In Project Management, during the project-planning phase, the scope, time and budget are allocated and decided and all the project requirements with respect to these elements and the project specifications are determined. In the preliminary project plan, which is the original one, Project Scheduling is also done to determine the schedule of the tasks that are to be performed for the completion of the project. In the baseline, there is a set of original project data, which includes information related to the start and end dates of the project as well as the durations of all the tasks. The cost estimates assigned to each of the tasks are also part of the baseline. Baseline is used in a project when the preliminary details have been fine tuned before the project starts.
The most important purpose that the baseline serves in a project is that while the project is in the execution phase, the baseline is used as a reference for drawing a comparison between the actual works that has been achieved relative to what was planned. While the baseline is created during the project-planning phase, its benefits and usage is realized in the monitoring of the project to compare the planned against the actual. So, the baseline is used for monitoring the project performance over the period of time that has passed in project execution. The earned value analysis of any project is actually dependent on the actual progress of the project against the planned progress. The baseline hence plays the role of a reference point for comparing project performance.
The importance of establishing the baseline correctly and optimally is immense for the success of any project. In Project Management Software and in other CPM Scheduling Software and CPM Software, there are various tools available for creating the baseline of the project. The Baseline plan, which is sometimes also known as the original plan, is also an important part of the Gantt chart. Whether it is a construction project or a product development project or any other for that matter, in order for the project to be completed successfully and efficiently, it is important to create the baseline properly. The significance of this plan is immense because in the monitoring of the project and in the controlling of the potential issues and various aspects of the project, the baseline can be very useful. Considering that a project is a moving target and keeps on progressing, there is need for a tool that can monitor the project progress relative to the planned activities. In this regard, the baseline can be optimal in offering a way for the project manager and team to observe the discrepancies existing between the planned work tasks and the actual tasks. The performance measurement baseline is associated with the CPM Scheduling of the project.
Other than the performance measurements, there is also a cost baseline created in Project Management. Just like there is a schedule for every activity in the project, there is a cost estimate for each of these activities. In order to for the monitoring and controlling of these costs, it is important to have a cost baseline to compare the estimated costs with the actual costs incurred during the life of the project.