7: Baseline

First of all a schedule is prepared. There isn’t a one ‘right way’ to prepare schedules. Primavera is pretty versatile in this respect. If you forget to do one thing now, you can always do it later even if thousands of activities have already been added. Once someone starts regularly using this application they will soon figure out that it’s an unnecessary hassle to fiddle around with Calendars all the time, esp. if a particular one is predominantly used. So it becomes a habit to fix the default calendar as soon as one has finished only creating the schedule. This saves a few minutes later (and potential embarrassment in front of management/Client). There might still be a few activities which need a different calendar, so this has to be dealt with (albeit on a smaller scale) in almost every schedule. 
However, the baseline is where everything stops. Every self respecting planner refers to only such a schedule as baseline where no scheduling related corrections are needed. This is the point before which one must have looked at every little thing in the schedule, made all corrections and changes (WBS, Calendar, Duration, Resource, Cost, Description, different types, etc.) and be able to confidently make it a reference point. 
In general, but not always and not with everyone, your steps could follow this sequence: 
1. Create project
2. Assign defaults (including calendars), dates, other settings
3. WBS
4. Activities (with appropriate settings and changes)
5. Sequencing
6. Adjusting and (roughly) finalizing the schedule … [what is generally called Scheduling]
7. Resource & Cost Loading (this could be two separate steps, depending on various other things)
8. Finalizing schedule (Baseline) [Re-check & modify 2, 3, 4, 5 as and if needed]
9. Updating schedule on a periodic basis

Depending on personal style, company procedures, other factors, the above may be different for different people but may be referred to as a good working basis.

Once your schedule conforms to your requirements in all respects you are ready to set it as the baseline. There are two ways to do this.

  1. After you have finalized your schedule, from the top menu, go to PROJECT >> MAINTAIN BASELINE. Click on ADD. You will be given two choices: (a) to either save a copy of the currently open schedule as a new baseline, or (b) to convert an existing schedule (project) to a new baseline of the currently open schedule. To use option (b), see #2 below. To use option (a), simple select it and click on OK. Wait a few seconds and you will see in the dialogue box on your screen that an entry will be displayed under the name of your currently open schedule with the exact same name with the exception that “B1″ is added in the name. Click on CLOSE. Again go to PROJECT >> ASSIGN BASELINES. Click on the drop down list in the field PROJECT BASELINE. Chose your newly created baseline with the B1 at the end. Additionally, you can designate another schedule as the Primary, Secondary or Tertiary baseline if you want. Click on OK. That’s it.
  2. After finalizing your schedule, go to the projects view and rename this finalized schedule so that you know this is the Baseline. Normally people add the word Baseline, or BL or BL-R0 (Baseline Revision zero) or use similar nomenclature. One can use whatever one is comfortable with to signify that this schedule is (or will be) the Baseline. Next, make a copy of this schedule and paste it at an appropriate place within the EPS (Enterprise Project Structure). Rename this copy to signify this is your working schdule (I will call it WS-1). Open WS-1. Go to PROJECT >> MAINTAIN BASELINE. Chose the second option (to convert an existing schedule to a new baseline of the currently open (WS-1) schedule. Click OK. Another box pops up showing your EPS with its schedules. Chose the schedule you designated as baseline. Click on the button showing the ‘plus sign’, or you can simply double click your chosen baseline. You will see that the selected schedule will be added to the MAINTAIN BASELINES pop up box. Click on CLOSE. Once again, go to PROJECT>>ASSIGN BASELINES and follow the same procedure as explained in #1 above.
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