What is a Project Baseline

After a project is initiated, the first step in project management is to establish a baseline. The baseline is a fixed reference point from which all future measurements and comparisons will be made. It is the foundation on which the project plan is built and agreed upon.

There are many different types of baselines, but all share the same goal – to provide a standard against which future performance can be judged. There are three commonly used baselines in project management: scope, schedule and cost.

The Components of a Project Baseline

There are four main components to a baseline: schedule, cost and scope, although some include milestones. Once these are agreed upon, they should not be changed without everyone’s agreement. It is best practice not to change a baseline

The schedule baseline is the approved project schedule. This is a key component of the baseline as it establishes when the project is scheduled to be completed. The cost baseline is the approved project budget. This is important as it provides a benchmark against which actual costs can be compared. The scope baseline is the approved project scope. This defines what the project is supposed to achieve and establishes what is in scope and out of scope for the project. Finally, the milestone baseline is the approved list of project milestones. This establishes what needs to be accomplished at key points throughout the project.

In addition to these, some projects may also include other factors such as quality, risks, and milestones.

How do you set a Project Baseline?

In order to set a project baseline, you need to understand the scope of your project. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account when setting a baseline, but determining your project scope is the most import

1. Defining the Project’s Scope :

In order to define the scope of your project, you will need to answer the following questions:

  • What are the project’s objectives?
  • What are the project’s deliverables?
  • Who are the project’s stakeholders?
  • What are the project’s constraints? Once you have answered these questions, you will have a clear understanding of the project’s scope.

2. Create a Project Schedule :

Creating a project schedule is an important part of ensuring that your project is completed on time and within budget. A project schedule is a tool that can be used to track the progress of a project and to identify any potential risks or issues that may arise.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating a project schedule:

  • Make sure to include all tasks that need to be completed
  • Estimate the amount of time each task will take
  • Assign responsibility for each task
  • Create milestones to track progress
  • Regularly review and update the schedule

By following these tips, you can create a detailed and effective project schedule that will help keep your project on track.

3. Estimate the costs

When you are planning a new project, it is important to have a realistic estimate of the costs involved. This will help you to set a budget and to ensure that the project is viable.

There are a number of factors to consider when estimating project costs. Materials, labor, overhead expenses, and other factors all need to be taken into account. Estimating project costs can be a complex task, but there are a few methods that can help to make the process simpler.

One common method is to break the project down into smaller parts and to estimate the cost of each part separately. This can be a useful way to get a more accurate estimate, as it can be difficult to predict the cost of a large project as a whole.

Some cost estimating techniques include :

  • Delphi estimating : a statistical technique that can be used to estimate the likelihood of future events. This method is often used in project management to estimate the time, cost, and resources needed for a project.
  • Analogous estimating : a technique used to estimate the cost of a project by comparing it to a similar project. This type of estimation is usually used when there is not enough information available to make a more accurate estimate.
  • Parametric estimating: a technique used to estimate the cost of a project by defining its parameters. This type of estimation is typically used for large projects that are complex in nature. By breaking down the project into its different parts, the estimator can develop a more accurate picture of the cost.

4. Get approval from stakeholders


To learn more about setting a baseline, read this article by our expert author Praveen Malik , A Beginners Guide to Baselining a Project or watch a webinar


Benefits of having a Project Baseline

The benefits of having a baseline are that it gives you a way to measure progress, identify issues early, and track progress. It can A baseline is an agreed upon set of measures that are used to track progress or performance. It’s a way to see if your project is on track and identify issues early. It can also be used to estimate future projects and calculate earned value.


It can also be used to estimate future projects and calculate earned value. If you don’t have a baseline, you won’t be able to track progress or identify issues early. This could lead to your project going off track and not meeting its objectives.

Example of a Project Baseline

In the image you can find an example of a baseline cost and schedule summary.

baseline cost and schedule summary
Source : energy.gov

Baseline Webinars

Membership Banner
Avatar photo
Written by Community

Where Project Managers and Microsoft® Meet.