ResourceFirst 8.5 Knowledge Base

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Should I Track and Plan Effort in FTEs or Hours?

Arguments for FTE

  • I know I need Steve on my project full-time for the next 6 months. I have no idea how many hours that is!

Arguments for Hours

  • This task definitely takes 7 hours. If I ask for .041666 FTE, no one will know what I am talking about!


An overarching principle is that each role (e.g, project manager, team member, resource manager, planner, etc.) operates best in the format they’re most comfortable with. For this reason, our general recommendation is as follows:

Use FTEs for Forecast

  • This is often entered at a higher level (monthly) for extended periods on the planning horizon.
  • Planning in FTEs is simple and easily readable.

Use Hours for Actuals

  • This is often tracked weekly by a team member who is counting the hours.
  • Team members tend to think or hours in terms of completed work.

Note: Project managers entering task-level assignments tend to think in terms of percentages (e.g., I need 100% of Bob and 50% of Lori). This is why task assignments in ResourceFirst are entered in percentages. The system internally converts that to FTEs or Hours (depending on configuration) when comparing it to the effort forecast for the Resource Histogram. Likewise, when comparing Forecast and Actuals on dashboards and reports, the system will convert internally as needed so you’re comparing “apples-to-apples.”

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