Tailoring Project Schedules to Global Holidays and Resource Availability in Microsoft Project

When it comes to setting up schedules for your projects, it’s essential to consider not only how you want the tasks to behave but also the context in which you’re working. One crucial factor to keep in mind is the presence of holidays. Different countries have varying numbers of holidays throughout the year. For example, in Panama, there are 32 holidays annually, while in some countries, the number is limited to seven, eight, or nine.

If your project involves resources from different countries, it becomes even more crucial to factor in their respective holidays. Fortunately, Microsoft Project provides options to accommodate these variations. Within the project tab, you can find settings that allow you to set up the project information according to your specific needs.

Project Tab in Ms Project
Project Tab in Ms Project

For instance, if you want to build a schedule outside of the standard calendar, MS Project allows you to create custom calendars. To do this :

  • In the “Properties” group, click on the “Change Working Time” button. This will open the “Change Working Time” dialog box.
  • In the “Change Working Time” dialog box, you will see a list of existing calendars. By default, the “Standard” calendar is selected.
  • To create a new custom calendar, click on the “Create New Calendar” button. This will open the “Create New Base Calendar” dialog box.
  • In the “Create New Base Calendar” dialog box, enter a name for your custom calendar in the “Name” field. For example, you can name it “Custom Calendar” or any other relevant name
  • Choose the base calendar that closely matches the working pattern you want for your custom calendar. You can select from options like “Standard,” “Night Shift,” or “24 Hours.”
  • Click on the “Create” button to create the new custom calendar.
  • Now, you can customize the working time of your custom calendar. In the “Change Working Time” dialog box, select the dates you want to modify by clicking on them in the calendar view.
  • Once you select a date, you can specify working hours or non-working time by entering the start and end times in the “From” and “To” fields. You can also mark specific days as non-working by checking the “Non-working time” checkbox.
  • Repeat the process for all the dates you want to customize in your calendar.
  • After customizing the working time, click on the “OK” button to save your changes and close the dialog box.
  • Now that your custom calendar is created, you can assign it to the entire project or specific resources by selecting the respective option in the “Change Working Time” dialog box.
Change working time in Project Tab selected
Change working time in Project Tab selected

This feature enables you to define workweeks, include specific holidays, and tailor the calendar to meet your project requirements. Whether you have a seven-day workweek or need to incorporate holidays from various countries like the United States, Canada, or Denmark, the flexibility to build custom calendars ensures accurate scheduling.

You can assign these custom calendars to the entire project file or to individual resources. By assigning a departmental calendar to resources, you can ensure that work is not scheduled on days that are designated as holidays. This helps prevent any conflicts that may arise when people anticipate working with their resources, only to find out that it’s a company holiday.

To assign a custom calendar to individual resources, the process is fairly straightforward. Begin by navigating to the Resource Sheet in Microsoft Project. Within this sheet, there is a column labeled “Base Calendars.” Here, you can select the custom calendar you wish to assign to a particular resource.

Assigning custom calendar to individual resource in Ms Project
Assigning custom calendar to individual resource in Ms Project

This process allows for tailored scheduling based on the specific needs and availability of each resource, contributing to a more efficient and effective project timeline.

This article contains highlights from Tim Runcie’s webinar – Best Practices for Managing Resources and Workload with Microsoft Project Desktop – being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations, or there may be additions to expand on concepts. You may watch the on-demand recording of this webinar at your convenience.

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Tim Runcie, PMP, MCP, MCTS, P-TSP, MVP is one of 6 Microsoft Project MVP’s in North America and has held that title for 17 years in a row.  A seasoned veteran of complex programs, and portfolio management systems, Tim works with companies like Microsoft on next generations of Project, Program, and portfolio technologies.  Tim is an accomplished speaker, consultant, and educator, supporting the project management community for over 25 years. As the President and founder of Advisicon, Tim has written over 38 books on PM methodologies and technologies. Advisicon has recently added a non-profit division focused on helping faith-based and 501-C3 organizations with implementing and training on available business solutions and providing business coaching or process automation with the mission of “Serving those who Serve.” Free resources are available at www.YouTube.com/Advisicon or on Tim’s LMS, www.Advisicon.thinkific.com
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