How to Use Google Calendar as a Project Management Tool Print
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 08:10

A simple but powerful project management tool. Andrea Vascellari, digital marketing consultant and CEO of, shares how you can use Google Calendar is great for managing appointments, but that's not all it can do.

The sharing, searchability, timeline view, and other features make Google Calendar Google Calendar for your team
and with your clients.
Do you need a great tool to better manage your team, timelines, deadlines, relevant project's data for you,
and for your clients? Here's how Google Calendar can help you out.

Create a calendar for each project – To preserve client privacy I temporarily changed the title of each calendar
you see in this first screenshot. The syntax though remains the same, ‘year' (11=2011, 10=2010, etc.) and
then the ‘name of the project'. Using a proper syntax helps you to keep your calendar in order and makes
them easier to browse/search.

Sharing – Share the calendar with the members of your team involved in the project. You can even share calendars
with clients if they express the need to monitor the stream of activities and project deadlines. I've been in this
situation a couple of times.
Timeline – By placing the tasks on the calendar you'll automatically turn each calendar into a detailed project's
timeline. I found the ‘agenda' view particularly valuable because it gives a clear overview of the upcoming
deadlines you have set.

Manage client access – Like I said above when I was talking about ‘sharing', sometimes you can plan to give (or the
clients want to have) access to the calendar/timeline. A problem I faced is that in complex projects you might want
to create two versions of the calendar. One for the team with the technical details they need/want to edit during
the project development, and a second one for the client with all its relevant information (periodic results,
deadlines, key data, meetings, etc.). On larger projects you can create dedicated calendars for multiple teams, too.

Problem solving – With every project comes a good number of problems, roadblocks or issues. Often these issues
are spotted by members of the team while they are taking care of their tasks. What can be done? The member of
the team that is facing the problem writes it in the calendar as an ‘all day' entry adding his/her name next to it.
Other members of the team, that can/know how to solve the issue, take care of it or write on the entry tips on how
to solve it. Once the problem is solved the entry will be marked as FIXED. If at the end of the day the problem is still
not fixed, it can be moved (click & drag) to the next day or to a different date. I know that at first this might not sound
easy or natural but I can guarantee you that, once you get into it, it will help you working faster and better with your
team. It's like an open and on-going problem solving channel. Of course, the internal organization of how and who
takes care of solving problems can change from company to company and team to team. You can really take this to
the next level by enabling your team to add the ‘mobile' component to it (check the links I shared at the end of this
post to learn how to sync these features with your iPhone).

Hashtags # – I mentioned the use of hashtags for internal data management in a couple of other posts but I'll bring
it back in this one, too. Google calendar is searchable (I'll never get tired to remind it!). This is very important
because it turns our calendar into a database. Using hashtags in our calendar's entries helps us in searching
and tracking specific items over time. Use a unique hashtag for each project you work on. The tags are the
same I use with my team in tweets and shared content (photos, video, etc.). Result? Whenever I search for
a hashtag I'll get a complete list of the performed tasks with relative date and time. Here's where things
get interesting, go on reading the next point…

Export data (PDF) – Every calendar, search results or specific layouts (day, week, month, 4 days, agenda)
are printable and therefore exportable in PDF format. This is really handy when you need a summary
of the work you've done (you can get it by searching for a specific hashtag related to a project) or for
the list of future tasks of your project (printing/PDF the ‘agenda' layout is what works at best for me).
Believe it or not there might still be occasions in which people will ask you for a PDF version of the
data. It happened to me with external teams and clients (especially government and public
organizations, they often still need something to print out on paper. Well yes they could access
it online but… you go and figure that out).

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