Project Schedule Baseline: Definition Purpose Example

This can either create reserves for other activities or be reflected in a replanned schedule. On the other end, materializing risks and unforeseen events can lead to activities not meeting their planned finish dates. Impact on other dependent activities across different levels can then blow up to a severe timeline impact. This can exceed planned contingency reserves and require a re-baselining.

what is baseline in project management

To make modifications to project baselines, they must go via an integrated change control system and obtain permission. 📖 Properly defining your project baselines is the first step in making sure your project is headed in the right direction. But, project baselines what is baseline in project management are only one aspect of effective project management. To learn more about project management terms and processes, visit our Project Management Glossary of Terms. After all, a baseline in project management is the outlined starting point for your project plan.

Step 7. Review the Baseline

Once done, you can filter for the critical path and set a schedule baseline to measure your progress. All of this can be seen on the Gantt chart, which can be shared with the entire project team. A cost baseline is the budget that has been approved for the project, broken down into a list of salaries, materials, equipment and more. It’s the sum of the cost estimates for all the tasks on your project schedule. Baselining is extremely beneficial in cases when you know requirements will change before the ink is dry on your statement of work. When used for project monitoring and control, it will reveal how change affects key project metrics and if the project budget and scope should be re-negotiated.

Once you have those, you can create a project budget that includes all the funds required to execute your project. Project baselines can control and guide tools to carry out work and assign tasks to the project management team. The team will have an understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and the project will have fewer conflicts. The project’s duration and the activities’ completion are the focus of a schedule baseline.


It also makes it more difficult to use old baselines and project performance data to make better estimates. Changing the entire baseline alters the history of the agreement between trade contractors and general contractor and/or owner. While project managers try to avoid this, unforeseen circumstances happen which cause changes. These changes can impact the project performance, resources, and especially the baseline. When this happens, project managers must change the baseline for the project. Because the way the current project is no longer matches the scenario for the original baseline.

  • When working on projects that span multiple years, the marketplace may change significantly, impacting the goals of your project.
  • However, if the project is in-house, the scope of work will be defined following consultation with stakeholders.
  • If deviations from baselines are significant, either the project wasn’t well-executed or the baselines were unrealistic.
  • To learn more about project management terms and processes, visit our Project Management Glossary of Terms.
  • With Backlog, our own project management tool, project planners can simply create a new project, add objectives, set the scope and schedule, and invite the team to get started.
  • A precise project baseline is necessary for effective financial management.
  • Some project managers refer to this process of analysis as “planned vs. actual”.

If you don’t have project baselines, it’s not easy to track and manage changes. They serve as another benchmark, and without having them, you won’t be able to know if your outcome is different from your prediction. If any change is approved, then your new baseline is redefined as the original plan plus the approved change. It is a good idea to keep records that show how the plan has progressed and changed over time. Once project execution starts, the project’s baseline is put under change control to help you evaluate any further change and its impact on the project.

Example of Project Baselines

This should include all of the milestones and deadlines for the project, as well as a timeline for each task. Without a baseline, it can be difficult to measure progress and know whether or not you’re on track. By having specific goals, everyone knows what they need to do and can work together to achieve them. On the other hand, if you’re behind schedule, the project baseline can help you understand where you need to make up for lost ground. Without a baseline, your project plan is incomplete if you’re managing a big project. Following that, you can create a content calendar with your schedule and the best times and dates for each post.

The contingency reserve is estimated and included for the potential impact of known risks on the planned schedule. A strong starting strategy is one approach to identifying marketing and project team connectivity issues and discrepancies immediately. The end-goal here is to single out potential flaws and roadblocks in your plan and address them– before your project even kicks off the ground. Do this by factoring in the milestones, due dates, and a final deadline.

Split milestones into tasks

The answers to these questions should be mutually agreed by all the stakeholders involved in a planned project. Do this thoroughly over the course of multiple meetings, before the project starts. Go Digital- It is the need of the hour to digitalize your project using intuitive and flexible software. This helps you update key parameters on real-time bases and also keeps project stakeholders in the loop without leaving the platform.

what is baseline in project management

It also works on yourmobile, so you can track projects on the go—no matter where or when—and stay up-to-date. You are assigned a project budget, and your goal is to encourage subscriptions for early access on a dedicated landing page. In this step, you have to identify project resources for all project activities and define their due dates and a final deadline for the project. As previously mentioned, by using a Work Breakdown Structure, you subdivide project work and deliverables into smaller components that are more manageable.

Project Schedule Baseline: Definition | Purpose | Example

Making changes without a formal change control procedure can drive confusion. For instance, people might not be aware of new deadlines if real-time updates are not provided. To discourage, frequent changes, make sure to have a change request form and a strict approval process in place.

what is baseline in project management

Project baselines help you tackle challenges like schedule delays, quality management, scarcity of resources, rigorous monitoring and tracking, and cost overruns. A cloud-based Gantt chart is the best choice for creating a project schedule because it makes collaboration easier. You can add tasks, milestones, and deadlines and share the chart with others who need access — all in real-time, so you’re always up-to-date.

Add realistic buffers to your budget and schedule

Going over budget is a sure sign that your project is heading in the wrong direction. Miss the mark with the budget, and you’re going to have some unhappy stakeholders. Ideally, the cost estimates and actual project costs numbers should match or, better yet, the actual costs should be lower than the cost baseline. This throws up a red flag that your project is in danger of failing due to exceeding the budget. It’s not a promising statistic, but it is one that you can avoid if you make sure that the baseline is clear to everyone.