More on Project Baselines

In the earlier post, I briefed about definition of baseline and what constitutes project baseline. Now, let us review elaborately on this topic.

A schedule baseline is a project schedule developed from the schedule network analysis used to verify lag and lead time of current project activities against approved deadlines (mainly used in schedule control).

The cost baseline is an authorized budget used to estimate, monitor, and control overall cost performance on the project. Generally, in any organization, a project budget authorization & approval happens in staggered manner(unless it is a small project). So, Cost baseline is developed as a summation of the approved budgets by time period & it is typically displayed in the form of an S-curve.

Scope baseline is used to compare current scope with actual approved scope and decide whether a change, corrective action or preventive action is required (mainly used in scope verification process). Typically, approved detailed scope statement, WBS and WBS dictionary are the scope baseline documents for the project.

The quality baseline records the quality objectives of the project. The quality baseline is the basis for measuring and reporting quality performance as part of the performance measurement baseline. All above 3 baselines are input in identifying quality standards to be followed in the project within the project constraints.

Variance is another term related to baseline. During project execution, variances will require re-baselining (of course update on plans too). These variances can include changes to activity timings, changes in availability of resource, and risks. Such variances may affect the project plan or project documents and may require detailed analysis and development of appropriate project management responses. The results of the analysis can trigger change requests that, if approved, may modify the project management plan or other project documents and possibly require establishing new baselines.

Stakeholders requirements should be clearly understood and need to be incorporated into different plans before these are base-lined.

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