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Successful Project Management: Modifying the Project Schedule

Modifying Baselines

The typical approach to baselines in project management is to save one when the stakeholders approve the project plan and compare project performance to that baseline from then on. However, one of the reasons you might be reading this chapter is because something significant has happened to your project, and you’ve had to adjust the schedule in response. The original baseline is still important, but it might not be as helpful for measuring performance now that you’ve fast-tracked some tasks, crashed a few others, and removed some scope as well. In situations such as these, you can save a new baseline after you make major revisions to your Project schedule.

Saving Additional Baselines

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In Project, you can tell if you have an initial baseline saved in the Set Baseline dialog box. On the Project tab, in the Schedule group, click Set Baseline, and then choose Set Baseline on the drop-down menu. A saved baseline displays text such as (last saved on 11/1/2011) after the baseline name. Because the Variance table displays value for only the first baseline in the list (named Baseline), saving additional baselines requires a couple of steps:

  1. On the Project tab, in the Schedule group, click Set Baseline, and then choose Set Baseline on the drop-down menu.

  2. In the Set Baseline dialog box, make sure that the Set Baseline option is selected.

  3. In the Set Baseline list, choose the first baseline name without a last saved on date, such as Baseline 1 (see Figure 13-8).

    Figure 13-8

    Figure 13-8 You can set up to 11 baselines, including Baseline, Baseline1 through Baseline10.

  4. Under the For heading, select the Entire Project option.

  5. Click OK. Project stores the current scheduled values in baseline fields, such as Baseline1 Duration.

  6. Before you do anything else, open the Set Baseline dialog box once more (see step 1).

  7. In the Set Baseline list, choose Baseline, and then click OK to store the same baseline values in Baseline. By doing this, values you see in the Variance table compare the scheduled values to your current baseline.

  8. A message box appears, warning that you are about to overwrite a baseline that you’ve already saved. Click Yes.

Clearing a Baseline

If you decide that you want to remove a baseline that you’ve saved, do the following:

  1. On the Project tab, in the Schedule group, click Set Baseline, and then choose Clear Baseline.

  2. In the Clear Baseline dialog box, make sure that the Clear Baseline Plan option is selected.

  3. In the Clear Baseline list, choose the baseline name you want to remove.

  4. Under the For heading, select the Entire Project option.

  5. Click OK. Project removes the values in the fields for the baseline you selected.

Viewing Multiple Baselines

If you want to see several baselines, the Multiple Baselines Gantt view shows taskbars in different colors for Baseline, Baseline 1, and Baseline 2, as shown in Figure 13-9. On the View tab, in the Task Views group, click Other Views, and then choose More Views. In the More Views dialog box, double-click Multiple Baselines Gantt.

Figure 13-9

Figure 13-9 Compare the schedules for three baselines in the Multiple Baselines Gantt view.