Holiday – what holiday?

April 3rd, 2017

As we approach the Easter and Passover holidays, with school holidays running alongside, the project meetings are getting reshuffled. When you’re planning a project, there’s often a series of assumptions about the amount of time needed from various people and how this will be spread over the project.

At the start, this is often spread evenly over the whole project then, as particular tasks are done, more detailed planning is done. Yet, somehow, holidays seem to catch a number of people by surprise. A typical calculation I’ve seen gives 225 working days a year (52 weeks, less 7 weeks for holiday, bank holiday and maybe a day or two sick; 45 x 5 days). The planner then puts in two weeks for Christmas, and spreads these 225 working days over the remaining 50 weeks, 4.5 days a week.

As an estimate, that seems okay; with many people on a project, averages are a good place to start so, if someone is expected to spend 50% of their time on the project, a weekly commitment of 2 days and a few odd hours may seem reasonable. Then it gets to Spring half-term and someone notices that a number of key project people are on holiday at the same time; then over the Easter fortnight, nearly everyone is away for at least a week.

Whether you’re working on internal or external projects, resource management is more than estimating the total time required and managing that time and the associated costs. The detailed time planning will often evolve through the project – holidays should not be a surprise. And, while planning the holidays, remember the training, in-house meetings and other events which “all staff” are expected to attend. There are many scheduling tools which allow you to track what people are booked on, as long as it is visible to open and visible.

So, for those of you celebrating over the next two weeks – Chag Sameach; Happy Easter; Happy school holidays

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