What Is a Baseline in Project Management?

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The baseline in project management refers to the initial cost, scope and schedule of the project. The baseline functions as a measure so the project will not deviate. Establishing a baseline happens before the project starts; otherwise, project managers will not have a system of measure.

When a client requests a change or team members determine the project requires a change, the baseline document changes as well. Updating the information allows team members to remain current with the progress of the project, and it ensures there is a record for the change. Project teams examine the baseline document again before closing the project. They review the document to determine whether the project meets specifications. If there are any discrepancies, the team must address the issues and determine if they want to make adjustments to the project.

If the team decides to make changes to ensure conformance, there are a few things they must consider. First they must consider the quality they are trying to achieve. When the final product is of high quality, then the project costs more. They must also consider their schedule. Making changes to a nearly completed project adds additional time to the project. Costs are always an important factor for projects.