In a recent PMA Consultants Knowledge Sharing Session, Wayne Beauregard discussed creating, maintaining and assigning baseline schedules in Primavera P6, and here is a condensed version of the tutorial.

You can find more tutorials on the following scheduling topics: Basic Guidelines for Quantity Tracking in P6, Managing Working Hours in Primavera P6, Identifying Longest Paths in Primavera P6, Importing Primavera P6 Schedule into NetPoint, and Successful Interactive Planning Sessions & Efficient Transition Between NetPoint and P6.

Project Schedule Baseline Definition & Background

For those not familiar with the term baseline schedules, it is simply a copy of your current schedule taken at a particular point in time. Baselines are typically created at the point during the project when you need a benchmark to compare future progress against or you need to perform what-if scenarios. A good example is to baseline the initial schedule so you can measure performance as the project progresses through time.

Although many baselines can be created for a project, only two can be used at any given time to display and compare data.

How to Baseline a Schedule?

The quickest way to create a baseline schedule is first to ensure there are no open projects by going under the File menu, selecting Close All and confirming that you want to close the project.

Next, you will need to display EPS structure. It should list all the projects assigned to that database. If the structure is not shown, go to the menu item Enterprise and select Projects.

Copying a Project

Now that your projects are shown, click once on the project you would like to copy then right click and select copy. Right click again and select Paste. To make an exact copy of the selected project except for the default options, click OK several times through the dialogue boxes until the project is created.

The project is typically created with a project ID displayed with a “-1”. You may change the project’s ID and name by clicking once on the project and then editing the ID or name. Press Enter to save the new ID or name.

Assigning & Maintaining a Baseline

Once the naming convention is set, you are ready to assign the baseline to your project of choice. Open the original project from which the copy was made.

Click once on the project, right click and select Open Project. Now under the Project menu, select Maintain Baseline. From here, you can add, delete, copy, update, or restore baselines for the open project.

Once you’ve made your selection, click OK and a dialogue box will open displaying the list of available projects from the EPS structure. Choose your project and click Select.

At this point, the baseline has been maintained or in other words, a copy of another schedule has been made available to this project. Now, close the active window.

The last step in the process is to assign your baseline to the project.

Under the Project menu, select Assign Baseline. From this dialogue box, you can assign primary, secondary and tertiary baselines to the project. At this step you have a few options. If you only are comparing one baseline to the current project, then assign that baseline as the project baseline.

If you want to compare more than one baseline then you would use one of the user baselines.

Reports & Comparisons

Once the above steps are complete, you will be able to run whatever reports and comparisons you need.

Please note: If you return to the project tab, you will notice that the file we created for the baseline is no longer available to view. That is why it is recommended you make a copy of the file before maintaining as a baseline. If you mistakenly maintain a file before copying it, you can always go back to maintain baselines under the Project menu to restore the file.

Disclaimer: This tutorial was created with P6 Version 15.1, so depending on your version of the software some of the screens may look slightly different but should function the same.

In a future training tutorial, we will cover how custom reports are created and used to compare data between project schedules.

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