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Project Baselines

This article explains how project baselines work in ResourceFirst, what happens when a baseline is captured, and what rights are required to save baselines, along with step by step instructions for capturing baselines.

Baselines: Process Principles and Data Capture

Summary

A very good management practice is to have one or more milestones during project execution at which the plan is revised based on experience and results to date. These revisions are called "baselines" in the PDWare process. The revised plan can be compared later with the project outcome to assess the success of the project.

Approval to start a project is usually based on a project plan that defines scope, schedule, cost, and expected benefits. Confidence in achieving the plan normally increases as the project goes on.

The basic principle of baselining is to capture, at various points during the life of the project, predictions and forecasts about schedule, costs, level of effort, and results and benefits. The plan captured at one of those points can be considered the "contract" or “plan of record” (POR) among executives, functional management, and the project team as to funding and resources supplied and the outcome to be expected. This comprehensive historical data set enables analysis of project and organization performance against plans and of process compliance.

Rights Required for Baselines

The user must have the Baseline right to submit any baselines and

project node edit rights (P2 or above), or

project manager rights (P1) to the target project.

In most cases baseline rights should be reserved to portfolio managers and portfolio administrators. Baselining is a critical element in the management and oversight of operations. Baseline naming conventions, frequency, and scope are typically outside the scope of project manager responsibility.

Note: Resource node baselines are not yet available in ResourceFirst.

What happens when a baseline is captured

When a project baseline is captured, all current forecast records and values are copied to a separate set of tables in the PDWare database. The records/values optionally captured in a project baseline for a given project are:

All fields available on the Project Data page and all phase and milestone dates

All assignment rows from a labor Assignments page (Skill and Resource)

All assignment rows (if any) from a financial Assignments page

The following baseline attributes are uniquely associated with the project baseline records:

a user specified baseline name (often a phase transition name)

submit date

user name of the submitter.

NOTE: If no period range is specified in the Baseline dialog, the labor demand data and the financial period forecast data include ALL periods with data, i.e. not constrained by the Get Data period range.
 

Step by Step

1.  From a project page, hyperlink to a project workspace on the Project Info page.

2.  Click the ‘hamburger” icon to open the project workspace dialog.

 

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3.  Click the Baseline button at the bottom of the workspace dialog.
Note: If you do not see the Baseline button, you do not have sufficient rights to baseline the selected project.

Baseline Dialog

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4.  Specify a meaningful baseline name.

5.  Specify the period range for labor and financial assignments.

If empty, values from all periods are captured.

Initial baselines should probably capture everything by default. But after capturing a “plan of record” baseline you might want all future baselines to ignore forecasts for past periods.

If you systematically use the Lock past periods feature, which prevents changes to the forecast values of past periods, you get the same effect whether the baseline period start is defined or empty.

6.  Specify the record types to be captured in the baseline.

Forecast                      labor assignments, skill and named resource

Financials                    financial assignments

Status, Phases, Milestones          all project fields and phase/milestone dates and completion state

7.  Check the Baseline Project Hierarchy checkbox if the project is a program with sub-projects and you want to capture the baseline for the entire branch from the selected project down.

8.  Click the Baseline button in the dialog to submit the baseline.

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