Have you used the shading calendar feature in Microsoft Project? It is possible in Microsoft Project to shade a time period on the Gantt chart as nonworking time, and not necessarily require Microsoft Project to reschedule tasks around this time period.
Sometimes schedulers want to shade nonworking time on the Gantt chart, and still maintain the ability to schedule tasks during this respective time period. The most likely scenario is when schedulers want to shade a winter shutdown period.
In this situation it is best to create a winter shutdown shading calendar separate from the project calendar. This winter shutdown shading calendar can then be assigned on the Gantt chart timescale as nonworking time.
This article demonstrates how to create and assign a calendar for highlighting a respective time period on the Gantt chart.
In this demonstration, we create a unique winter shutdown shading calendar and assign it as the nonworking time shading on the Gantt chart. We begin by creating a winter shutdown shading calendar. In Microsoft Project select the Project Tab, properties ribbon group, and change working time icon, Figure 1.
In the Change Working Time dialog, Figure 2, click Create New Calendar.
In the Create New Base Calendar dialog type in the name winter shutdown shading and toggle make a copy of standard calendar, Figure 3.
The standard calendar will then be used as the basis to generate the winter shutdown shading calendar. In the Change Working Time dialog select the Exceptions Tab. Enter the exception winter shutdown that has a start date 11/25/2018 and a finish date 2/16/2018, Figure 4.
Leave the work weeks definition the same as the standard (project calendar). Great! Your winter shutdown shading calendar is complete.
Let’s now use this winter shutdown shading calendar to shade the Gantt chart. Right click on the Gantt chart and select Nonworking time, Figure 5.
Toggle to draw behind task bars, Figure 6.
Also in Figure 6 we set a suitable color and pattern. Additionally we select winter shutdown shading as the calendar. Now when we display our schedule, Figure 7, we see that our winter shutdown period is shaded.
Notice also in Figure 7 that we still have the ability to schedule tasks during this respective time period; the last week of the project is scheduled during the first week of the winter shutdown period. So the project manager is not inhibited from scheduling tasks during the winter shutdown, but he is definitely warned against it by the winter shutdown calendar shading.
In our demonstration project the project manager has to consider whether the project is too late in the season for asphalt paving the roadway. The project manager may want to start the project a week earlier or, perhaps, delay the entire project until the middle of February. Regardless the project manager is warned that the project takes on a risk in paving the roadway the last week in November.
It is possible to shade a block period of time on Microsoft Projects Gantt chart to warn against though not prohibit scheduling tasks during the respective time period. Create a calendar using the base workweek of the project calendar. Modify this base calendar by defining nonworking exceptions.
Finally, assign this nonworking exceptions calendar as the nonworking time calendar for the Gantt chart timescale. Thus, the scheduler may warn the project manager when the tail end of his project enters the winter shutdown period. The project manager, however, still retains the right or ability to overlap the project and the winter shutdown period.