How To Create a Project Management Calendar in 5 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Thorough planning is often one of the main aspects of a well-functioning team. Knowing the specific tasks you're responsible for and when to complete them can help you do your job well. Having the right tools, such as a project management calendar, can also make project management more efficient and ensure that you're able to meet important deadlines. In this article, we describe what a project management calendar is, what benefits it can provide and how to create one, plus some tips to help you along the way.

What is a project management calendar?

A project management calendar is a tool you can use to stay organized, plan tasks, set deadlines and allocate workloads for a different projects. It has many more capabilities than a traditional desk calendar. An effective project management calendar can help you and your team keep track of your progress and all the smaller tasks required to complete your goals on time. A project management calendar consists of:

  • A base calendar: This is a calendar template you can use as the basis for your project calendar and the other three calendar components on this list. The base calendar outlines the typical working hours and days you have to complete projects and also includes any holidays or days off that could impact deadlines.

  • A project calendar: This calendar that shows the dates, times and shifts you allocate to a specific project, such as the working days and non-working days for each member of the team.

  • A resource calendar: This component of your project planning shows the days and times that a particular resource—such as a team member or piece of equipment—may be required for certain tasks. It also details the resource's availability.

  • A task calendar: You can use this calendar to design timelines for specific tasks and assign the resources necessary to complete them. These tasks usually aren't included as part of the general project calendar. Updating software required for the project, for instance, might be a task you include on this type of calendar.

Related: Project Manager Skills: Definition and Examples

What are the benefits of creating a project management calendar?

Here are some of the main benefits of creating and maintaining a project management calendar:

Scheduling and allocating tasks

Whether you're working alone or in a team, a thorough calendar can allow you to set tasks for yourself or other team members. You can prioritize these tasks according to specific due dates. This can help you to work on tasks depending on their urgency and level of importance.

Managing resources and workload

When you're working on a team, it's important to track a project's progress as you collaborate. Utilizing a project management calendar allows you to set deadlines according to team members' availability, especially when you may be working on more than one project at a time. Organizing workloads efficiently allows team members to see which tasks are upcoming so that they can prepare accordingly.

Meeting deadlines

Time management is helpful in any job, and deadlines ensure that projects stay on schedule. Having a calendar allows you to set milestones and carefully plan how long each task may take. The project management calendar may also help the project manager to recognize any delays that might impact the final deadline, offering them the chance to put a plan in place to deliver on time or to negotiate a new deadline.

Related: Project Management Schedule: Definition and Examples

How to create a project management calendar

Here's a step-by-step guide for creating a project management calendar:

1. Pick a suitable tool

When choosing a project management tool for your team, it's helpful to consider your specific needs. Investing time in research can help you find a suitable tool. Consider whether you require a tool that simply manages workflow and monitors timelines or if you might need more complex functions.

2. Divide the project into deliverable tasks

Consider the full project and your team's final goal. Then split the project into smaller achievable tasks and milestones to complete all the final project requirements. This can help you to better visualize all of the steps and estimate the time and resources necessary to reach your goal.

3. Estimate resources

Estimate how much time or money may be required to complete each major task. Prioritize your time and efforts towards the most important goals. Consider allowing some extra resources as a safety measure, as this pre-planned flexibility may help if unexpected costs or challenges occur.

Related: How To Prioritize Tasks in the Workplace

4. Assign responsibilities

When allocating specific tasks or resources to team members, consider their working hours before assigning each task and deadline. It's a good idea to account for annual leave and for any other non-working days. Some project management tools automatically notify team members when you've assigned them a new task, which can save time and effort by streamlining communication.

5. Think ahead

Changes can occur in any work environment. Consider looking at your projects from a long-term perspective and see if you can proactively recognize any problems before they occur. A project management calendar with the ability to automatically shift dates can be helpful if your team encounters a challenge, as this saves you time and energy when addressing any project aspects that need modifications.

Related: Guide to Project Management Framework

Tips for managing a project management calendar

Here are some brief tips to help you improve your project management calendar:

  • Consider using a centralized platform that integrates all aspects of project management.

  • Update your calendar frequently with any necessary changes.

  • Aim to establish reasonable deadlines.

  • Consider color coding tasks on your calendar to reflect their type, level of progress or priority.

  • Reserve extra time near deadlines to complete any unfinished work.

  • Use reminders to notify your team of meetings, deadlines or tasks.

  • Be mindful of time zones when working with remote team members in different geographic locations.

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