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Purpose of Baseline Estimate Start and Baseline Estimate Finish RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am trying to figure out the business reason for the following fields, Baseline Estimate Start and Baseline Estimate Finish.  Thee Baseline Start and Baseline Finish and they are very similar and for the most part contain the same dates. 

    Does anybody know of a good business reason why a project manager would be intersted in these fields?  How would you use this information?

    Michael Wharton, MBA, PMP, MCT
    www.WhartonComputer.com

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 4:44 PM
    Moderator

Answers

  • Baseline Estimated Start and Baseline Estimated Finish work a bit differently from how you describe them. For a manually scheduled task that doesn't have real dates, you shouldn't really look at the scheduled start and finish fields to see what the baseline will get set to. Instead, the idea behind Baseline Estimated Start and Baseline Estimated Finish for manually scheduled tasks without a recognized date value is to set them to a date that most matches where they are currently in the project plan.

    For example say you have this:
    Task       Duration    Start     Finish    Predecessors
    T1          1d             3/9       3/9
    T2          2d             (blank) (blank)    T1

    Notice in the Gantt chart that the placeholder bar is drawn from 3/9-3/10 but the Scheduled Start is 3/10 (since that's where the task would start if it was automatically scheduled). When you save a baseline, Baseline Estimated Start will get set to 3/9 and Finish to 3/10 since that best reflects where the task currently is.

    If you have a top level manual task without any information in the date or duration fields, the baseline estimated start gets set to the project start date.

    If you have a manual task without any information and it is under a summary task, the baseline estimated start gets set to the summary start date.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:27 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Michael --

    I just wrote about this subject in the last couple of weeks for our What's New book on Microsoft Project 2010, so I feel I can speak with a little bit of authority on this subject.  Here's what you need to know:

    When you save a Baseline for your project, Microsoft Project 2010 saves the current values for every task in the Baseline Duration, Baseline Start, Baseline Finish, Baseline Work, and Baseline Cost fields. This means that the software saves the literal values from the Duration field into the Baseline Duration field, from the Start field into the Baseline Start field, etc. For Manually Scheduled tasks, this means if you enter textual data in the Duration (such as “About 2 weeks”), Start (such as “Early March”), or Finish (such as “Late May 2010”) fields, the system copies the literal textual data in the Baseline Duration, Baseline Start, and Baseline Finish fields.

    When you save a Baseline for your project, Microsoft Project 2010 also saves Baseline data in the Baseline Estimated Duration field. For each task, if the Duration field contains numeric data, the system saves the current numeric value in the Baseline Estimated Duration field. If the Duration field contains textual data for a Manually Scheduled task, such as a “TBD” value or an “About 2 weeks” value, then the system saves the default value of 1 day in the Baseline Estimated Duration field for that task.

    When you save a Baseline for your project, Microsoft Project 2010 also saves Baseline data in the Baseline Estimated Start and Baseline Estimated Finish fields. For each task, if the Start or Finish field contains date data, the system saves the current date value from the Start field into the Baseline Estimated Start and from the Finish field into the Baseline Estimated Finish field. If the Start field or Finish field contains textual data for a Manually Scheduled task, then the system saves the date from the Scheduled Start field into the Baseline Estimated Start and from the Scheduled Finish field into the Baseline Estimated Finish field.

    NOTE: The Scheduled Start field and Scheduled Finish field are also new fields, again, associated primarily with Manually Scheduled tasks.

    For Auto Scheduled tasks, the Baseline set of fields always contains the exact same data as the Baseline Estimated set of fields. This means the data is identical in the Baseline Duration and Baseline Estimated Duration fields, the Baseline Start and Baseline Estimated Start fields, as well as the Baseline Finish and Baseline Estimated Finish fields. Because of this, you may find the Baseline Estimated fields of little value unless you use Manually Scheduled tasks in your projects.


    Hope this helps.

    Dale Howard [MVP}

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 5:39 PM
    Moderator
  • Baseline Estimated Start and Baseline Estimated Finish work a bit differently from how you describe them. For a manually scheduled task that doesn't have real dates, you shouldn't really look at the scheduled start and finish fields to see what the baseline will get set to. Instead, the idea behind Baseline Estimated Start and Baseline Estimated Finish for manually scheduled tasks without a recognized date value is to set them to a date that most matches where they are currently in the project plan.

    For example say you have this:
    Task       Duration    Start     Finish    Predecessors
    T1          1d             3/9       3/9
    T2          2d             (blank) (blank)    T1

    Notice in the Gantt chart that the placeholder bar is drawn from 3/9-3/10 but the Scheduled Start is 3/10 (since that's where the task would start if it was automatically scheduled). When you save a baseline, Baseline Estimated Start will get set to 3/9 and Finish to 3/10 since that best reflects where the task currently is.

    If you have a top level manual task without any information in the date or duration fields, the baseline estimated start gets set to the project start date.

    If you have a manual task without any information and it is under a summary task, the baseline estimated start gets set to the summary start date.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 8:27 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Heather and Dale,

    Wow! That was great!  Those were both great answer and very well written.  So often answers are so vague without much explanation.  I really appreciate your time and explanations.

    Michael Wharton, MBA, PMP, MCT

    PS.  Dale, I look forward to your new book.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:11 AM
    Moderator
  • Michael --

    Thank you for your kind comments.  You are more than welcome for the help, my friend.  Between Heather's reply and my reply, I think you "covered the bases" on the Baseline Estimated fields!  :)

    Dale Howard [MVP]
    Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:31 PM
    Moderator