Home > Microsoft Project, Uncategorized > Part 2 – Microsoft Project Tutorial – Changing Working time and working with focus factor

Part 2 – Microsoft Project Tutorial – Changing Working time and working with focus factor

In my previous post, I discussed the concepts Work, Duration and Units but for you planning geniuses out there: why should I calculate on a focus factor of 100%? Do you remember?

Work=Duration * Units

8h = 1d (*8h) *100%

The best project managers or planning person does not plan for people working 8h hours a day on tasks. They know that they can rely on much less, perhaps 60% or 6 hours a day. In agile, we call that the focus factor. And yes, it’s also individual. Some does not work full time, some are off on other projects and some have other tasks. So, how do we change that 8 hours a day settings. Buckle up, because we’re going on a ride. This is not a simple task.

First, you select Tools—>Options and activate the Calendar tab:


First, you change the Default Start time and Default end time. All tasks starts on a minute of the day and if you don’t change this setting, they will start at 08:00 and end at 17:00. The problem is that if you change the focus factor to 6 hours per day and keep the default settings of Start and End time, you will be able to complete more than one day’s of work during one working day (two hours to be exact). I guess this makes sense in some cases, but I’ve still not found that moment. Please get back to me if you know of such an occasion.

Then you can change the actual settings of how much man hours makes one day’s work. And here you have to change both Hours per day and hours per week. Again, if you don’t change both settings, you might get very funny effects. So, don’t do that if you’re not absolutely sure of what you are doing.

Confirm the settings by hitting OK (also, observe that many of the settings on the Tools—>Options dialog box has a Set As Default option if you want to have the same settings on your other, new project files).

The example above is great for a focus factor of 6 hours per day.

But we are not done. We also have to change the default calendar, again not to enable that you can complete more than one day of work during a working day.

So, select Tools—>Change Working time.


In the top drop down you can select which calendar you’re working with. The Standard is the one resources and tasks use if you don’t change that setting but each resource have their own calendar, which you also can change, for example if a resource works part time.

You can in the actual calendar select individual days or all days of a week day (like I’ve done on the picture) by selecting the name of the week day. You can then change the setting of the selected day(s) on the dialog box right side.  On the example, I’ve shown the settings of a focus factor of 7 hours a day but remember that your settings should match the ones you made in Tools—>Options.  This is also the reason for you finding a button for activating those settings in this dialog box.

Also observe that no holidays have been entered, so you can also set these as Non working time.

For resources working part time, select their calendars in the drop down menu and make the settings like you did for the Standard calendar. You can also create templates for this (the new button in the dialog box) but leave this for when you’ve learnt more about the application.

  1. Edward
    2010/09/13 at 9:45 pm

    If you are using 6 hours a day then why is it from 8am to 4pm and not to 3pm?

    • Anna Forss
      2010/11/21 at 6:42 am

      You also have a one hour lunch break

  2. Daniel Lowe
    2011/08/22 at 5:38 am

    Hi there. I just found this tutorial and am about 10 lessons in and have learned a lot. However I am stuck on something from this lesson.

    I’m using MS Project 2007 which, from what I can tell, is newer than the version of MS Project used in these examples. In the example above it says to also change the times in the default Calendar separately to those under Tools–>Options.

    Under Options, I have changed the default Start time to 9:00am and the default End time to 4:00pm. I changed my hours per day to 6 and hours per week to 30.

    However when I go to do change the default Calendar, I cannot change the times. I don’t see anywhere where this can be coded and have it apply to all days.

    When I open the default Calendar I see an ‘Options’ button. When I click on that, it seems to take me back to the options as seen under Tools–>Options. On the one hand, this makes me think that perhaps the need for a secondary step to update calendar times is not required in the 2007 version.

    However on the other hand, I think I still need to do something as simply making the changes under Tools–>Options appears to have no effect – the default calendar continues to show that working times for any given work day are from 8:00am to 5:00pm. I tested and created a task that lasts 8 hours and the start date and end date are the same. If there are only 6 hours in a day, then it should finish on a different day.

    If you could please help it would be appreciated.



    • Anna Forss
      2011/08/22 at 5:43 pm

      Hi. I need to check this out. i’ll try to get hold of a Ms project 2007 copy and get back to you. Hope you find the totorial helpful in general.

  3. Daniel
    2011/08/22 at 9:22 pm

    Actually, I think I figured it out! Go to Tools–>Change Working Time. Then click on the Work Weeks tab. Highlight the [Default] entry and click on the Details button. Highlight each of the workdays (use Ctrl – click) and then click ‘Set day(s) to use these specific working times’ and then set the times as needed.

    And yes, I have found the tutorial very helpful. If I knew some of this stuff years ago I would have saved myself a lot of time.

    • Anna Forss
      2011/08/23 at 4:08 pm

      I hope I get a newer Project version soon so I can update the tutorial. But I’m glad that you find it helpful as it is. I also wasted so much time before I took the trouble really getting to the bottom of the functionality. Now I can choose what to use and what to avoid

  4. Daniel Lowe
    2011/08/25 at 12:49 am

    Hi Anna. I just noticed something interesting. The screen shot above for changing the times on the Calendar is from a version of Project prior to the 2007 version. However this issue of changing the time on the calendar is also referenced in tutorial # 16. And on that page the screen shot seems to match the 2007 version.



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