Calculating FTE Hours


Full-time equivalent (FTE) is a way to measure a worker’s involvement in a project. An FTE of 1.0 means that the person is equivalent to a full-time worker. Although the accepted HR  term for the “E” in FTE is “equivalent”, in colloquial usage or in project management terminology it is referred as full-time employee! FTE hours, can be used to measure whether an employee or resource is full-time, or how many students at an educational institution are full-time.

To better understand this:

  • Start with 40 hours a week

Use 40 hours a week as your default for full-time employment when calculating FTE hours for a project. Some projects may measure full-time status differently, such as 35 or 37.5 hours a week instead of 40, so be sure to adjust according to your project’s requirements.

  •   Figure out the number of hours in a pay period

Figure out the number of hours in a pay period by multiplying the length of the pay period by 40 hours a week. For example, if your pay period is 2 weeks, your total number of hours in a pay period would be 80.

  • Divide hours worked by hours in a pay period

Divide the number of hours your employee worked in a pay period by the total number of hours in that pay period. The total equals your FTE hours. If an employee worked 40 hours out of 80 hours in a pay period, your total would be 0.5 FTE. It’s that simple!

Shyam Verma, PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio Mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter: Shammy11
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Basecamp for your poject


In one of my previous blogs I listed some really fine and affordable tools for managing your projects. Here I am including something that I must have included but missed out. Anyhow, I am sure you would like to know more about it once you go through below article.I like Basecamp for 2 reasons. It’s not only a great example of making a complex process simple through good web application design, plus it’s a very useful service.

In my last post on project management I mentioned how you can use blogs as a great project documentation, organization and collaboration tool. Today I am going to talk about a web service that has been built just for project management by the guys at 37signals called Basecamp.

Features
As you would expect from a tool built to aid project managements, there are features for discussion, collaborative documents, project tasks and scheduling, plus you can create users with appropriate permissions.

Pricing
There are various pricing levels, starting with a limited version at $0 (my favorite price!). You can do a lot with the free service, in fact you might not need more in a small one-off project. The main limitation is you only get two Writeboard documents, which isn’t too much of a restriction really. Depending on how many simultaneous projects you have on the go you could get away with the next level up which is only $12 a month and is well worth it considering what you get for the money. You can stop paying at any time, there are no minimum contracts.

RSS Subscriptions
An especially nice feature is your team members can subscribe to various feeds to keep up to date, plus there is a shared calendar that works very well with iCal. A huge part of project organization is getting everyone clued up on the latest changes and milestones so this works very well.

Messaging
There is basic messaging built in to the system. If keeping track of who said what becomes a burden, one additional service that I have heard good things about but have yet to try is HighRise. It’s a CRM and message tracking service from the same people that integrates with Basecamp projects.

One Problem
You might tell already I am a big fan of Basecamp. It just works and you don’t have to spend ages explaining to people how to get around and do what they need to do. That said, now I have used it for a while, there is one big limitation, and that is with the project milestones feature.

When I first checked out Basecamp I was expecting to be able to do away with Microsoft Project. Unfortunately if you want to do a good job of a decent sized project, I think Basecamp is a great addition to but not replacement for the Microsoft product.

For example, critical to good project planning is being able to take account of what order tasks have to happen in. Dependencies can have a massive impact on both timing and outcome. The ability to run tasks in parallel shortens project length while knowing this can’t be done until that is completed is vital. With only milestones and to-do lists you could be missing a key piece of information so the project chart is only useful for sharing what you have already worked out in Project or on paper if you are really old-school.

You can find this and many more informative articles on cogniview.com

Tame your Inbox!


How much project time do you spend going through your emails box and reading or replying to the messages that don’t really deserve your attention. You can reduce this waste without missing that important message that your customer wants you to act on today! It’s the simple art of doing, deleting, deferring or delegating.

Once you set up your mail system, you are ready to begin managing incoming e-mail. By making your Inbox the central place for receiving important e-mail, you can go through it with the confidence that each item is something you need to deal with. For every message in your Inbox:

  • If it isn’t important, delete it immediately.
  • If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it (reply, file, call, etc.).
  • If it isn’t for you or if you can, delegate (forward) it.
  • If you need to do it, but it takes longer than two minutes (including reading),defer (hold off on) it.
  • If you need it as reference (even if you have decided to defer it), move it into your reference folder. The goal is to reduce the number of times you touch each e-mail message.

Delete it

Delete messages that you don’t need to read. If it is junk, delete it.

Do it: In 2-minute or less

It is amazing what can be done in two minutes. But if a message takes longer than two minutes to deal with, defer it. To get a sense of what two minutes feels like, try timing yourself. Once you have dealt with the message, do one of the following:

  • Delete it if it is something of little consequence.
  • File it in one of your reference folders (for example, 1-Reference).

Delegate it

Sometimes you receive a message that is really meant for someone else to deal with. In these cases, reply and include the person to whom you are delegating the message on the To line. If you want to follow up later, flag it for yourself before sending. In your To-Do Bar, mark the task with the “@Waiting” category.

Defer it

Deferring a message means that you will come back to it later, when you have time. Reasons to defer a message:

  • It cannot be dealt with in less than two minutes.
  • It will take a while to read.
  • It will require a carefully crafted response.
  • It requires additional action in another program (for example, “Need to add to document”).

Read the full article by Melissa MacBeth here: http://tinyurl.com/26v5e7b

Shyam Verma,
PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter: Shammy11

10 signs it is time to look out!


When is the right time to quit? When is too soon, or too late? I stumbled upon this interesting article on Career Joy and thought you may find it helpful! Knowing when to leave a role is one of the most important decisions that you will need to make in managing a successful career.

The Quitting Test.

  • 1. You are being asked to do something illegal or unethical.
  • 2. You get lousy or no raises (or your pay cheque bounces)
  • 3. You feel tired by 10 a.m.
  • 4. You call in sick when you aren’t sick.
  • 5. You hate your boss (or your boss hates you)
  • 6. You aren’t promoted because your company “needs you where you are”
  • 7. Your job turned out to be not what was promised
  • 8. You know you are doing a great job but don’t care.
  • 9. You gain, or lose, a substantial amount of weight.
  • 10. You have no friends outside of work.

How many of the above did you answer “yes” to?

< 4 You may need more time to discover if things can be changed for the better.
4 to 7 Get together your game plan to move forward.
>7 Start packing your career bags…you have permission to leave                                  (Source: http://www.careerjoy.com)

Shyam Verma, PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter: Shammy11

eCommerce – What you need to know


So you’ve decided to open an online store. Maybe this is in addition to a store you already have in a shopping mall, or maybe your foray into ecommerce is a totally new step for you. Have you figured what do you need to do before you open your eStore, apart from the basic initial steps of forming a company, registering to collect sales tax, deciding what your product(s) or service(s) will be, and identifying our target customer (there are a few products, but only a few, that sell to “everybody,” and even toilet paper appeals to different segments of the market according to whether it’s marketed as “budget-priced” or “soft and luxurious”).

You would be amazed at how small and medium segment of industry has adopted the eCommerce Bandwagon. The internet as enabler has in many cases put a small supplier on the same platform where he competes with big brothers effectively! If you check out sellers details on eBay India you would sure notice the chunk of sellers coming from smaller towns who source these goods directly from the people who make in their backyard. Many of them are not only surviving bigger online sellers but in many cases thriving because of focusing on  a small range of products competing largely on uniqueness and creativity. Categories that are most intensive range from mobile phones, gadgets, fashion and accessories, souvenirs, homeware, health and wellness, appliances products.

1 – You need to decide on a privacy policy, word it reassuringly, and publish it on your site. Your customers want to know what you will do with their names, addresses, credit card/debit card information, and any other info you collect about them.

2 – Ensure that your online transactions are secure, both for your customers’ sakes and for your own. You’ll want SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption for your customers’ data, especially their credit card/debit card information.

3 – You’ll need a shopping cart that’s user-friendly yet sophisticated enough to offer you as many options as you need for better selling. The dropped carts is currently one of the biggest issues plaguing the eCommerce portal.

4 – You’ll need a way to accept payments online. You must carefully think about this based on your customer profile. You may opt to simply accept PayPal and nothing else, or you may want a merchant account so you can accept credit and debit cards.

5 – You need to set up order fulfillment. Depending on whether you are manufacturing the products you sell or having them drop-shipped or stocking in a warehouse merchandise you buy from outside vendors, your order fulfillment could be as simple as “pick – pack – ship” or as complex as notifying 20 different vendors, at the end of every day, of the merchandise they need to ship on your behalf and the customer names and addresses they are shipping to, as well as transmitting payment for same.

6 – You’ll need to advertise in some manner. “Advertising” can mean traditional print or broadcast media ads, email blasts, Google AdWord ads, flyers sent through the postal mail, or internet articles or blogs that direct the reader to your site, among other methods.

7 – Along with advertising to bring new customers in, you’ll need a means of getting customers to return, such as coupons that offer such incentives as “10% off on your next order.

8 – You’ll need to make changes on your site from time to time – featuring different products, having sales on differing products, promoting new products, and such.

9 – Offer good customer service to keep your customers on consistent basis. Make sure your customers’ information is well guarded. Send out shipments promptly. Replace or refund for any defective merchandise. Maintain a good reputation. Even if the customer isn’t “always right” as the old maxim had it, bend over backward to give all customers a good experience.

10. Be sure that you choose the right product to sell online where you have some sort of edge in terms of price, design or quality. Never compromise on quality and delivery timelines even if that means to go with more expensive delivery partner. Secondly if your product has a limited self life do care about the packaging that is durable for the transit.

You’re almost ready to open up for business now. Here’s to your success!

Shyam Verma, PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter: Shammy11

Banking on eCommerce


After years of denial and doubt about power of web in servicing potentially profitable customers, the retail industry has come to embrace web as a main stream channel. The shift hasn’t been easy though especially with firms having decades of brick and mortar experience suddenly grappling with this new beast that needed to be tamed! And yes, the sector has done well to reach out in time to understand what customers are looking on the web and unique buying patterns which are different from the store experience and buying pattern.

Of course, the acceptance of shopping mart on the web has not been equally fast in different continent especially with concerns and fear of credit card misuse being rampant in some places than others. Still US and Europe has steadily addressed these perceived issues fairly to a good extent and consumers are more comfortable buying online in these continents than they have every been which is a good sign for things to come for retailers. In fact, some of the leading brands from US e.g. eBay, Amazon, Dell, Office Depot and Best Buy have led dramatically by growing in double digits over the last few years.

Web is an unlimited growth opportunity for any enterprises & presents many possibilities both business to business (B2B) and Business to Consumer CB2C).  It has got much needed push from new media is an open area for communication and the exchanging of experiences and wide range of opportunities across the globe. If you are an organisation with products and services with global appeal you will need to think seriously to tap this new opportunity.

Shyam Verma, PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter: Shammy11

5 traits of an effective Team Leaders


 Leading a team brings with it a number of challenges and can make you feel like no matter what you do, someone will always be unhappy. So you may wonder if you are doing the right things to succeed as a team leader? Here are 5 common things, as per my experience and observation that can be a great help.

1: Be an effective listener: One of the most important and yet most challenging things for all of us including the team leaders is effectively listening to others. It can be very tempting to try making things happen unilaterally hoping for quick results. This may help in the short term but it is highly unlikely to work in the long term. Make it a priority to listen actively and effectively during your interaction with your team and stakeholders. Also it might give you more than enough inputs to resolve open issues.

2: Treat one & all fairly: It’s possible you connect more with some people than others, also it’s possible that some people in your team do better work than others do. However you must realize that when it comes to treatment, you must set a benchmark in treating one & all fairly based on their contribution. Never have any personal biases for or against despite your own preferences. This would not only earn you respect from all but set the team up as a cohesive unit which is the real strength needed for successful project.

3: Translate vision in to roadmap:It is expected of you to provide clear and unambiguous directions to your team in your day today life. The team comes to expect timely and effective communication on what is being required by them on their duties and tasks. Hence it is of critical importance that you lead from the front and be on top of all issues and affair on which your team might need our guidance, advice or mentoring. A leader who is able to translate his vision in crystal clear roadmap is not only revered by the team but also trusted by the customer.

4: Decision making: It’s not possible that you would always make the best decisions. It is also not possible that you would be appreciated for all your decisions. However, it is your ability to take decision that separates you from your team. It is what provides you authority to carry out your plans & in turn motivates your team. If you are perceived to be depending on others for making critical decisions, chances are you would come out as a weak leader and lead to erosion credibility.

5: A genuine interest in others: At the end of the day, remember things get done by people working for you. Mutual trust and camaraderie among teams gets a boost when you are genuinely interested in them. As a leader, if you take interest in your people and their interests, it opens them more to you, allowing you to influence them more positively than if you treated them like a resource.  

Pl do not this list is by no means the complete, you sure need to add on to this as per your own learning

Shyam Verma, PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter:Shammy11