How to Apply Resource Working Calendars to Task Assignments in Microsoft Project
If you’re managing a project using Microsoft Project, chances are you’ve encountered the need to assign specific working schedules to your team members. Applying resource working calendars to task assignments is a crucial step in ensuring that your project timeline is accurate and realistic. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to apply resource working calendars to task assignments in Microsoft Project.
Understanding Resource Working Calendars
Before we dive into the specifics of how to apply resource working calendars to task assignments, let’s take a moment to define what we mean by “resource working calendars.” Simply put, a resource working calendar defines when a particular resource is available to work on project tasks. You can think of it as a schedule that tells Microsoft Project which days and times a specific resource is able to work.
By default, each resource in Microsoft Project has a standard working calendar that assumes the resource works eight hours per day, five days per week. However, many projects require resources to work non-standard schedules, such as four 10-hour days per week or a rotating shift schedule. To accurately reflect these schedules in your project plan, you’ll need to create custom resource working calendars.
How to Create a Custom Resource Working Calendar
Creating a custom resource working calendar in Microsoft Project is relatively straightforward. Here’s how to do it:
- Click on the Resource tab in the Ribbon at the top of the screen.
- Click on the Change Working Time button in the Properties section of the Ribbon.
- In the Change Working Time dialog box, select the resource whose calendar you want to modify from the For calendar dropdown menu.
- Click on the Create New Calendar button.
- Give your new calendar a name that reflects its purpose (e.g., “Night Shift Schedule”).
- Use the Work Weeks tab to define the resource’s working schedule. You can specify which days of the week the resource works, as well as any non-working days or exceptions to the standard schedule.
- Use the Exceptions tab to define any exceptions to the resource’s standard working schedule. For example, you might create an exception for a holiday or vacation day.
Once you’ve created your custom resource working calendar, you can apply it to individual tasks in your project plan.
How to Assign a Resource Working Calendar to a Task
To assign a custom resource working calendar to a task in Microsoft Project, follow these steps:
- Select the task to which you want to assign a resource working calendar.
- In the Task Information dialog box, click on the Resources tab.
- Select the resource whose working calendar you want to apply from the list of resources assigned to the task.
- Click on the Calendar dropdown menu and select the appropriate resource working calendar from the list.
- Click OK to apply the resource working calendar to the selected task.
Tips for Working with Resource Working Calendars
Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with resource working calendars in Microsoft Project:
- Be sure to create a custom resource working calendar for each resource whose schedule differs from the default eight-hour-per-day, five-day-per-week schedule.
- When assigning resources to tasks, always be sure to select the correct resource working calendar from the Calendar dropdown menu.
- Keep in mind that applying a resource working calendar to a task will affect not only the duration of the task but also the assignment units (i.e., the percentage of time the resource is allocated to the task).
- If you need to modify a resource’s working calendar after it has been assigned to tasks, be sure to make the changes before you update your project plan.
Applying resource working calendars to task assignments is a critical step in accurately forecasting project timelines and ensuring that your team members are available when you need them. With Microsoft Project, creating custom resource working calendars and assigning them to tasks is easy and straightforward. By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to effectively managing your project resources and delivering your project on time and on budget.