Managing multiple projects is a challenge in itself, be them large or small scale. As a project manager it’s your job to be able to cope with multiple simultaneously running projects where your salary will generally reflect your level of responsibility. So, how many projects are realistic to manage at one time?


how many projects can one project manager manage?

the answer is percentages.

Quite simply a project manager can handle as many projects as hours they have available to distribute. 

Let’s break it down into five project scenarios. 

Assuming project management is 15% of a project’s effort hours, 1,000 hours’ estimated time to complete the task will require 150 hours of the project manager’s time. 

For example, project one requires 12,000 hours of effort, a one-year duration. The project management time required is 12,000 divided by 0.15 or 1800 hours. This is equally the same amount of time a typical worker will spend in one year of employment. The project will require a full-time project manager to run this operation and they would not be able to manage any other projects during this time. 

Project two, an example which requires greater resource, requires 20,000 hours of work in one year. This is 3,000 hours of a project manager’s time and impossible to manage in one year. In this instance, you would look to hire a project administrator or multiple team leaders to delegate some of the work to. A project administrator could handle the scheduling, status reports and meetings to free up hours of a project manager.


managing multiple projects.

Multiple projects require some more careful planning but for an experienced project manager will be part of the daily job. 

  • Project 3 - 1,000 hours, three months = 150 hours 
  • Project 4 - 2,000 hours, eight months = 300 hours 
  • Project 5 - 500 hours, two months = 75 hours  

This can be calculated as 12+ hours for project three across 12 weeks, eight-plus hours for project four for 35 weeks, and 12+ hours across eight weeks for project five. This can all be achieved in 32 hours per week by one project manager. 

Obviously, there is no set formula to the exact timing of project management and there will be highs and lows across the year for some projects more than others. However, the calculations work and can be applied to your role as a project manager if you adjust to suit your daily working needs.