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Fine-Tuning Task Details in Microsoft Project 2010

Adjusting Working Time for Individual Tasks

There may be times when you want specific tasks to occur at times that differ from the working time of the project calendar (or for assigned resources, the resource calendar). To accomplish this, you apply a task calendar to these tasks. As with the project calendar, you specify which base calendar to use as a task calendar. The following are some examples of when you might need a task calendar:

  • You are using the Standard base calendar as your project calendar, and you have a task that must run overnight.

  • You have a task that must occur on a specific weekday.

  • You have a task that must occur over the weekend.

Unlike resources, Project does not create task calendars as you create tasks. (If you need a refresher on resource calendars, see Chapter 3, “Setting Up Resources.”) When you need a task calendar, you assign one of the base calendars provided with Project (or, more likely, a new base calendar that you have created) to the task. For example, if you assign the 24 Hours base calendar to a task, Project will schedule that task according to a 24-hour workday rather than the working time specified in the project calendar.

For tasks that have both a task calendar and resource assignments, Project schedules work during the working times that are common between the task calendar and resource calendar(s). If there is no common working time, Project alerts you when you apply the task calendar or assign a resource to the task.

When you assign a base calendar to a task, you can choose to ignore resource calendars for all resources assigned to the task. Doing so causes Project to schedule the resources to work on the task according to the task calendar and not their own resource calendars (for example, to work 24 hours per day).

In the new book project, you need to record that a task has a more restrictive working time than the rest of the tasks. Task 29 relates to the handoff of final book proofs to a color setting services firm, who then prepares the book for commercial printing. However this firm starts new jobs only on Mondays through Wednesdays.

In this exercise, you create a new base calendar and apply it to account for the limited working time for a task.

  1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Change Working Time.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1812974.png

    The Change Working Time dialog box appears.

  2. In the Change Working Time dialog box, click Create New Calendar.

    The Create New Base Calendar dialog box appears.

  3. In the Name box, type Monday-Wednesday.

  4. Make sure that the Make a copy of option is selected and that Standard is selected in the drop-down menu.

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  5. Click OK.

    Note that Monday-Wednesday now appears in the For calendar box.

  6. In the Change Working Time dialog box, click the Work Weeks tab.

    Next, you’ll enter the working time details for this new calendar.

  7. Make sure that the Name value [Default] in Row 1 is selected, and then click Details.

  8. In the Select day(s) box, select Thursday and Friday.

    These are the days you want to change to nonworking days for this calendar.

  9. Click Set days to nonworking time.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1813274.png
  10. Click OK to close the Details dialog box, and then click OK again to close the Change Working Time dialog box.

    Now that you’ve created the Monday-Wednesday calendar, you’re ready to apply it to a task.

  11. Select the name of task 29, Send to color house.

  12. On the Task tab, in the Properties group, click Information.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1812944.png

    The Task Information dialog box appears.

  13. Click the Advanced tab.

    As you can see in the Calendar box, the default for all tasks is “None.”

  14. In the Calendar box, select Monday-Wednesday from the list of available base calendars.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1813276.jpg
  15. Click OK to close the dialog box.

    Project applies the Monday-Wednesday calendar to task 29. A calendar icon appears in the Indicators column, reminding you that this task has a task calendar applied to it.

  16. Point to the calendar icon.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1813278.jpg

    A ScreenTip appears, showing the calendar details. Right now, this task is scheduled to be completed on a Monday, but as you further adjust the project plan, this is likely to change. Due to the custom calendar that has been applied to this task, it will not be scheduled on a Thursday or Friday or over the weekend.