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(PS-3440) When is a Baseline Not a Baseline? Problems and Solutions of Using the P6 Baseline Function

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Level: Intermediate
TCM Section(s):
7.2. Schedule Planning and Development
9.2. Progress and Performance Measurement
Venue: 2020 AACE International Conference & Expo

Abstract: Many people interchangeably use the phrases “project schedule baseline” and “P6™ baseline schedules”. Fundamental differences exist between the project baseline and the baselines that P6 uses and these differences can cause significant confusion. The project schedule baseline is the point of reference and the basis for earned value measurements whereas P6 baselines are just snapshots of schedules in time.

The fact that any P6 project snapshot can be easily assigned as a “baseline” brings with it inherent risks. What if the snapshot attached as a project baseline is inadvertently changed? The variance analysis and earned value measurements would be flawed.

Moreover, the fact that the P6 baselines can be modified and updated so easily is both a blessing and a curse. What baseline schedule is actually being referenced and what are the earned value measurements based upon: the original baseline, current baseline, or something in between? It is necessary to ask how the baseline assignment process can be made more transparent.

Oracle doesn’t make the scheduler’s life easier either. The snapshots are supposed to be “images” frozen in time. However, this is not totally true, as some changes in the active schedules also affect the attached snapshots. What fields are affected? What does this do to the variance analysis? This paper addresses these questions.