Microsoft Project and Calendars
Project calendars allow for the organization of tasks and resources within a project timeline. MS Project uses the Standard default calendar to plan tasks between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. with one-hour lunch breaks, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week and 20 days a month. However, a different calendar must be created if a project requires different working or nonworking days and times.
It is very important the project manager keep MS Project Calendars up to date in order to calculate a realistic critical path. Due dates, gantt chart view, calendar views, and more can be skewed if the project planning calendar is not up-to-date.
As with any project management tool, the project management calendar is critical to understanding when project work may or may not occur. Team Members need to understand the project calendar, and resource managers need to be updated to resource calendar exceptions.
Important: It is the function of calendars to control when tasks and resources are scheduled for work in Microsoft Project!
Adjust a resource working time
Project uses resource calendars to determine when work for a specific resource may be scheduled. Resource calendars only apply to Work resources (people and equipment).
When we create resources in our schedule, MS Project creates a resources calendar for each resource. The working-time and holidays will match those specified in the project calendar, which by default is the Standard base calendar.
The Standard base calendar is built into Project and specifies a default work day schedule of 8:00 am – 5:00 pm., Monday through Friday with one hour off for lunch. If you have resources that will not be working this schedule additional calendars will need to be created and resource calendars edited.
In the case of a part-time resources, in some cases it may be easier to simply adjust the Max Units field rather than edit the resources calendar. Example, if you have a resource that works 20 hrs per week rather than the 40 hrs off the Standard calendar, adjusting the Max Units field to 50% will specify that resource has 4 hrs per day, 20 hrs per week available for project week. If, however, you have several resources you need to make this change for, it may be easier to make a new base calendar to assign to these part-time resources.
Assigning a Task Calendar
A Task Calendar may be used for instance when a system is being deployed over a weekend. The Task Calendar will allow the work of the task to be scheduled per the working time in that calendar. You may also specify to ignore resource calendars, which would have the Task Calendar drive the scheduling for the Task.
Select the Project Calendar
- On the Project ribbon, in the Properties group, click the Project Information button.
- In the Project Information dialog box, click the arrow in the Calendar box, then click the name of the calendar you want to use.
- Click OK to close the Project Information dialog box.
Add Nonworking time to the Standard Calendar
- From the Project ribbon click on Change Working Time
- Make sure the Standard calendar is selected in the For calendar pick list.
- In the calendar grid, navigate to and select the date of a company holiday.
- In the With the Exceptions tab selected, enter the Name of the holiday, then select the Start and Finish dates for the holiday.
While the holiday you just entered is selected, click the Details button. You should now see the Details for dialog.
- The Details for dialog box provides options for recurring holidays. Be careful to only use in situations where holidays occur on precisely the same days each and every year. Click the OK button.
Setting your Workday Schedule
Microsoft Project calendars provide a default workday schedule of 8:00 am – 5:00 pm with one hour for lunch. This works out to an 8hr workday. If your organization utilizes a different schedule the calendar will need to be adjusted to reflect this.
- From the Project ribbon click the Change Working Time button.
- Select the appropriate calendar from the For calendar selection.
- Select the Work Weeks tab.
- With [Default] selected in the Work Weeks tab, click the Details button on the right side of the dialog
- In the Select Day(s) section of the Details for ‘[Default]’, select the work days for which we are modifying the working time for (typically Monday through Friday).
- Select the Set day(s) to these specific working times: radio button. By default Microsoft Project will prefill default working times. Overwrite the working times with those of your organization. Click the OK button when finished.
- Click the OK button to close the Change Working Time dialog
- The Change Working Time dialog should now reflect your updated working schedule as shown in the figure below
Create a new calendar
- From the Project ribbon, click the Change Working Time button
- Click the Create New Calendar button
- Specify a new name for your calendar in the Name field.
- The next selection allows you to either copy an existing calendar or create a new blank calendar. It is typically easier to start from an existing calendar that already has an organizations holidays specified. Depending on the need make the appropriate selection, then click the OK button.
- Make the necessary changes to your new calendar, such as revised working days and times.
- Click the OK button in the Change Working Time dialog when finished.