5 Ways to Create Your Project Manager Calendar
To successfully manage multiple projects, you need to write an effective project plan. Project calendars are instrumental planning tools for ensuring that your project plans move according to your project plan.
Building a project management calendar may look simple but it can quickly get complicated and time-consuming. You may need to adjust the calendar multiple times to accommodate changes in deadlines and project scope before the completion of the project.
As a project manager, your work does not stop at building your project manager calendar. You also have to align your project plans with every member of your project teams’ calendars.
If you struggle to find a system for easily creating and sharing actionable project calendars across your project teams, you will find this article helpful.
What is a Project Calendar?
A project calendar is a productivity tool that helps users organize projects, specify the available working time, scheduling tasks, assign activities, and monitor available resources. You can use the project calendar for outlining project schedules, alternating works, and predetermining free days.
The purpose of the project calendar is to plan projects, manage task members, supervise and keep track of the project management life cycle.
This productivity tool assists team leaders and project managers in carrying out project tasks and gives them a general overview or visualization of different tasks. Team members have access to the project calendars to know what they are doing on a particular day and time, either in the present or future time.
You can create a project calendar by mapping out the project from the beginning to the end, assigning dates and times, assigning tasks to team members, and constantly updating the calendar to reflect current project changes and realities.
Benefits of Using a Project Calendar
A project calendar helps project managers visualize the passing of time and create effective project timelines. Compared to Gantt charts, project calendars are easier to build, use, and interpret. You need trained eyes to fully understand all the information contained in a Gantt chart at a glance.
Project calendars keep team members accountable as they clearly know what assigned tasks they are responsible for. Project managers can easily identify team members responsible for a task. Team members are coordinated and more focused on carrying out their tasks.
Project calendars communicate the tasks of the project team members to be completed, resources to be used, and the timeframe required to complete the tasks.
2. Tracking of Progress
Project calendars monitor the progress of projects. Creating task schedules allows constant monitoring and reviewing of projects. This alerts the project manager of possible delays giving way to finding possible solutions on time.
The project calendar outlines how a project is to be managed from the beginning to the end to avoid failure.
3. Resource Management
Resource management is the act of planning, monitoring, and assessing work processes and the use of resources to ensure the proper usage and maximizing of resources. This reduces wastage of resources and added cost for replacement.
Proper scheduling on a project calendar gives the project manager maximum control over the project. The project manager holds the ability to manage risks and speeds up work processes.
How to Make a Project Calendar for Project Management
1. Project Planning with Excel
Project Managers make use of Microsoft Excel for planning, visualizing, tracking, and managing their projects. Microsoft Excel is a common spreadsheet software program used in many organizations for managing business and data reporting.
This spreadsheet software has analytical tools for making data analysis, data sorting, and data collection. Graphs and visual timelines are created to visualize project status.
You can use Microsoft Excel to create a timeline chart to outline project schedules and time frames. This tool works perfectly for various project sizes ranging from small to medium-sized projects for creating budgets and tracking all expenses and means of income.
One advantage of Excel is for reviewing projects after every phase for evaluation purposes. Excel spreadsheets make it easier to track progress and summarize necessary data through details of financial, managerial, and other details.
The software program can create a Gantt chart. The Gantt chart is a tool for general project management, showing a project from the beginning to the end.
2. Project Planning with Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a productivity tool used by project managers to create schedules, manage project schedules and set appointments. Many project managers prefer the Google Calendar over Microsoft Excel because it is easier to understand and update data, schedules, and deadlines.
This productivity tool allows sharing of your project calendar with clients and team members while preventing unauthorized access to avoid an information leak.
In case you need many calendars during a project, you can create and use multiple calendars. You can use multiple calendars to manage different teams.
Google Calendar allows you to export and print calendar data in the form of PDFs. Events are created and remainders are set using the Google Calendar. Google Calendar offers integration with other popular software tools you use including G-Suite tools.
3. Project Planning with Online Project Management Tools
You can use online project management tools to plan your projects and create your project manager calendar. With so many project management software tools in the market, you can easily get overwhelmed with the abundance of available options.
When searching for an online project management tool to use, ensure it has the core project management features you need such as project planning.
Monday.com is a project planning software tool for creating workflows to assist teams in managing their projects.
- Powerful Gantt Charts: This project planning software tool offers powerful Gantt chart software which you can use to plan and schedule your projects from project initiation to project closure.
- Event Calendar: Monday.com provides an option for scheduling events for better organization and reduced errors.
- Custom Automation: Customizable automation processes that help to eliminate repetitive tasks and manual handling.
- Budget Management: With the use of two numbers columns, budgets, general expenses, and income tracking has been made easier.
- Collaboration Tools: Monday.com improves collaboration between team members while planning and executing projects.
- Data Reporting: Data can be updated automatically and reports created through the live dashboards available.
- Visual Dashboard: Monday.com offers you a visual and customizable dashboard that you can use to plan every aspect of your project and keep every member of your project team on the same page.
- Time management
- Full integration
- Easy communication
- 24/7 accessibility
ClickUp is one of the best project tracking software for managing time, tasks, and projects.
- Project Management: ClickUp helps analyze and plan projects, assign tasks, and schedule plans.
- Calendar Management: You can integrate Google calendar and other calendar software tools with ClickUp to schedule and organize tasks.
- Workflow Management: This software tool offers project calendars and other templates for building and automating workflow for tasks and projects.
- Real-time Reporting: ClickUp reports actions taken, completed tasks, ongoing tasks, time estimates, and project progress in real-time.
- Little or no errors
- Remote task tracking
- 24/7 real-time customer support
- Multiple customizable project visualization options
Wrike is an easy-to-use project management software for small businesses that helps you plan, streamline, and manage projects.
- Time Tracking: Wrike equips you with a reliable time tracking feature for tracking time, tasks, deadlines using a calendar. A snapshot of the calendar can be shared within and outside the organization through the use of a license.
- Shareable Kanban Boards: You can create online Kanban boards with Wrike to help improve your productivity. Wrike’s online Kanban boards help you visualize all your project tasks across the organization.
- Advanced Reporting Features: Wrike provides you with real-time updates on your projects. You get advanced project reports which help you better manage your resources. Wrike’s reports are highly visual and easily understandable by key project executives, project stakeholders, and clients.
- Two-factor authentication
- Privacy and safekeeping of information
- More than 400 third-party integrations
- Available in 9 languages
Best Practices for Making a Project Management Calendar
Every project team has a unique way of formatting their project calendars. One of the advantages of using project calendars is how customizable it is. When making a project management calendar, there are certain rules you have to follow to avoid creating an inefficient calendar.
1. Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is an important document for breaking down projects and assigning tasks to make the project easier to complete. The WBS document shows in detail the delivery and completion of project goals.
The benefits of using the WBS are to ensure clarity of roles and responsibilities, progress tracking, and completing tasks on time.
2. Color Coding
Color codes make it easier to understand project calendars. Use colors to distinguish information and provide more details. This improves efficiency and effectiveness.
3. Consider Workloads
A project calendar gives a transparent overview of individual workloads. This gives room for the project manager to see work allocated to team members and make adjustments.
Workloads can be represented using color codes or by writing them out. Team members must be allocated tasks equally without drowning anyone in too much work. Proper allocation of tasks improves the quality of work and boosts productivity.
4. Creating Contingencies
Setting priorities for tasks is important because it allows you to focus and give attention to urgent tasks. Tasks are planned and assigned based on how important they are. In unpredictable cases, project managers must be capable of creating contingencies to maneuver to avoid losing important works.