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A Project Management Calendar (also known as a Project Calendar) is a visual document which indicates the days and hours on which the project team is scheduled to work.
It is created and maintained by the Project Manager and shared between all the members of the project team.
What is the purpose of a Project Management Calendar?
The Project Management Calendar is an organizational tool. As well as indicating when project work is scheduled to take place, the calendar shows the hours and days in which no work will be undertaken on the project.
For projects that aren’t on a tight schedule, non-working days can include days which are deliberately left open. These spare days can be filled with alternative work and activities. They can also be kept in reserve, ready to transform into work days should the project encounter an unexpected delay or increase in workload.
In a tightly scheduled project, non-working days will be limited to national holidays and unavoidable must-attend activities. For example, the annual general meeting of the company which the entire project team are required to attend.
The calendar helps the Project Manager and members of the project team to identify working days and specific shifts that are available for scheduled activities. It can also be consulted by the Project Manager to find a project team member's availability for scheduled tasks.
Additionally, the calendar can be used to record in advance scheduled actions that could impact the project or the project team’s working environment. This can help team members plan their work most effectively.
For example, a project team member may look at the calendar and see that roadwork is scheduled to occur outside their office during a particular week. Learning of this potentially noisy distraction in advance gives the project team member time to plan and implement a solution, such as arranging with the Project Manager to work remotely while construction is taking place.
For creative agencies running complicated projects with geographically dispersed teams, a Project Management Calendar provides a single reference point for project team members who wish to check workdays and plan their time accordingly.
What is the difference between a Project Management Calendar and a Project Schedule?
While the Project Management Calendar essentially shows when work on the project is scheduled to occur, the Project Schedule is a more detailed and complex document that shows all the tasks that must be completed for the project to be finished along with their planned start dates, durations, milestones, and resources.
Unlike the Project Management Calendar, the Project Schedule shows task dependencies (the need to finish a certain task before another can be started).
Is a Project Management Calendar the same as a Resource Calendar?
No. A Resource Calendar is an organizational tool which shows the working and nonworking days, dates, and times of resources required by the project. Resources can include people (human resources), materials and equipment.
It provides valuable information to project managers on how resources are being used, which resources are available, and when.
The resource calendar is used alongside the project management calendar as an organizational tool. Both calendars are continually updated during the planning and execution phases of the project to reflect changes in the project environment and project team availability.
Are there any advantages to using an online Project Management Calendar?
A Project Management Calendar is a living document that must be updated regularly while the project is being planned and executed.
Using project management software to create an online Project Management Calendar ensures that the most up-to-date version of the document can be easily accessed in real-time by all members of the project team, including those working remotely or in a different country. This can make collaboration between different team members and project teams easier.
Additionally, the project management software used to create online Project Management Calendars often comes with optional perks such as the ability to automate updates, assign tasks, and create alerts.
A fully offline Project Management Calendar can be created quickly and easily in Excel using a template but will not provide the same functionality. Nor can it be viewed by all members of the project in real time.