Ways to create your Project Manager Calendar

The use of calendars for project managers is mandatory, without a timeline or frame then the project will be at risk on not delivering on the sponsors, and stakeholder’s expectations. There are ways to make the whole planning for the next month, quarter and year easier. Composing a project management calendar from scratch can be time consuming, and deadlines can shift before completion. Also, once the calendar is put together, how is it aligned with other teams calendars?

Thankfully there is a way to avoid this frustration and easily share project calendars between teams. The following provides some ways to build a digital project management calendar which supports the planning efforts. It is then up to the project manager and team, via collaboration to decide which is the right for fit for the team.

1. Excel for Project Planning

Using Excel for calendar formatting is relatively easy, depending on overall Excel knowledge because of its native table view. As Excel has a prebuilt project calendar template, so time is saved when creating one from scratch and can easily jump into planning. The benefit here is, if an Excel spreadsheet is indeed used to plan a project calendar, then it is likely the team members already know how to open and edit this document.

The drawback when using Excel spreadsheets as the project management calendar, means everyone must view and edit separate files. If multiple people edit the calendar, they need to separately upload their latest version and eventually consolidate all these versions into one. Upkeep can be time-consuming and costly.

Although adding a finalized calendar or creating a work schedule in Excel is easy, collaborating around a shared project manager calendar can be a challenge. Task management within Excel can also be an issue, as the information in the spreadsheet can become outdated and security breaches can occur. As there is no way to know who has access to it and what changes have been made.

2. Google Calendar for Project Planning

Using an online calendar such as the one provided in Google can be a good solution for teams that want to collaborate on project planning in real time. There are many videos and articles online which can provide a guide on how to use Google Calendar for project management.

Google Calendar is very flexible; it allows the creation of multiple calendars which can be viewed simultaneously or one at a time. Google can organize project calendars in one of two ways:

  1. By Assignee: Create a separate calendar for each team member and put their task deadline on this personal calendar. Team managers can look at each member’s or multiple team members’ workloads to see which deadlines are approaching.
  2. By Project: Create a separate calendar for each major team project, and enter task due dates and project milestones. Compare project timelines to see if any work should be moved around to accommodate high-priority tasks or heavy workloads.

Although Google Calendar can be an efficient method for collaboratively planning projects, it’s mostly used to schedule meetings.

Collaboratively planning projects and connect launch dates to underlying work can be selected from a list of software tools found in Project Management Companion. The list of available software calendars provides another way to make a calendar for the team. Online Calendars provide a high-level view of scheduled tasks by day, week, month, and/or year. Scheduled tasks contain all related information, files, and conversations, so it’s easy to jump from the calendar right into work. Drag and drop the task on the calendar to change due dates, and all dependent tasks will follow suit.

Having a sharable task management calendar enables project plans to be viewed not only for the team, but for other teams as well. Whether it’s planning blog posts to correspond with a product launch or scheduling email campaigns around an upcoming customer event, Online Calendars makes it easy to align efforts and prevent deadlines from falling through the cracks.

Gantt charts provide a timeline view of all ongoing projects and deadlines. They show task duration’s, connect task dependencies, note task assignees, and compare progress to the projects critical path. It can also provide a view of several projects on the same Gantt chart to see which ones overlap.

Choosing the right project planning calendar

Whether Excel spreadsheets or Gantt charts is selected, there are many different ways to build a project calendar. Select a calendar which works well for you and the team. Collaborate with the team to decide which is the most efficient and effective method for overall needs.

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