How to Change Working Time in Microsoft Project

Oct 31, 2019 | Project Hints and Tips

You need to change working time is Project plans to reflect the hours and days the company is open and the hours and days the individuals in the company work.

If you do nothing with the calendars available then Project will assume that work is being carried out from 8 until 5, Monday to Friday be every member of staff.  This is hardly realistic as bank holidays are not taken into account or individuals who work part-time or people who take time off for various reasons.  By changing the calendars to reflect these and more the plan created is more accurate and you are more likely to set up realistic expectations in the planning stage.

This can also be accessed from the Options button at the bottom of the change working time dialogue box.

Changing the default hours for the company

From the file menu select options and schedule.  Any changes made here regarding the schedule will initially only apply to this project but can be changed to alter for new projects by changing the calendar options for this project to all new projects.  The default start time and end times can be set as well as the number of working hours in a day and a week along with the number of working days in a month.  This will normally be set to match the standard working hours for the resources.

Image of scheduling options

Resource calendars

The calendar for the resources is set by selecting change working time on the Project tab. There are 3 pre-set calendars created which can be altered and additional calendars can be created if required.  These calendars are used as the starting point for the times that resources (people or equipment) are used on the project but can be altered.

The 3 pre-set calendars are standard (8 to 5, Monday to Friday with an hour break each day), night shift (11 pm to 8 am with an hour break) and 24 hours (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).  To change any of these calendars exceptions such as bank holidays, Christmas shutdown or corporate away days can be added on the exceptions tab.  The working week can also be altered by going to the work weeks tab, selecting default and details.  Assuming the same hours are worked each day, normally, Monday to Friday would be selected and once set days to these specific working times is chosen the option to change the hours in available.  Remember, this is only the starting calendar to be used for the resources and each resource will have their own calendar to make the hours more specific.

Image to enable working time to be changed

More calendars can be made by clicking Create New Calendar and following the same set of steps as above.  For example, you may have a group of people who work 4 long days a week or work an early or late shift.

The resource calendar overwrites the default hours for the company.

The changes made here are only available for this project unless the calendar is copied across to the global template (for all new projects) or to another open project using the organiser.  The organiser is available from the File tab and Info.

The calendar is normally assigned to the resource by changing the view to the resource sheet view and changing the base calendar from standard to one of the others already saved if required.  Standard is the default calendar applied.

Individual resource calendars

Once an individual work resource has been added to the project plan (normally a person or equipment) it will have its own calendar.  The resource calendar is available from the change working time dialogue box in much the same way as standard, night shift and 24 hours were.  The only difference is that this calendar is initially based on one of the other calendars already produced and any changes made are from this base.

Task calendars

In addition to resource calendars, each task can have its own calendar.  If used, this overwrites the default company hours and the resource calendar.  By double-clicking on a task in a task view, and going to the advanced tab, there is the choice of assigning one of the calendars to a task.  If Scheduling ignores resource calendars is ticked then this overwrites any settings for the individual resources.  For example, a task may need to be completed over a specific weekend and the resources will be expected to be available.

Image of the task calendar

By setting all this up, if required, we now have a project plan which accurately uses the hours worked per day and makes bank holidays or similar non-working time.  It takes into account individuals who do not all work exactly the same hours as these and allows for flexibility if some tasks go against what has been set up.

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