Thursday, January 24, 2008

Projecting Something

I've never really enjoyed project management all that much, but I'm starting to have to be more active about it to make things work well in my current job. As a result, I actually (gasp) created a project plan from scratch today.

In the process, I learned something kind of cool about Microsoft Project. We do our production deployments for one customer on Tuesdays, so when I put in tasks for deploying to production, I want them always to show up on the next available Tuesday, but I don't want to have to adjust it any time I change other things in the sequence.

I happened across a page somewhere that talked about 'task calendars', so I started monkeying around with them. Ultimately, I created a calendar called 'Production Runs' that has working hours only from 5pm to 11:59 pm on Tuesdays and assigned the production deployment tasks to that calendar.

Project complains when I do that the first time for a task that there aren't enough working hours, and I haven't figured out why, but it does what it should - as I change other things about the sequence of tasks, the production deployment tasks automatically shift to the proper Tuesday.

Now I just need to go back in and change the weeks when we'll be deploying late because of Monday holidays.