears to be hiring younger project managers and providing them with sufficient training in project management. Unfortunately, the sample size of the survey in these two areas makes these statements more assumptions than facts.

It should be mentioned that in some project-driven organizations such as construction, the project managers are generally older than the thirty-forty years identified in Table 6-1. The thirty-forty years reported reflects ages of project office personnel and assistant project managers.

Energy Cycle per Day

The exact amount of energy that an employee possesses is usually a function of such variables as fatigue, efficiency of work, concentration, amount of work, listlessness, eagerness, and alertness. Unfortunately, these individual energy flow variables are extremely difficult to measure. Because of the difficulty in measuring these parameters, the project managers were asked simply to rate their energy level per hour (per work day) on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best rating. Figure 6-6 illustrates the average energy cycle. Most respondents identified a primary and a secondary peak.

The energy cycle per day per industry is identified in Table 6-2. Most employees identified primary and secondary peaks as in Figure 6-6, with the first peak at 9-11 a.m. and the second peak at 1-4 p.m. However, there were some unusual results. Both NASA and construction project managers identified their secondary peaks as being higher than their primary peaks, a suggestion that these people do their more productive work in the afternoon rather than the morning. Another interesting result is in the magnitude of the energy level. Several respondents indicated that they never achieve an energy level of 10. Generally, project-driven organizations and those that use well-established historical standards for work appear to have the highest overall levels of energy.

All employees identified a minimum level at noon, the time for their lunch hour. However, because some employees work through lunch, the energy levels were never assigned a scale value of 1. Probably the most interesting result was that most project managers and project engineers know their own energy cycle. Many people believe, for example, that they do their most effective writing in the morning and save their reading for the afternoon. It is very important to know one's own energy cycle.

Energy Cycle per Week

Most employees do not perform at the same energy level each day of the week. In order to verify this, the respondents were asked again to rate their energy on a scale of 1 to 10, but for each day of the week. The results are shown in Table 6-3. Most respondents felt that their peak performance days were Wednesday and

Figure 6-6. Energy cycle.

First Peak Minimum Second Peak

First Peak Minimum Second Peak

Industry Type

Time

Range

Time

Range

Time

Range

NASA

9-12

8.6-9.2

8-9

7.7

1-3

9.2

12 -1

EDP

9-12

8.75

12 -1

6.5

2-4

8.6

Auto manu. (primary)

9-11

8.0-8.3

12 -1

7.0

2-3,

8.1

4-5

Auto manu.

9-11

9.5

12 -1

3.3

1-3

8.75

(subcontractors)

Construction*

8-11

8.6

12 -1

6.2

1-3

8.75

Construction**

7-4

8.5

Oil

9-11

9.4

12 -1

6.2

2-5

8.1

Primary batteries

9-11

8.4

12 -1

5.2

1-2

7.0

Manu. engineering

9-12

9.0-9.2

12 -1

7.5

1-5

7.8-8.0

Government

9-10

9.60

12 -1

5.9

2-4

7.7-7.8

Others

10-12

8.8

12 -1

5.4

2-4

7.2

*These personnel felt that their energy fluctuated per hour.

**These personnel felt that their energy cycle was virtually constant for the entire day.

Thursday. Construction and oil industries had the highest overall energy level per week.

Several people identified energy levels for Saturday and Sunday because of the necessity for overtime. In most cases, the energy level for Saturday was lower than that of the weekdays, and Sunday was lower than Saturday. Surprisingly, respondents from the automobile manufacturers, manufacturing engineering, and construction industries stated that they maintain at least 90 percent of their peak energy on Saturday. Unfortunately, there was no discussion as to whether this was due to mandatory workload, overtime pay, or other such arguments. However, the high Sunday energy level for the construction respondents indicates that, at least for the construction industry, the pressure of the time, cost, and performance conTABLE 6-3. ENERGY CYCLE PER WEEK

Industry

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

NASA

8.25

9.25

9.75

9.63

7.14

5.0

EDP

7.1

8.7

8.65

8.85

8.2

7.4

5.0

Auto. manu. (primary)

8.1

8.2

7.5

8.1

8.6

8.9

6.9

Auto. manu. (subcontractors)

8

9

9

8.7

7

Construction

8.6

8.8

8.8

9.1

8.9

8.0

7.8

Oil

8.2

9.5

9.5

9.5

8.1

Primary batteries

6.7

8.4

8.5

7.9

6.0

4.3

3.5

Manu. engineering

7.3

8.4

8.9

9.0

8.5

8.3

6.9

Others

8.1

8.9

8.6

8.1

6.4

3.8

straints make prolonged overtime a necessity, and employees are expected to perform at a high energy level continuously.

Daily-Weekly Work Schedule

The majority of the people surveyed began work between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. and finished between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. Several government employees operated on a flex-time schedule. This meant that their energy cycle per day had to be adjusted to a common starting time. The employees who were under the flex-time system were required to work a minimum of 8.5 hours per day and had to be in the plant between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (core time). The employees could begin their workday any time between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. With the adjustment of a common starting point due to flex-time, almost all government employees exhibited the daily energy cycle shown in Table 6-2.

This concept of flex-time is often used in project management. For example, it is common for East Coast companies to have their procurement specialists maintain a noon to 8:30 p.m. workday so as to coincide with the normal workday of West Coast distributors and vendors. Remote-location projects often create a need for flex-time for home office communications.

Overtime

Project-driven organizations tend to require a great deal of overtime due to underemployment, rather than to have to terminate people because of overemployment. These companies believe that if you have sufficient resources for all of your projects, then your organization is overstaffed. Non-project-driven organizations also require overtime but not to the same degree as in the project-driven organization. When respondents were asked about overtime, the following responses were obtained:

• Ninety percent of the government project managers worked an average of four-eight hours of overtime per week.

• Almost 100 percent of the construction workers claimed that overtime was a necessity, at 14.9 hours per week.

• The oil industry project managers equated the necessity and amount of overtime with the size of the project.

• Automotive equipment manufacturers and primary batteries managers also equated overtime with the size of the project, and said that overtime is usually required on all of the large projects.

• Health care/health services personnel work an average of six hours of overtime per week on their data processing/MIS projects.

• Nuclear power personnel stated that overtime is required on 50 percent of their projects, and the overtime is usually accomplished on Saturdays rather than weekdays.

Overtime can be good for the company as long as productivity levels are maintained. However, if overtime is prolonged, then employees may end up giv-

ing the same output in twelve hours that they would produce in a normal eight-hour day. In addition, if the overtime is prolonged, employees may get used to the overtime pay and may ''create" the need for additional overtime if they feel that the additional money may be terminated.

Productivity

An individual can have a large amount of energy, but the productive use of this energy may be low. The average employee is usually productive about six hours in an eight-hour workday. The reason for this 70-80 percent productivity level is that various items "steal" time needed for the completion of a task. The following such items were identified by project managers:7

• Lack of information in a ready format

• Day-to-day administration

• Spending more time than anticipated in answering questions

• Lack of sufficient clerical support

• Late appointments

• Impromptu tasks

• Unscheduled appointments or "drop-ins"

• Union grievances

• Having to explain "thinking" to superiors

• Too many levels of review

• Too many people in a small area

• Office casual conversations

The last two items require further clarification. More and more organizations are finding that white-collar productivity is directly related to the working environment. If employees are provided a relatively secluded place to work, productivity will increase. A company employing 1,700 people found that their white-collar productivity was five hours out of a nine-hour day. This low productivity was attributed to the fact that the employees' desks were so close together that casual conversations were continually occurring, and employees had to work overtime to get their normal workload completed.

Table 6-4 shows the way that the various project managers and project office personnel responded to questions about effective productive hours per day. The majority of the people felt that they were productive at least six hours per day. Productivity lower than this is probably the result of increased time robbers, or an inability to handle time robbers.

Most of the respondees felt that their productivity was at least the same on overtime. However, several comments were made that prolonged or continuous overtime would have a direct bearing on efficiency.

7 Some of these items are found in the "time robbers" list of Section 6.2.

TABLE 6-4. PRODUCTIVITY PER DAY*

Productive Hours per Day

TABLE 6-4. PRODUCTIVITY PER DAY*

Productive Hours per Day

Industry 2 hrs 3 hrs 4 hrs 5 hrs

6 hrs

7 hrs

8 hrs

9 hrs

Rubber/chemical 5.6

33.3

11.1

22.2

27.8

Government 10.0 40.0

40.0

10.0

Automotive equipment

20.0

40.0

40.0

(subcontracts) 6.25 12.5 12.5

37.5

12.5

18.75

Construction

75.0

25.0

Health care 44.4

55.6

Utilities (electrical)

50.0

20.0

30.0

Banking

100**

Batteries 33.3

33.3

33.4

*Table identifies percentage of industry personnel selecting each choice.

**Only average figures available.

**Only average figures available.

Meetings

Meetings become a way of life in project management and project engineering. Unfortunately, meetings can become unproductive and a total waste of time, especially if the project manager:

• Spends too much time on trivial items

• Neglects sending out an agenda

• Holds too many team meetings

• Holds too few team meetings

• Neglects inviting personnel with decision-making authority

If functional employees are unhappy with the way that the project is progressing, they can easily tie up valuable time in team meetings by arguing about trivial items. This is often the case when team members wish to avoid making a decision. Team meetings are ideal for routine activities such as schedule updating and status reporting. However, if decision making is necessary, the project manager may have a problem because the functional team members may not have the authority to make a decision without first checking with their line managers. The project managers must learn, at the beginning of the project, which team members actually represent their line groups in decision making. One employee responded: "A letter would be just as effective as a team meeting but would require less time. Many meetings are just communications, not decision making."

Functional managers would like nothing better than to be able to attend project team meetings, but they do not have the time. Functional managers argue that they cannot spend two hours or more in a project team meeting simply to participate in a fifteen-minute conversation. If the project manager sends out an agenda and identifies the approximate time when each major topic will be discussed, then he may find more decision makers attending his meetings, and the meetings can easily become more productive.

Table 6-5 lists seven industry responses regarding the amount of time per week spent in meetings and how productive the meetings are. In general, the project-driven organizations appear to spend more time in meetings than the non-project-driven organizations, and the productivity of the former meetings seems to be higher. This may be attributed to the pressure of the project-driven organization as well as the experience and maturity of the project-driven organization.

Team meetings are supposedly meetings of the mind where information giving and receiving and listening take place. Unfortunately, many meetings are conducted using the methodology of Figure 6-7. Unless they are effective, team meetings become time management pitfalls. The project manager must ensure that meetings are valuable and necessary for the exchange of information. General guidelines for conducting effective meetings are given in Chapter 5 (Section 5.13).

Time Robbers

In the previous discussions, identification was made of the most common time robbers in a project environment; they are listed in Table 6-6.

The project managers were queried as to which of these time robbers commonly occur on their projects, and how much time is usually spent per week on each time robber. The results are shown in Table 6-6. Delayed decisions and poor communications were the most commonly identified items. Most of the industries appear to have two or three predominant time robbers, except for the construction project managers.

Most respondents identified "other" items that detracted from their performance. Seventy percent of the major automotive equipment manufacturer respondents identified such items. The following "other" items were listed in this survey:

• Lack of information in a ready format

• Too many people in a small area

• Casual office conversations

• Day-to-day administration

• Spending more time than anticipated answering questions

• Lack of sufficient clerical support

• Late appointments TABLE 6-5. MEETINGS

Industry

Approx. Hours per Week

Productivity Level of Meetings

Oil

10

No response

NASA

6-11

75%

Government

8

75%

Batteries

1

50%

Automotive

1

50%

Health care (MIS)

13

No response

Nuclear

8

80%

Figure 6-7. How to conduct an effective meeting.

• Impromptu tasks

• Having to explain thinking to superiors

• Too many levels of review

• Union grievances

Several project managers felt that they should be divorced from the parent company's administrative responsibilities. Although this point may be arguable, the author contends that all projects are still attached to the parent company administratively, and thus project personnel must assume their share of responsibility for company administrative requirements.

Also shown in Table 6-6 is the average number of hours spent per week on each time robber. This identifies the magnitude of the time management problem. One project manager in the nuclear power industry estimated that he spends fourteen hours per week on the time robbers. If 30 to 40 percent of his time is spent on the time robbers, then this limits him to a maximum of 70 percent productivity in each time period. Another project manager felt that time robbers are simply part of a project manager's responsibility: "I'm not sure that I have a lot of time robbers, just a lot of work."

TABLE e-e TIME ROBBERS ANALYSIS"

I industries lime Kohhtrv

Hungt1 if iliiuntptr

Wwfc lime Kohhtrv

JibconiplciL" wort

JO

40

30

50

30

40

70

50

1-2

Jntn dime over

JO

70

10

50

50

30

60

50

1-5

Delayed daemons

S"

II»

50

m

100

«1

80

70

1-4

IW

50

DC

50

so

50

80

70

70

1-10

conimuflKttifa

rail*

TO

100

30

40

20

«1

70

«1

'/HO

Casual visiis

5<l

TO

20

60

30

40

30

40

Waiting Tor pcupli;

TO

70

50

30

40

70

70

60

Vi- S

RiiJun; to delegate

20

30

10

60

2D

10

30

20

2-5

FOOT miicual

JO

50

40

20

30

20

70

30

1-5

system

CNher*

70

10

20

20

30

10

10

10

1-3

"lbMc jfcnrtifip, pcrrcnlitpc Ihf nipimjocs lli.ii wfctted Citti ileni

"lbMc jfcnrtifip, pcrrcnlitpc Ihf nipimjocs lli.ii wfctted Citti ileni

Time Away from Desk

The project managers were asked to identify how much time they spend away from their desks. The results are shown in Table 6-7. The majority of the respondents indicated that 5 to 30 percent of their time is spent away from their desks on such items as:

• Vendor visits/communications

• Team meetings

• Supervising functional work TABLE 6-7. TIME AWAY FROM DESK*

Industry 0

Chemical/ rubber 10

Government 5 NASA

Construction 5 Batteries Health care

Time Away from Desk (%)

1-3 S

1O

1S

2O

2S

3O

3S

4O

SO

óO

?O

10

20

10

10

10

10

20

10

10

25

10

5

20

20

45

10

5

15

5

5

10

15

5

10

15

10

5

10

15

5

20

5

35

5

10

10

5

5

10

10

30

30

10

10

*Table shows percentage of industry respondees that selected each category.

Priorities

The purpose of the priorities question was to determine how project priorities were established, and by whom. Here, we are referring to the activities on the project, not necessarily for new projects. Most of the project managers were at either one end of the spectrum or the other; namely, either they establish the priorities, or top management does it. The following responses were typical of the survey results:

• OH industry: 100 percent of project managers felt that they establish their own priorities.

• Construction industry: Priorities are established by either the customer or in-house top-level management.

• Primary batteries: Priorities are established by either the results of the cost-benefit analysis or toplevel management.

• Nuclear: Project managers set all priorities, but 50 percent do it with top management approval.

• Health care: "Everyone except the project managers appears to be establishing the priorities."

The majority of the project managers appeared to be unfamiliar with the methods used by top management to establish priorities.

Communications

The project managers were asked how they prefer to communicate on the project, and were asked to select from these forms of communication:

• Written formal

• Written informal

• Oral informal

Several respondents felt that they could not answer the question without specifying whether the communications were with superiors, subordinates, or the client. The results are shown in Table 68. Most people seemed to prefer oral communications, especially informal ones.

As part of the survey, the project managers were asked how much time they spend each week trying to resolve conflicts. The results are shown in Table 6-9. It was anticipated that the project managers in project-driven organizations would spend more time resolving conflicts than those in non-project-driven organizations. The results of the survey, however, are not conclusive enough to support this hypothesis.

Planning/Replanning Time

The project managers were asked how many hours they spend each week either planning (originally unplanned) project activities for a project already started, or replanning current activities. The results are shown in Table 6-10. Most project

TABLE 6-B, COMMUNICATIONS'

I ndustrr

(.'ouimiinirjilions Wllh

Superior

SuhanlLnacc i'lknc

I ndustrr

CDnimunkilioiH horm

1 <

n —

i U

Vi'fiiku fcfmsl

20

42

23

30

Wfiltcn infgnnal

IK

23

ici

23

34>

Oral famuil

15

20

27

16

(Irai informal

47

31

21

30

30

Wri11cn formal

20

20

19

23

30

WfilHçn ¡»finh'i.iI

IS

33

35

23

34>

Oral fcmul

1S

20

11

16

OrLil infnrmui

80

il

31

35

3S

50

30

WrilTen Ibntial

42

34}

Whiten infm m'mI

3

O19I ftriul

28

30

Oral informai

27

■lihlc J*™» jKttertas* oi KKpKxxtcvi iji.h ukrtpjçjcti item.

managers felt that at least ten hours per week are spent on planning/replanning. Several project managers tried to distinguish between planning and replanning, and commented that planning requires at least twice as much time as replanning. However, it was felt that some of these people may have misunderstood the nature of the question.

Community Service

People in a project environment, especially project managers, have very little if any time available for community service work. The average response for all in-

TABLE 6-9. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT TIME

Industry

Average Hours per Week Resolving Conflicts

TABLE 6-9. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT TIME

Industry

Rubber/chemical

2

Oil

10

Electronic utilities

9.9

NASA

4.3

Automotive

6.3

Construction

13.8

Banking (MIS)

12

Health care

10

Communications

12

Government

6

TABLE 6-10. PLANNING/REPLANNING TIME

Average Hours per Week Spent

TABLE 6-10. PLANNING/REPLANNING TIME

Average Hours per Week Spent

Industry

Planning/Replanning Project

Oil

10

Construction

3 (small projects), 10 (large projects)

NASA

6

Automotive

4.8

Banking

14.4

Health care

10

Communications

12.4

Government

8

TABLE 6-11. DELEGATION TIME

Industry

Rubber/chemical Oil

Electrical utility

Construction

Banking

Health care

Communications

Government

NASA

Percentage of Project Manager's Work Load Delegated

20-70, varies with project

80 administrative/20 technical

dustries was approximately four hours per week spent in such work, with most of that time going to religious organizations. There was no distinction in the responses between project- and non-project-driven organizations.

Delegation

The project managers were asked what percentage of their own work they try to delegate to subordinates. The results are shown in Table 6-11. Most project managers said that they try to delegate as much work as possible while delegating virtually no authority. Ideally, if the project manager delegated all of the work, the result would resemble Figure 6-8. Unfortunately, there will always be paperwork to create the situation shown in Figure 6-9.

We can now summarize the major time management problems for the project managers. These include:

• Meetings (eight hours/week, from Table 6-5)

• Time robbers (ten hours/week, from Table 6-6)8

8 This assumes that 50 percent of the time robbers will occur, requiring the mean time from Table 6-6.

Figure 6-8.

Project management: effective resource utilization.

Figure 6-8.

Project management: effective resource utilization.

Figure 6-9. Is paperwork bottling you up?

• Conflicts (twelve hours/week, from Table 6-9)

• Planning/replanning (ten hours/week, from Table 6-10)

Summing up these hours, we find that it is entirely possible for project managers to spend forty hours or more each week on these problems—a calculation that neglects the possibility that the project manager's overall efficiency may be only 70 to 80 percent!

Was this article helpful?

0 0
101 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination

101 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination

See how easily you can eliminate procrastination and take back control of your life. Who Else Wants To Stop Being A Slave To Procrastination? Are you ready to start ramming your head into the wall as a punishment for repeated procrastination? No matter what you do, what you promise yourself, you never seem to be able to get your work, chores, or projects done. It can happen to the best of us and it's a hard habit to break.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment