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Project Management - Baseline Data

By pingram ·
I am looking for advice on how to manage project baseline information.

I am the manager of a newly created project management office at my company. I maintain a corporate-level product development plan which includes all projects.

My company creates an initial project baseline for cost and schedule data. However, throughout the project lifecycle I receive many requests to "re-baseline" the data.

The main cause of this is accountability. PMs, FMs, Team Members, Sponsors, etc., are held accountable for not exceeding variance thresholds between actual data and the baseline data. Unfortunately, with the many different levels of accountability I find that someone is always requesting a re-baseline of the data because they had no control over it. For example, a team member had no control over senior management changing the priority of the project and delaying the schedule.

I'd like to have only one baseline...EVER, document reasons for the variances if they exceed the defined thresholds, and then let all the different layers determine for themselves how they will hold their staff accountable.

A lot of people don't want to do this.

How does everyone else handle this situation?

Help!

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Baseline data

by klweiss In reply to Project Management - Base ...

I believe a project baseline vs final stats is a valuable learning tool. If it is used to assign accountability then there is resistance and generally a lot of 'padding'.

I always keep a baseline but generally only show the current information. I don't dwell on the variances unless they become an issue. I have found that tracking project changes ($, time, function, etc.) is essential in conducting project reviews and lessons learned sessions.

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RE: Baseline Data Help

by rspires In reply to Project Management - Base ...

B

First of all I am going to assume that you have an IT project that you are assisting in the management of. I will also assume that there is some level of baseline funding (a dollarized amount for the planning, execution and management of the project) provided to you at some level by some level of higher management.

With these two assumptions, I will state that your project should have in place the following baselines:

1. Baseline infrastructure architecture and all supporting documentation,

2. Baseline system application architecture and all supporting documentation,

3. Baseline project plan (resource, cost and schedule) and all supporting documentation,

4. Baseline project funding and budget information, and

5. Change Management Policy and/or procedure and thresholds for configuration, architecture, scope, cost and schedule control.

From this point, you stated the following:

"...PMs, FMs, Team Members, Sponsors, etc., are held accountable for not exceeding variance thresholds between actual data and the baseline data. Unfortunately, with the many different levels of accountability I find that someone is always requesting a re-baseline of the data because they had no control over it. For example, ateam member had no control over senior management changing the priority of the project and delaying the schedule..."

Based upon what you have stated, it would seem that item #5 is either non-existent or not communicated. In addition to this, I would ask if the respective project plan is thoroughly integrated with dependencies of relationships and critical resources.

If so, then whom ever is making the decisions of changing priorities is not examining and/or conducting an impact analysison the remaining project scope and schedule (much less resource loading and cost). And if senior management is proposing changes to any part of the project, it would be the PM's re

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Project Management - Baseline Data

by Wally Lawson PMP In reply to Project Management - Base ...

When confronted with a difficult situation I always go back to the basics however simple it may seem.

The baseline of any project or program should represent the original approved plan plus or minus any approved changes. The baseline is established when the scope of the project is approved. The baseline should never change unless there is an approved change to the scope of the project/program. Such a change should be carefully documented and tracked.

I hope this helps.

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