Before you begin scheduling tasks in Microsoft Project 2013, it is important to create a calendar that represents the default working days for project tasks. The default project calendar is used by Microsoft Project 2013 to set the working days and times for project tasks. Microsoft Project is set to a default 8-hour per day, 5-day work week. You can change this default calendar to one that’s more suitable for the type of work being performed, such as a 10-hour per day, 4-day work week calendar.
This article describes the process of creating a default 10-hour per day, 4-day work week with holidays for your tasks in an Microsoft Project 2013 project.
Create a New Calendar
The first step in the process is to create a new calendar for your 4-day work week. This is done by selecting the project tab at the top of the screen, and then clicking on the Change Working Time icon, Figure 1.
This brings up the Change Working Time dialog box. Select the Create New Calendar button, Figure 2.
When the Create New Base Calendar dialog box appears, Figure 3, type the name (e.g. “4×10 Work Week”) in the Name box. Set the toggle to Make a copy of, and set the drop down menu to Standard calendar. Click OK. This then makes a copy of the Standard calendar under the calendar name “4×10 Work Week”.
Now back to the Change Working Time dialog, the For calendar menu selection is set to “4×10 Work Week”, Figure 4.
In the below Exceptions tab type in the holiday Thanksgiving with the appropriate Start and Finish dates, Figure 5. You now have a work day exception for the Thanksgiving holiday. You can add additional exceptions for other holidays.
4×10 Work Week
Next, select the Work Weeks tab in the Change Working Time dialog, Figure 6. Note that the first row is set to “[Default]”. This means that the default working days and time will be used, if an alternative work week is not scheduled. Select the Details button on the right side of the dialog. This brings up the Details for ‘[Default]’ dialog box, which is where we shall set the 4-day work week as the default calendar.
With the control key held down select all the non-working days: Sunday, Friday, and Saturday. Then select the toggle Set days to nonworking time, Figure 7.
All your nonworking days are now set. Next, again with the control key held down, select all the working days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Toggle the Set day(s) to these specific working times on. In the below time cells, set the morning shift from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm, and the afternoon shift from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Figure 8. Click OK and you now have ten hour workdays set up for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As mentioned Sunday, Friday, and Saturday are set to be nonworking days. Click OK again to exit the Change Working Time dialog box.
Assign New Calendar
Good, you have your 4×10 work week calendar defined. You now have to let Microsoft Project 2013 know that the 4×10 schedule is the one to use for defining tasks. So click Project from the upper tab menu, and then select Project Information, Figure 9.
This brings up the Project Information for ‘Project Name’ dialog box. In the Calendar drop down menu select 4×10 Work Week, Figure 10. Click OK, and Microsoft Project 2013 will now use your defined 4×10 work week for defining tasks.
Another important item to note is that Microsoft Project 2013 also has calendar options that it uses to specify default start time and hours per day when no date or time is specified. You want to make certain that these default options reflect your base calendar, otherwise, your task durations may conflict. As an example, if your calendar options say the hours per day are 8 while your base calendar says they are 10, then Microsoft Project 2013 will display a two day task on your Gantt chart, but say the duration is 2.5 days. Not good!
A 2-day task on the Gantt chart should have a duration of 2-days. The confusion is that you are working 10-hours as the base calendar specifies, but performing 1.25-days work per 10-hour period. You want 1-day of work per 10-hour period, as the base calendar specifies. Another example, a task of 3-days on the Gantt chart will be reflected as 3.75-days duration, when it should be 3-days duration. So you are working 10-hours, but performing, again, 1.25-days of work that equates to 3.75-days duration for a 3-day task on the Gantt chart. Let me explain one more time, your base calendar says you worked 10-hours on, say, Monday, which you want to reflect as 1-day of work. The options agree that you worked 10-hours on Monday, however, the options are saying your 10-hour Monday work period reflects 1.25-days of work, instead of 1-day of work.
To fix this problem go to File | Options select Schedule and make certain your Default start time and Default end time are the same as your base schedule. And, most importantly, make certain your hours per day are the same as your default schedule. So for our 4×10 work week, set the Hours per day to 10, as displayed in Figure 11.
One More Step
Notice that your Gantt chart is still displaying a 5-day work week; only Saturday and Sunday are highlighted out of the work week, Figure 12.
To change the Gantt chart to display three days off either 1) double click anywhere on the Gantt chart or 2) select the View tab at the top of the screen, and then click the drop down menu underneath Timescale and select the Timescale option from the drop down menu, Figure 13.
In the resulting Timescale dialog select the Non-working Time tab. In the Calendar drop down menu, select 4×10 Work Week (Project Calendar), Figure 14.
Finally, select OK and you will notice that your Gantt chart highlights out every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Also, note that the November 27th Thanksgiving holiday is highlighted out, Figure 15, according to our specification for a holiday Exception.
Microsoft Project 2013 defaults to an 8-hour per day, 5-day work week, but a 10-hour per day, 4-day work week can be easily defined and then assigned to your project. The last step in creating a new work week schedule is to select the new (4×10) Calendar in the Timescale dialog, Non-working time tab, and Calendar drop down menu option. Microsoft Project 2013 calendar options are flexible, enabling you to create numerous types of schedules. Microsoft Project 2013 even has the ability to generate calendars for specific resources.