A project management calendar helps you plan and organize project tasks in no time.
Sounds simple enough.
But will the calendar hanging on your fridge do the job?
What about flipping through one of those desk calendars?
In this article, we’ll look at what a project calendar is and why you should use one to keep all your work on track. We’ll also highlight the best project scheduling and planning tool for all your needs.
Let’s dive in.
What Is A Project Calendar?
A project calendar or a project planning calendar is a tool to help you organize a project’s timeline. It lets you plan project milestones and ensure you deliver things on time.
But a planning management calendar is just one of the four calendars involved in project management.
You also have a:
- Base calendar: template that all other calendars are built on. It defines the project’s standard working times, including each working day and non working day
- Resource calendar: highlights how specific resources (human or non-human) will be utilized during the project duration
- Task calendar: for specific or one-off tasks that fall outside the scope of a regular project
Pretty neat, right?
However, out of all of these, the project management calendar is the most useful.
And if you’re a project manager, you’re probably wondering…
How can a project calendar support your project?
In general, project management calendars are used for three key purposes:
1. Scheduling tasks
A project calendar allows you to line project tasks one after another in a chain of events.
This way you always know what to do next.
A locked and loaded project calendar means that your project can practically run on autopilot,
while you kick back and relax with a cup of coffee!
2. Managing resources
A project planning calendar for task management will show you what your project team has on its schedule in the upcoming days, weeks, or months.
This information is crucial for a project plan because a certain team, key executive, or any other resource may only be available at certain times.
You can now quickly see what each person is working on and then build your project schedule of complex projects around their availability.
This way, you assign tasks to project team members only when they’re ready to take them on.
Now that’s what we call award-winning human resource management!
3. Deliver on time
A calendar for project management records your milestones at each stage and reports when they should be achieved.
Moreover, when you predict roadblocks in your path, you can prepare to work around them, helping you estimate the final delivery deadline more accurately.
You can’t ignore the life-saving (or should we say project saving?) powers of a project planning calendar.
So let’s see what tools you can use to make the most of your time on the project.
The Most Common Project Management Calendar Tools
Do you pride yourself on your stash of personal organizers?
They’re great to get your thoughts on paper and give your day a direction.
But as much as we love them, they won’t cut it as a project manager calendar.
That’s right. To manage your project calendar, you’ll need something more than pages on a book.
Here are some commonly used project management calendar platforms:
1. Microsoft Excel
Many teams use Excel as their project management tool, so it makes “sense” to use Excel as a default calendar, right?
Sure, you can create calendars in Excel spreadsheets, but that doesn’t mean you should.
Excel may work for a long-term timeline or a simple project.
But for actually completing tasks and doing day-to-day work? It’s not happening.
For starters, you’ll need to create your calendar in an Excel spreadsheet manually.
And even then, Excel cell sorting functions are not intuitive for all types of projects.
It involves ribbons, modules, and code.
Yes, actual coding!
Additionally, the incredibly limited mobile versions of Excel or a Google Sheet means that they can never truly be called a project calendar app.
Why burden your team members by keeping up with Excel?
What software engineer wants to update Excel? What designer wants to update Excel?
The hard truth about Excel is that project managers prefer Excel because it’s familiar. This gets passed on to their employees who then feel like they must work in Excel, too.
2. Google Calendar
If you already use Google Calendar to manage your meetings and appointments with your work team, then you may be tempted to turn it into a team calendar for your projects.
No wonder it’s one of the most widely used Google apps!
But Google Calendar works best for automatic reminders of upcoming projects — not as the main avenue for task management.
So what’s missing?
Dependencies, for one.
Google Calendar has no great way to link project tasks and projects together. They can only show you what’s due. Moreover, you can’t drill down into any task specifics.
It’s also challenging to keep track of project details, attachments, and to-do lists in Google calendar.
You can’t even add a new calendar for each new project.
Imagine being stuck with a default calendar view!
That’s why Google Calendar project management isn’t really an option for serious collaborators.
3. Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project was a pioneer in the project management field, inspiring a new generation of project management software.
So it’s pretty much a part of the project management lore.
However, none of this compensates for its complicated and primitive calendar options.
For starters, MS Project requires intensive training. Only high-level executives with sufficient experience in the field can use it.
Secondly, you can either purchase its desktop-enabled version or the cloud-based version, but not both at the same time. And even then, it’s quite expensive for freelancing professionals or small businesses.
So if Excel is too nerdy, Google Calendar is too basic, and MS Project is too complicated (and expensive), what do you use?
The best project management calendar is right in front of you.
What’s The Best Project Scheduling Software?
Don’t download a new tool just for creating project calendars when you can manage your entire project on ClickUp!
Wait… what’s ClickUp?
ClickUp is the highest-rated project management tool in the world.
Used by 200,000+ super productive teams from startups to giants like Google, Airbnb, and Uber, it’s the only tool you’ll need to manage projects and track your team’s productivity.
How does ClickUp help manage calendars?
ClickUp’s Calendar View is the perfect way to visualize important deadlines and plans to complete any project task on time.
The difference between ClickUp and a separate calendar app is how fluidly ClickUp works for your whole team.
This will create visual Milestones on your ClickUp Calendar, after which you can drag and drop unscheduled tasks to fall within the dates designated for their parent Lists.
The Calendar view in ClickUp shows you a high-level view of your task management, organized by day, week, and month. Click on one of the calendar tasks and open up the details to see the comments and files you may need.
Use ClickUp’s Resource Management calendar functionality to ensure that you’re always up-to-date about your resource availability when setting up your task workflows.
You can also add Time Estimates to your project timeline so that when you drop them onto the ClickUp Calendar, the time required to complete each task will automatically be accounted for.
It’s super simple to schedule any tasks without deadlines, too.
ClickUp will even show you unscheduled tasks for certain projects and Lists that you can drop right onto the calendar.
Calendars in ClickUp give you a central place for your entire company’s work.
Now you’ll easily know if one department’s party overlaps with another — and you can adjust accordingly.
Or attend multiple parties. The choice is yours!
From campaigns to conferences, align all of your work with ClickUp calendars.
But what’s beyond ClickUp’s calendar?
A host of awesome project management features!
Take a look at our favorites.
A. Visualize project progress with Gantt Charts
Sure, calendars are great for scheduling.
But you also need to make sure those tasks or subtasks are completed within the assigned task duration.
A ClickUp Gantt Chart will help you with your project schedule.
A quick look at your Gantt chart will let you where things are and what you need to do next.
You can even automate stuff like:
- Automatically readjust Task Dependencies after you reschedule any task
- Instantly calculate your project completion percentage based on completed tasks vs. total tasks in your project timeline
- Compare current vs. expected progress in your planned project schedule
- Get an instant idea of your critical path
B. Track tasks in Timeline View
ClickUp’s Timeline view is similar to a Gantt chart but offers a quicker visual overview of the project timeline and assignees, with multiple tasks in one row.
The Timeline is your way out when you want a bird’s eye view of your project plan without diving into the details.
You can also share this view with external stakeholders to consult with them during the project planning stages.
C. Assign tasks from your project plan on a Kanban Board
Then, use ClickUp’s Kanban Board view to manage multiple projects with ease.
This virtual Kanban Board is far better than a physical one.
It lets you:
- Customize your workflow to suit different project needs
- View all project boards in a single view
- Make bulk changes across boards
- Sort and filter for specific tasks in the task list
But wait, there’s more!
Here’s a glimpse of what else you get in ClickUp:
- Mind Maps: give shape to your plans with aesthetic Mind Maps
- Profiles: keep an eye on your project team members’ past, present, and future tasks
- Workflow Automation: use 50+ unique automations to save time
- Pulse: observe your team’s daily activity during working hours in real-time
- Native Time Tracking: track working hours and task duration for project
- Project Management Templates: use a suitable template for your project from ClickUp’s diverse collection
- Reminders: get automatic reminders based on which stage your project task is in
- Integrations: integrate third-party apps, like Zoom, Google Drive, and Salesforce CRM into your ClickUp workspace
- Mobile App: stay productive with ClickUp’s excellent mobile app for Android and iOS devices
With a project calendar in place, project team collaboration will be far better than it’s now.
But even if you have the greatest system in place, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the job done.
You’ll still have to follow what the calendar says and do the work.
And if you need help with that, there’s ClickUp.
Organize your calendar.
Manage remote resources and complex projects.
Save time by automating.
All in one place.
Because once you’re on ClickUp, it’s the only project tool you’ll need.
So set aside your desktop calendar and get ClickUp for free!
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.