Baseline Schedule and Project Schedule are two interrelated concepts. They are used to calculate the current performance of a project. It is important to understand the difference of both concepts for a successfull project management.
According to PMBOK Guide, a Project Schedule represents “The planned dates for performing activities and the planned dates for meeting milestones.”
The project schedule details what work needs to be done and which resources must be assigned in order to perform the tasks in a given time period. Activities are identified, sequences are defined and activity durations are estimated in Project Schedules. Also The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Engineering, Procurement and Execution parts are detailed in Project Schedules.
Schedule Baseline or Baseline Schedule is the approved version of a Project Schedule. It is also known as “Target Schedule”. A Schedule Baseline is a copy of a project schedule that enables to make a comparison between the planned and the actual status of a project.
Baselines provide a “target” against which you can track a project’s resource, cost, and schedule performance. Cost and schedule variances of activities are calculated by the help of a Baseline Schedule.
Typically baselines are created before updating the project schedules for the first time.
At the beginning of a project, the Schedule Baseline is the same as the Project Schedule. As the tasks are performed, Project Schedule is updated.
Difference between Baseline Schedule and Project Schedule
– The Project Schedule is a “living” document, whereas the Schedule Baseline is the “frozen” version of it.
– The Project Schedule is updated as the project is being executed. On the other hand, Schedule Baseline is only modified as a result of an approved change request related to project scope changes.
– The Schedule Baseline is a “Target”, whereas the Project Schedule is updated and reported in order to analyze the project’s current status.
– The Project Schedule is a Project Document. On the other hand the Schedule Baseline is a part of the Project Management Plan.
In project management, the Schedule Baseline is used as a reference to compare with the actual results to recognize if a change, corrective action, or preventive action is required. The Schedule Baseline is a frozen version of the Project Schedule. However the Project Schedule is a live document which is updated, analyzed and reported as the work is done on the project. Schedule performance of a project is calculated by comparing the Schedule Baseline and the Project Schedule.
See Also: The Importance of a Baseline Schedule