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What is a Baseline in Project Management

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A Baseline is the starting point for any project plan. It’s a standard fixed reference point to estimate and point out a project’s progress which allows you to assess the performance of your project.

Let’s assume you have a two-months project. Baseline helps you to tell if that’s a good or bad time.

A project baseline usually consists of three main components which are: Schedule, cost and scope. When those three are integrated, they are called Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB).

a PMB Provides the capability of managing a change in a components will affect the other three components. For instance, your baselines are already integrated, you can tell how a change with affect cost. Though, many facilities do not have the tools to fully integrate the three components of a baseline.

How to set a Project Baseline?

First things first, your project scope should be ready. You can use a Scope statement. We talked about Project Scope and Statement Earlier, Check it out from here: WHAT IS A PROJECT MANAGEMENT SCOPE?

The following step is to map a schedule with a specific due date and a deadline. You can use Gantt chart for that which can be edited and customized according to your project.

Next is the planning of the total budget set for the project with considering all factors and making sure to link it to the schedule so they meet the plan to schedule.

Project Baselines Examples:

Consider the following example, a project is set to renew all factories of a given company, stakeholders have asked you to set a realistic plan to do so with a given budget to renew all factories with the best possible tools. Therefore, the baselines of this project is the following:

Scope: 15 factories across multiple states
Schedule: Two years.
Budget: 700k$

In this example, you should determine all the tasks need to achieve the goal of updating a total 15 factories. This would include observing the current machines and tools and see which of them needs to be renewed and also which of them need more time and which of them can’t be on hold due to its importance to the company, that is: Project Scope.

Considering the time needed is the second component of a baselines that is: Scheduling.

Finally create a detailed budget to estimate your costs for each of the factories depending on its status.

Can a Project Baseline be changed?

When you need a baseline, you should first consider a control procedure, such as a request form and a documented change approval procedure. Generally, a baseline change always make it difficult to measure the progress of a project. It also can become useless, however you may need to re-baseline when an urgent change happens.

What’s the importance of a baseline?

For a project to be successful, a baseline is an essential tool. It enables you to manage the entire project, keep track of performance, find areas for improvement, and identify potential issues. Lack of a defined project baseline can result in cost overruns, scope creep, and even project failure.

A solid software system will allow you to efficiently organize your project and establish a baseline that gives each team member visibility. To ensure agreement on OKRs, all stakeholders must comprehend and support the project baseline.

Benefits of a project baseline

Having a project baseline that has been authorized offers three key advantages:

Improved estimates: Comparing your actual costs, timeline, or scope to a baseline can assist you determine where a project has performed poorly or well. Afterward, this information can be applied to enhance future project plans and estimates.


Improved performance evaluations: As was already established, a baseline offers a benchmark against which to gauge a project’s advancement. Without one, it is challenging to evaluate how well a project is doing.

Earned value (EV) calculation: EV allows you to compare actual performance to your plan. But it’s more than just a straightforward performance evaluation tool. You can use it to assess project trends and predict whether a project will encounter issues in the future.

You might also like: WHAT IS EARNED VALUE IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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