The Baseline Schedule: Measuring Performance

The Baseline Schedule: Measuring Performance

Megan Sullivan

What do you like to do when a project wraps up? Meet up with your team for a meal or drinks? Get a long overdue full night of sleep?

Well, one thing that is probably part of your post wrap up routine (or that should be) is a post-mortem. That's where you look back and compare your predicted vs. actual dates and durations -- and then find ways to do even better next time.

Here's how CoConstruct can help.

The baseline is essentially your original published schedule.

Once you have your published schedule in place at the start of a new job, head over to the Baseline View tab and click the "Set baseline now" link.

You only get to set a baseline once (so there's no cheating on the final results), so make sure you've got a good schedule in place, with accurate dates, before you click that link.  Some of our users make the first task in their schedule a reminder for the project manager to set the baseline schedule at start.

Then, as the project progresses and you update your schedule to reflect real-life circumstances, head back to the Baseline View tab to see how your new dates compare with your old ones.

For each task, you'll see the current start date, work days, and finish date, along with the same information from your baseline. You'll also see a Gantt chart to give you a clear idea of how many days ahead or behind you are now. 

How can the baseline help you run better projects?

  • Compare the finish date for the last item on your schedule compared to your baseline. That will tell you how many calendar days you're off from your original delivery date for the entire project.
  • Is your schedule consistently behind your baseline? That means your estimates were off on how long it took to accomplish the task once it got started.
  • Is there a certain point on the schedule where your schedule deviates from the orange baseline? That's the point where things got off track. See what happened there to get to the root cause of the delays.
  • Do your "work days" mostly line up with your "baseline work days", but the start and finish dates keep getting bigger? That means tasks take the time you expect, but you have too much downtime between when one task finishes and the next begins.

The baseline information only shows on the Baseline View of the schedule. Even if you share your schedule with clients, since they only see the calendar view, they can't review this baseline data. Neither can your subs. That way, you can work on improving your projects, without advertising any dirty laundry.