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Encyclopedia > Man hour

A man-hour or person-hour[1], [2] is the amount of work performed by an average worker in one hour. It is used in written "estimates" for estimation of the total amount of uninterrupted labour required to perform a task. For example, researching and writing a college paper might require twenty man-hours. Preparing a family banquet from scratch might require ten man-hours. Manual labour (or manual labor) is physical work done with the hands, especially in an unskilled job such as fruit and vegetable picking, road building, or any other field where the work may be considered physically arduous, and which has as a profitable objective, usually the production of goods. ... Estimation is the calculated approximation of a result which is usable even if input data may be incomplete, uncertain, or noisy. ... In classical economics and all micro-economics labour is a measure of the work done by human beings and is one of three factors of production, the others being land and capital. ... In common language, a task is part of a set of actions which accomplish a job; the sense is that useful work is getting done. Task analysis is the analysis or a breakdown of exactly how a task is accomplished, such as what sub-tasks are required. ...


Man-hours do not take account of the breaks that human beings generally require from work, e.g. for rest, eating and other bodily functions. They only count pure labour. Managers count the man-hours and add break time to estimate the amount of time a task will actually take to complete. Thus, while one college course's written paper might require twenty man-hours to carry out, it almost certainly will not get done in twenty consecutive hours. Its progress will be interrupted by work for other courses, meals, sleep and other distractions. (The exception to this rule is "cramming," when a student will attempt to do all of the work required for a project or an exam in one uninterrupted span of time.) Look up Break in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... People participating in summer luge as a form of recreation, in the Vosges. ... // For eat or EAT as an abbreviation or acronym, see EAT. In general terms, eating (formally, ingestion) is the process of consuming nutrition, i. ... Management (from Old French ménagement the art of conducting, directing, from Latin manu agere to lead by the hand) characterises the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible). ... The word cramming has several meanings, including: Phone fraud in which a telephone company adds expensive services to a users telephone bill without the users consent; or Intensive memorization in a short period of time -- usually done by a student preparing for a school examination. ...

Contents

Real-world applications

The advantage of the man-hour concept is that it can be used to estimate the impact of staff changes on the amount of time required for a task. This is done by dividing the number of man-hours by the number of workers available. Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. ... Look up time in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In common language, a task is part of a set of actions which accomplish a job; the sense is that useful work is getting done. Task analysis is the analysis or a breakdown of exactly how a task is accomplished, such as what sub-tasks are required. ... In mathematics, especially in elementary arithmetic, division is an arithmetic operation which is the inverse of multiplication. ...


This is, of course, a naïve calculation that is only appropriate to certain types of activity. It is of most use when considering 'piece-work', where the activity being managed consists of discrete activities having simple dependencies, and where other factors can be neglected. So, adding another person to a packaging team will increase the output of that team in a predictable manner.


In reality, other factors intervene to reduce the simplicity of this model. If some elements of the task have a natural timespan, adding more staff will have a reduced effect: although having two chefs will double the speed of some elements of food preparation, they roast a chicken no faster than one chef. Some tasks also have a natural number of staff associated with them: the time to chop the vegetables will be halved with the addition of the second chef, but the time to carve the chicken will remain the same.


Another problem with this model, as Fred Brooks noted, is that organisation, training and co-ordination activities could more than outweigh the potential benefits of having extra staff working on a task. Frederick Phillips Brooks, Jr. ...


The term "man-hour" is considered sexist by some [citation needed]; one might consider using the term "hour."


Man-year

The similar concept of a man-year or person-year[3], [4] is used on very large projects. It is the amount of work performed by an average worker during one year. Obviously, the number of hours worked by an individual during a year varies greatly according to cultural norm(s) and economics, but a business man year for management purposes seems to hover around 2000 man hours. A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service. ... In mathematics, an average or central tendency of a set (list) of data refers to a measure of the middle of the data set. ... Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning to cultivate), generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ... The word norm coming from the latin word norma which means angle measure or (lawlike) rule, has a number of meanings: A social or sociological norm; see norm (sociology). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Wall Street, Manhattan is the location of the New York Stock Exchange and is often used as a symbol for the world of business. ... The term management characterizes the process of and/or the personnel leading and directing all or part of an organization (often a business) through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, capital, natural, intellectual or intangible). ...


A note on language

Obviously the term 'man-hour' was introduced before the use of 'man' as a generic term for a person fell out of favour. More recent alternatives include 'person-hour', 'staff-hour' and 'employee-hour'. Similar terms can be substituted for 'man-month' and 'man-year'.


See also

Surplus value, according to Marxism, is unpaid labour that is extracted from the worker by the capitalist, and serves as the basis for capitalist accumulation. ... In classical economics and all micro-economics labour is a measure of the work done by human beings and is one of three factors of production, the others being land and capital. ... Scientific management or Taylorism is the name of the approach to management and industrial and organizational psychology initiated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in his 1911 monograph The Principles of Scientific Management (Online version). ... This article needs to be wikified. ... Taylorism or Scientific management is the name of the approach to management and Industrial/Organizational Psychology initiated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in his 1911 monograph The Principles of Scientific Management. ... Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 - March 21, 1915) was an American engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. ... Henry Laurence Gantt, A.B.; M.E. (1861-1919) was a mechanical engineer and management consultant who is most famous for developing the Gantt chart in the 1910s. ... Frank Bunker Gilbreth (July 7, 1868-June 14, 1924), born in Fairfield, Maine, was a proponent of Taylorism and a pioneer of time-motion studies. ... Book cover The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering is a book on software project management by Fred Brooks, whose central theme is that Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. ... Frederick Phillips Brooks, Jr. ...

References

External links

Man-years:

  • Man-year defined as 2000 hours: http://www.onr.navy.mil/02/matoc/05_09/solicitations/docs/05-0002-02.pdf (Solicitation Number 05-0002-02: Support Services for the Office of Naval Research for the Legislative Affairs Office (United States Navy Office of Naval Research: Arlington, Virginia, USA, 2004)
  • Man-year defined as 2087 man-hours: Report 5, International Federation Of Professional And Technical Engineers Local 32: San Diego, California, 2000(counting 311 "Non-available/Nonproductive" man-hours)

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A man-hour or person-hour[1], [2] is the amount of work performed by an average worker in one hour.
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