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Project Management Baselines

Posted On: Nov 24, 2014

What is a Baseline?

The approved time phased plan (for a project, a WBS component, a Work package, or a Schedule activity), plus or minus approved project scope, cost, schedule and technical changes. Generally refers to the current baseline, but may refer to the original or some other baseline. Usually used with a modifier (e.g., Cost baseline, schedule baseline, performance measurement baseline, technical baseline)

A Standard baseline consists of six major areas:

  • Scope Management  
  • Cost Management
  • Time Management 
  • Quality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Communications Management 

Scope Baseline:

The approved detailed project scope statement and its associated WBS and WBS dictionary are together defines the Project's scope baseline and product scope.

Schedule (Time) Baseline:

A Schedule baseline is a specific version of the project schedule developed from the schedule network analysis of the schedule model. It is accepted and approved by the project management team as the schedule baseline with baseline start dates and baseline finish dates. 

Cost Baseline:

The cost baseline is a time-phased budget that is used as a basis against which to measure, monitor and control overall cost performance on the project. It is developed by summing estimated costs by period and is usually displayed in the for of an S-curve. 

If funds were used as a limiting resource in the Scope Development process, then the process is repeated using the new imposed date constraints. The final product of these planning iterations is a "Cost Baseline".

The difference between the maximum funding and the end of cost baseline is the Management Reserve.

Performance Measurement Baseline:

An approved plan for the project work against which project execution is compared, and deviations are measured for management control. The performance measurement baseline typically integrates scope, schedule and cost parameters of a project, but may also include technical and quality parameters  

The performance reports organize and summarize the information gathered, and present the result of any analysis as compared to the performance measurement baseline. 

Quality Baseline: 

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.

Resource Baseline:

Resource baseline is a time-phased Resource availability that is used as a basis against which to measure, monitor and control overall performance of the project. Having the constraint for 20 workers for next 30 days defines the human resource baseline of the project. 

Production Baseline:

Production baseline can be consumable and is used to define the project’s performance. For example delivering number of cubic yards of concrete per day would define a production baseline.