P Saving Original Plan Information Using a Baseline

1 The project plan, having been adjusted to perfection, is considered your baseline. Think of it

° as your original plan. It represents the most ideal balance between scope, schedule, and cost.

The project plan, at this point in time, is also your scheduled plan. Think of it as your current plan. This is the only point in the project when the original plan and the current plan are exactly the same.

They're identical only at this time because the current project plan is fluid. As soon as you enter progress information, such as one task's actual start date or another task's percent complete, your project plan is recalculated and adjusted to reflect the new information from those actuals.

For example, suppose that Task A has a scheduled finish date of May 3. It's linked with a finish-to-start task dependency to Task B, so Task B's scheduled start date is also May 3. However, Task A finishes 2 days early on May 1. So after entering the actual finish date of Task A, the scheduled start date of Task B, which has the default ASAP constraint, changes to May 1. The scheduled start dates of any other successor tasks are recalculated as well.

This constant recalculation is essential for you to always know where your project stands in the current reality. But what if you want to know what your original start dates were? What if you want to compare the original baseline plan with the current schedule to analyze your progress and performance?

The answer is to save baseline information. By saving a baseline, you're basically taking a snapshot of key scheduling and cost information in your project plan at that point in time; that is, before you enter your first actuals and the scheduled plan begins to diverge from the original baseline plan. With fixed baseline information saved, you'll have a basis for comparing the current or actual project plan against your original baseline plan.

The difference between baseline and current scheduled information is called a variance. Baselines, actuals, and variances are used in a variety of ways, including earned value analyses, to monitor project schedule and cost performance. In fact, you cannot perform earned value analyses at all unless you have first saved a baseline.

Saving a baseline is not the same as saving the entire project plan. When you save a baseline, you save the following specific fields for all tasks, resources, and assignments:

• Cost, in the Baseline Cost field

• Duration, in the Baseline Duration field

• Finish, in the Baseline Finish field

• Start, in the Baseline Start field

• Work, in the Baseline Work field

These are the fields that will give you a good basis for schedule and budget performance as you execute your project.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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