In a perfect world, project schedules follow the original approved timeline from start to finish. But, any experienced construction manager can tell you, in reality, the final project schedule will be vastly different from the initial project schedule. As the project progresses, it’s important to evaluate changes to the project schedule and understand what factors contribute to these changes. Implementing business intelligence methods like baseline reviews gives you the ability to analyze cause-and-effect within the project and adjust accordingly – now and in the future – to ensure success for your company.
A baseline schedule is a static timetable which essentially highlights the initial goal, or target, of the project schedule. The baseline is then used as a comparison against the active, up-to-date project schedule to measure progress and resource performance. Baselines are fixed, time-stamped reference tools, while project schedules are dynamic project management features, accommodating delays, adjustments, and other alterations. There is a definite need for both baseline schedules and project schedules in every project you are managing. Most project management softwares provide options for easily setting and saving baseline schedules, ensuring the validity of the information you are working with at any given time.
Baseline schedules are their most valuable when the appropriate analysis is applied to the differences seen over the duration of the project. This level of analysis presents the opportunity to for you to assess resources contracted, slippage incurred, and responsive measures taken to minimize project impact. The implications drawn from each baseline analysis lead to more dependable baselines for upcoming projects by empowering you to make better business decisions.
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