During the holidays, many project managers are bombarded with project emails that go a little something like: “Oh, and don’t forget I’ll be off next week!”
That can really throw off your project planning.
Keeping on top of your team’s vacation time is tricky, especially when they don’t report directly to you. You don’t approve their time off—and their manager neglected to tell you. Your project slows down when team members are away because it’s often easier to leave work unfinished than it is to hand it over to someone else. Tasks simply sit on to-do lists until team members are back in play.
An ideal approach is to have a conversation about vacation time at the start of the project. Get those pre-booked holidays in the calendar as soon as you can. Then remind your team regularly about keeping you looped in on time off.
With the ProjectManager.com calendar feature, you can coordinate all the global, national and individual non-working time on to your project calendar from the outset.
Set holidays for the project
When you set up your project, you can specify global holiday dates. These will not be taken into account for scheduling tasks and they default to non-working time.
On the main menu in ProjectManager.com, select Holidays. The Global tab gives you the option to select the working days that apply to the project and any holidays. Global holidays appear in yellow on the calendar.
Pro Tip: If you change the global working days, then this change will apply to all your projects going forward.
Set holidays for countries
You can also set holidays by country. This is helpful if you have an international team with some people working in countries with different national holidays. The UK, for example, has 26 December as a national holiday for Boxing Day, but that isn’t standard everywhere. The US celebrates the national holiday of Thanksgiving in November, but European members of the project team won’t expect that day off work.
As you can see in the screenshot below, this project has UK team members and their non-working national holidays of Christmas Day and Boxing Day are highlighted in orange on the calendar.
Don’t forget to click Save to store the changes.
Pro Tip: Speed it up by clicking the days on the calendar to make them non-working time. Navigate through the calendar using the arrows at the top.
Set holidays for individuals
You can also use your project calendars at the resource level to make a note of when they will be out of the office and unavailable to work.
The national holidays set for the country where that person works will still apply, so there is no need to add those to every resource. This feature is only for planned absences away from work so that you are aware of their personal schedule and take that into account when allocating them tasks.
Pro Tip: If you don’t specify a country for the resource when you add them to the project, the account country will apply as the default.
Keeping your project on track
Once you’ve updated your resource calendars with non-working time you might find that your project plan looks quite different. Your resources will appear as over-allocated on the days that they are out of the office, and you’ll have to adjust the schedule to take that into account. The overall result will be that your project may take longer than you had originally thought because your resources aren’t available 100% of the time.
Reschedule the relevant tasks and talk to your sponsor about the impact. Plan to shift work between resources so that they can cover for each other when someone is on vacation – allocate them a task to handover their work to someone else and schedule it for before they go.
As you can see the impact on your plan from the dashboard, you’ll get a real-time view of the tasks that are affected and can quickly intervene to replan. Speedy action will mean your projects stay on track, even when several of your team are sunning themselves in warmer climes or curling up in front of the fire at home over this holidays.
Using ProjectManager.com makes resource scheduling simple. Individuals can set their own project working time or you can do it centrally. You’ll be able to see who’s available for tasks with just a few clicks and allocate work to the right people. The project will deliver on time, even if your team members tell you about their vacation at the last minute!