Last edited 01 Nov 2020

Baseline schedule


[edit] Introduction

Time management is one of the most important processes in project management. It is the discipline of planning and controlling the duration of a project. A baseline schedule is one of the main project management documents that should be created before the project starts. It sets out the project execution strategy, key project deliverables, activity planned dates and milestones.

Activities are grouped under different work breakdown structure levels. Engineering, procurement, production, testing, and so on are highlighted in baseline schedules.

[edit] Baseline schedule

A baseline schedule (also known as a schedule baseline or target schedule). It is an approved copy of the project schedule that can be used to analyse project performance and report schedule variances. Baseline schedules create a road map to prepare the baseline budget, mobilisation plans, and resource allocation plans.

According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, a Project Schedule represents 'the planned dates for performing activities and the planned dates for meeting milestones.'

Baselines are the frozen version of the project schedules. Before updating the project schedule for the first time, the baseline schedule is retained as a target. This means the baseline schedule is the same as the project schedule at the beginning.

As the project progresses and tasks are performed, the baseline schedule may deviate from the actual schedule. It may not reflect the current project status. Risks and unforeseen events may effect it, and some changes outside of the control of the project management team may cause delays.

Under these circumstances, remedial action should be taken and recovery plans created. It is important to emphasise that baselines should only be changed when there is a change in scope.

[edit] Baseline schedule tracking

After the approval of the baseline schedule by the stakeholders, it will be retained as a target. Schedule tracking is then carried out to analyse the differences between the planned and the actual dates. Changes in the critical path, schedule variances and delays are determined and reported in all updates.

[edit] Summary

In project time management, baseline schedules are used as references to analyse the schedule performance of the project. It is a reference document which compares the planned and the actual dates. A Schedule Performance Index (SPI) can be used to understand how far ahead or behind the project is at the point of analysis.

See also: Baseline programme.

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[edit] External resources

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