What is a Project Baseline?
Planning based on defined and approved information
The project baseline in project management includes all data of a project to be planned. The PMBOK Guide distinguishes between project baselines for costs (the so-called cost baseline) and deadlines (the schedule baseline). In most cases a project baseline contains
- project phases,
- work packages,
- responsible employees,
- costs etc.
on a key date.
In the narrower sense, only the first project plan approved by the project managers at the start of the project is a project baseline. Similar to software development, it is also referred to as a baseline.
In a broader sense, intermediate stages of the project plan that are documented later are also referred to as baselines, because they record new stages that form the basis for future decisions.
The advantages of project baselines
Regardless of the name, the comparison of different project statuses at different times enables project controlling, i.e. the comparison of target and actual, to be carried out. In this way, information on the progress of a project or a sub-project can be used for further project planning and control. In addition, the project baseline can also be used for communication with the client or with selected stakeholders.
Ideally, the project baseline is adapted during the course of the project, e.g. in the form of the following steps:
- plan the project with project phases, work packages, milestones, etc.
- save the proejct baseline
- collect project findings, update plans
- analyse possible project deviations, draw conclusions, make decisions and learn from experience
Here you will find additional information from our Smartpedia section: