In many project discussions, it’s been my experience that two calendar-related questions constantly arise:
- On what day of the week will date x fall? Example: We’d like to make our next release on or around the 15th of next month. Is that a weekend?
- What is the date of a given day of the week n weeks from now? Example: We usually publish releases on Thursdays. If we want to release Thursday of next week, what date is that?
For several years, I searched for a large wall calendar I could hang in meeting rooms used for project discussions, but couldn’t find anything suitable. Calendar companies still living in the dark ages make the calendar dates unnecessarily small to leave extra room for writing information directly on the calendar by hand. That’s useless to me. I don’t want to track vital project information on the physical wall of a meeting room; I want to track it online where everyone can see it. Nor does a meeting room need a calendar decorated with scenic pictures. Finally, a giant wall calendar that only shows a month at a time is too limited in scope. All I want is a wall calendar that answers the two questions above.
If you want to design a calendar with only the above two goals in mind, I think the logical conclusions are:
- The dates should be as large as possible so that they can be read from far away. Ideally, it should be possible for someone sitting across the room to answer the questions above.
- A corollary of the above point is that the calendar should have a minimum amount of border junk. Borders can be helpful where you’re scrawling information onto a calendar, so you can keep track of which notes go with which dates, but aren’t necessary if the only information on the calendar is the dates themselves.
- The calendar should display several months at once. Project management discussions look beyond the current month, often several months into the future.
Since I couldn’t find a wall calendar that incorporated these principles, I put one together myself:
I’ve now used such calendars for a number of years, and they work great. It’s very easy for anyone in a meeting to quickly answer the key date questions above. I also find it handy to keep one at my desk — glancing at the wall is faster than launching a calendar gadget.
Since other people like these, I thought I’d put these into the public domain. If you find them useful as is, great. Otherwise, feel free to remix to suit your own needs.
- PDF version (U.S.). For a small room, a standard printer will do fine. If you want to use this in a large room, print the PDF at a copy service such as FedEx Office which offers poster printing. I’ve printed these at poster size and they work great.
- Microsoft Word (U.S.). The gray weekend dates show up in Google Docs’ preview, but they’re there if you download the file.
The calendars above are U.S.-centric, with the first day of the week on Sunday, and with U.S. federal holidays highlighted. A friend asked for an international English version, with the first day of the week on Monday, so I’ve also created PDF and Microsoft Word versions of that. These have no holiday highlighting.