After a preliminary schedule is prepared and analyzed, cross-program resource conflicts resolved, and successful delivery of the product within the schedule determined to be feasible by the program manager, the schedule is baselined. Establishing the baseline schedule is a significant action in the ID program management process, signifying the official kickoff of the work and indicating a strong commitment to the schedule and resource plan. The baseline is the point of departure for monitoring and tracking process. When a project is baselined, the project schedule is complete. Here are some rules of thumb for baselining:
1. The purpose is to get to a baseline schedule that captures all the work to be done. This includes key documentation and procurement tasks. The baseline schedule does not change unless the basic scope changes. Once agreement is reached, the program manager confirms the baseline by saving it and making it available on the network as the baseline. There is no uncertainty where the baseline is and how to access it.
2. The baseline schedule is the agreed-upon, scrubbed schedule for the program, linked to the resource pool. The baseline shows all interdependencies, linkages, and resource requirements, includes all tasks necessary to get the work done, and shows impacts on parallel programs and resources. All procurements and test equipment are covered in the schedule.
3. The baseline schedule is resource-leveled—the schedule can be implemented with current, available resources. Assigned staff members are aware of the commitments and have "signed-on" to complete their tasks to meet the schedule milestones.
4. Getting to the schedule baseline involves collaboration between the program manager and all departments and staff involved in planning and implementing the schedule. A baseline meeting is held to arrive at final agreement on schedule and resources committed before the baseline is saved to the network. The program manager facilitates the meeting, and all department managers attend and come prepared to commit their resources to the final, agreed upon baseline schedule.
5. The final review of the schedule at the baseline meeting involves reviewing all stages and tasks, linkages, and resources assigned line by line.
6. The baseline schedule is monitored weekly, with actual %complete data and changes in start and finish dates entered weekly and reported at program review.
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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.