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Working with Baseline Plan in Planning and Scheduling

Baseline data: The original approved plan (Cost and Schedule) is an important data in planning and scheduling. The baseline data include the planned starts, plan finish dates and duration for all activities/deliverables to be performed or delivered within the time frame and the contractual deadline such as purchased order issued date, completion of project area/unit, phases, major accomplishment or deliverable, mechanical completion, project finish, major equipment on site, etc. These should be maintained during project life cycle.

These useful data are utilized as a performance measurement baseline during execution. When any contractual dates or major accomplishment dates slipped away from the original plan, usually highlight to the management to have dialogue with project team, customer and client/owner for the delayed activities or deliverables to be resolved as soon as possible , and develop the mitigation plans to maintain the completion date of its predecessor activities.
In the event those delayed activities or major milestones that has been delayed are not able to resolved due to some reasons, for instance, schedule of a major mechanical equipment installation and its predecessor activities such as associated piping installation, field painting and insulation work are postponed significantly against the contractual date as the equipment delivery which is supplied by owner’s vendor delayed due to rework since the major defects are found during factory acceptance test (FAT), in that case, the delay claim as a change (cost and schedule) for maintaining of manpower and equipment for a certain period before the actual installation date would be raised by contractor. This is the reason the baseline data should be maintained during project life cycle.

As the project progress, some activities started to move forward from the baseline due to their predecessor activities completed earlier than plan, some moved behind as their predecessor activities already delayed for a certain duration, and due to that the manpower/equipment allocation (resource) profile moved away from the baseline.

When the resource profile slips away from the baseline, in most case, productivity factor tends to drop if the resources are deployed constantly though production rate downed to a half of plan. Task owner/project manager is always interested in the baseline and current resource profile. He or she will use the baseline and current resource profile in which the additional resources to be mobilized or the certain amount of resources to be relocated to other projects or tasks depending on resource profile.

Whenever the significant schedule delay occurs, get the approval from the management and owner in order to assign and maintain a new baseline schedule. There could be multiple baselines depending on nature of project. Baseline schedule is utilized as a tool to compare the assigned baseline data and the current project status.
Baseline schedule is a copy of your original schedule (approved schedule). Your original schedule could be master schedule/overall schedule, level 3 schedules. Regardless the type of level of schedules, baseline schedule should be saved and copied, and utilize it to compare with current project performance. Baseline dates and current project (Start, Finish) dates are same before project progress. See figure below.
As the actual project is progressed, some of the baseline dates and current project (Start, Finish) dates are no longer the same as before. See figure below.


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