When to Baseline a Project Plan (Microsoft Project)

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This is a common topic of conversation and it comes up every time I start a project…

Best advice I have found follows:

As the Project Manager you need to know what to, who should do what, when it should be done, why it should be done, the cost for it and a variety of other important things. To be able to get control and stay in control you need a Baseline in your project to measure your progress against. If you not do the baseline you have nothing to measure against and in that case no possibility to have total control of your project. And as a manager you need to stay in control. The baseline is nothing else than a frozen picture of your project at a certain point time. In Microsoft Project 2007 you are able to have up to 11 different baselines in a project. I although recommend you have a few baselines as possible. You should only re-baseline when you have major changes in your project such as; delays, overrun of budget or loss of key resources. The right place in time to do the first baseline is when the initial planning is done and the budget is approved.

After you have done your Work Breakdown Structure and inserted the tasks into MS Project 2007, you have done your resource-budget and allocation it is time for You to Baseline your project. You will most likely save the MS project-file a number of times before you have finalised the initial planning and the project is in such shape that you can and should baseline it. This is a natural process. When you do a baseline you save the following data about the project at that specific point in time;

Assignments: Start and Finish dates, work, timephased work, costs and timephased costs.

Tasks: Duration, Start and Finish dates, work, timephased work, cost and timephased cost.

Resources: Work, timephased work, cost, timephased cost, budget work, timephased budget work, budget cost and timephased budget cost.

In Microsoft Project 2007 you set the baseline by;

1. Create the project that you would like to baseline.

2. Choose Tools -> Tracking -> Set Baseline.

3. Open the Baseline listbox and choose the number of your baseline.

4. Verify by clicking ok.

Source:  http://www.project-blog.com/?p=72   by Johan Beijar   – Thank You!

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