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MS Project Baselining RRS feed

  • Question

  • I set up and baselined a project a month ago and there have been some changes since then. For new tasks, I know I can just add the new tasks, with resources/duration/work/etc., and baseline only the selected tasks. Those tasks will now have a baseline date of the current date, keeping the rest of the tasks baselined last month unaffected.

    Now, what if I want to modify a task that was baselined last month. Either delete it or change the dates/duration? How can I go about doing this in MS Project without having to rebaseline everything and still be able to capture Earned Value metrics correctly?

    Thanks! -D

    Friday, April 22, 2016 2:19 PM

Answers

  • Dee,

    You may get varying opinions on this but here is one approach. If you delete a task, you can either totally delete it or you can inactivate it (use Active field). The difference is that a deleted task is gone, totally, but an inactive task is removed from the current plan but can be re-activated. The baseline data for an inactive task remains.

    If you delete a task, indeed earned value metrics will "improve" but depending on your end goal, that may or may not be desirable. For example, deleting a task that had a large cost without adjusting the baseline, will give skewed positive earned value metrics to the project. Since deleting a task will not change the baseline values for any summary lines above it, you might want to consider selecting all summary levels above the deleted task and re-setting the baseline for those. That will bring your earned value metrics back in line with the current plan.

    With regard to reducing the work for any given task, yes earned value will improve. Again, it might make sense to re-set the baseline for that task. However, be careful. If a task was started and part way through you realize it will take a lot less work that anticipated, do not reset the baseline. The positive earned value metrics for that task simply reflect reality. Remember, there will be other tasks that take longer than planned.

    A baseline should be a baseline, be careful about wanting to adjust it. But keep in mind that Project has multiple baselines (e.g. baselines 1-10), and the user can select which baseline is used for earned value calculations (File/Options/Advanced group/Earned value options for this project).

    Hope this helps.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Dee Nolovich Friday, April 22, 2016 3:16 PM
    Friday, April 22, 2016 3:13 PM

All replies

  • Dee,

    Changing an existing task does not normally merit a change to that task's baseline. However, if the changes are the result of a change in scope, then it may be appropriate to re-baseline that task and just like with a new added task, re-baseline only the tasks that were changed.

    Earned value metrics are designed to capture performance compared to the original plan, so the question about whether to re-baseline depends on what you want to measure against, the original plan or an updated revision of the original plan.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    Friday, April 22, 2016 2:26 PM
  • John - That makes sense, and it leads me to a follow up question.

    If I delete a task, how will that affect my EVM? Surely now both budget and schedule should be improved (less work and less cost)?

    Same goes if I realize that I allotted twice as much time as I should have to a task; will reducing the Work for that task reflect positive changes in my EVM?

    Thanks,

    -D

    Friday, April 22, 2016 2:35 PM
  • Dee,

    You may get varying opinions on this but here is one approach. If you delete a task, you can either totally delete it or you can inactivate it (use Active field). The difference is that a deleted task is gone, totally, but an inactive task is removed from the current plan but can be re-activated. The baseline data for an inactive task remains.

    If you delete a task, indeed earned value metrics will "improve" but depending on your end goal, that may or may not be desirable. For example, deleting a task that had a large cost without adjusting the baseline, will give skewed positive earned value metrics to the project. Since deleting a task will not change the baseline values for any summary lines above it, you might want to consider selecting all summary levels above the deleted task and re-setting the baseline for those. That will bring your earned value metrics back in line with the current plan.

    With regard to reducing the work for any given task, yes earned value will improve. Again, it might make sense to re-set the baseline for that task. However, be careful. If a task was started and part way through you realize it will take a lot less work that anticipated, do not reset the baseline. The positive earned value metrics for that task simply reflect reality. Remember, there will be other tasks that take longer than planned.

    A baseline should be a baseline, be careful about wanting to adjust it. But keep in mind that Project has multiple baselines (e.g. baselines 1-10), and the user can select which baseline is used for earned value calculations (File/Options/Advanced group/Earned value options for this project).

    Hope this helps.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Dee Nolovich Friday, April 22, 2016 3:16 PM
    Friday, April 22, 2016 3:13 PM
  • It very much does and I appreciate the detailed answer John.

    Thanks again,

    -D

    Friday, April 22, 2016 3:17 PM
  • Dee,

    You're welcome and thanks for the feedback.

    John

    Friday, April 22, 2016 4:16 PM