I’m at the stage just before start where it’s time to baseline the project plan. I’m a long time user of Microsoft Project, and as a Microsoft Project Manager, that’s my prefered tool. But the process is the same regardless of the software. Push a button and make a copy of the plan. Easy? On the surface yes, but the initial baseline is an important item, especially in an ERP implementation project. Often the company is relying on this project to improve its operations in a major way; to gain business intelligence and competitive advantage. So, is the baseline important?
I will be tracking progress against the baseline, using an S-Curve graphic for both work effort and cost. The baseline shows the path we expect to follow. However, as I prepared to record the baseline, I did manipulate the plan in some specific ways.
I have several ERP tasks that consultants will execute “as they have time”. For the baseline I set those tasks at 100% resource load and pushed them to the end of the plan. I did the same with risk reserve. Then I checked the network, making sure that all paths led to the project completion, and that the critical path made sense. After that I created the backup. Then I brought those “as they have time” tasks back forward, and re-leveled the resources.
The reason for moving some tasks to the end is that these tasks are ones that might not be fully utilized, or in the case of risk, even used at all. I don’t want my plan to show I’m behind on work, when its work that might not be done. So in the baseline its slid to the end.