Adding Your Organization’s Holiday Schedule to MS Project

An improved version of this article is included in my free e-book, MS Project Hacks. Download the book and a sample MS Project file demonstrating the techniques shown here.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to look at your project plans that extend into 2014.  Have you accounted for all of the holidays your project will observe?  As I recently pointed out to another project manager, there aren’t four work weeks in November, or December.  Fortunately, if you’re using Microsoft Project, you can designate the days on your holiday schedule as non-working days, in order to prevent the embarrassment of a deliverable coming due on Thanksgiving Day.  And as a bonus, I’ve prepared a table with some of the most commonly observed national and religious holidays you and your global team might need to plan for in 2014.

Entering Your Holiday Schedule in MS Project

The version of Microsoft Project you are using makes a difference in navigation.  In Project 2007, under the Tools menu, select Change Working Time.  In Project 2010, on the Project tab, select Change Working Time.  You can then enter the holidays under the Exceptions tab.  Note that Exception days appear in the calendar in blue; however, if you have selected one of the exception dates, as shown in the example below, the date will appear in red.  Scheduled non-working days appear in gray.

Change Working TimeAlso note that you can make an exception of a scheduled non-working day, so that it appears to be a working day.  Use this feature carefully – having some of the team working over a weekend can easily throw off the scheduled for the entire team.  Also note that adding an exception will only trigger re-scheduling for tasks designated as Automatic.

 Commonly Observed National and Religious Holidays 2014

Holiday Weekday Celebrated in 2014
New Year’s Day Wednesday January 1
Martin Luther King’s Birthday (US) Monday January 20
Republic Day (India) Sunday January 26
Chinese / Vietnamese New Year Friday January 31
President’s Day (US) Monday February 17
Ash Wednesday Wednesday March 5
Beginning of Passover Tuesday April 15
Good Friday Friday April 18
Easter Monday (UK) Monday April 21
May Day (China) Thursday May 1
Early May Bank Holiday (UK) Monday May 5
Victoria Day (Canada) Monday May 19
Memorial Day (US) Monday May 26
Spring Bank Holiday (UK) Monday May 26
Shauvot Wednesday June 4
First day of Ramadan Sunday June 29
Canada Day Tuesday July 1
Independence Day (US) Friday July 4
Independence Day (India) Friday August 15
Summer Bank Holiday (UK) Monday August 25
Labor Day (US and Canada) Monday September 1
Rosh Hashanah Thursday September 25
National Day (China) Wednesday October 1
Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (India) Thursday October 2
Yom Kippur Saturday October 4
Eid al-Adha / Festival of Sacrifice Sunday October 5
Sukkot Thursday October 9
Columbus Day (US) Monday October 13
Thanksgiving (Canada) Monday October 13
Diwali (India) Thursday October 23
Veteran’s Day (US) / Remembrance Day (Canada) Tuesday November 11
Thanksgiving Day (US) Thursday November 27
Day after Thanksgiving (US) Friday November 28
First day of Chanukah Wednesday December 17
Christmas Eve Wednesday December 24
Christmas Day Thursday December 25
Boxing Day (UK, Canada) Friday December 26

Next week, I’ll show you how to create a special calendar for that will allow you to schedule a cut-over weekend without impacting the timeline of the other Monday through Friday tasks.  Happy holidays!

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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.