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The baseline feature is a valuable tool that allows businesses to effectively manage and track their major plans while remaining agile and adaptable.
The purpose of baseline information is crucial as it serves to assess the impact of a program and compare the outcomes before and after its implementation. Without reliable baseline data, it becomes challenging to estimate any potential changes or effectively demonstrate progress. Therefore, it is highly recommended to capture baseline data whenever feasible.
The baseline allows you to evaluate the real-time advancement or different scenarios of a group or a task against its original schedule. To visualise the baselines, go to the Work Breakdown view, and click the settings icons on the right top to toggle on the baseline option. After doing this you will be able to see the bars illustrated in different colours underneath groups and tasks.
In the image above you can see the groups and tasks showcasing baselines of varying colours. These lines represent the start and end dates of the associated item. Regardless of any adjustments made to the item's start or end dates, these baselines will remain fixed in their position, showcasing the actual data of the item prior to the change.
Note: You can add up to eleven baselines at the one time on a project to calculate the variances at different points.
How to create a baseline
To create a new baseline, simply click 'Baseline' and the '+' sign and add a name, description, colour and click 'Save' for completion.
View: The key to unlocking the elusive baselines lies in the toggling of this option. Toggle on the baselines you want, and all shall be revealed! This way you will be able to see all the baselines associated with their respective items represented by thin coloured lines. You can change the colour of your baseline by clicking the three dots beside the baseline name and selecting 'Edit'.
Current: Similarly, if you toggle on 'Current', you'll be able to see the selected baseline. Current allows you to view one baseline at a time and the selected one will be more noticeable than the others.
In the Goal module, you can add variance by changing the duration of a task that has a baseline. This can be achieved by modifying the start or end date of the task using the drag-and-drop feature on the timeline or by editing the dates within the columns.
Note: In the world of task management, baselines are the foundation upon which variance is built. To compute variance, you must have at least one baseline for your tasks, and it must be toggled on from the current view otherwise it cannot be calculated.
Positive & Negative Variance
Variance is a measure of the difference between the duration of a task, as set by the baseline, and the actual duration it takes to complete. If the actual duration is less than the planned duration, the variance is negative. Conversely, if the actual duration is greater than the planned duration, the variance is positive.
A negative variance means that the task was completed before the expected time, relative to the baseline plan. A positive variance indicates that the task is taking longer than expected, beyond what was planned in the baseline.
The grid provides you with customisable options that can be toggled on or off according to your preferences. To access these options, simply click on the grid settings icon, which will bring up a floating widget displaying the available choices. Don't hesitate to experiment the settings to optimise your experience.
Let's discover and unveil what Grid settings allow you to do.
a. Links: By enabling this option, you can access a list containing all the links on your timeline. With the same logic, if you toggle off this feature, your links will no longer be visible on the screen.
b. Baseline: When you toggle on this option, baselines will become visible to you and when you toggle off this option, baselines will disappear from the timeline, though they’re still there, just not visible to you.
c. Critical Path: The Critical Path is a crucial component of project management. It consists of a series of tasks that are essential to completing the project on time. If any of these tasks are delayed, the entire project may be at risk of delay, which could have serious consequences. Each task on the Critical Path is considered time-critical, meaning that it is of utmost importance to complete them on schedule. Some also describe it as the longest path from start to finish, the path without any slack, or the path that shows the shortest time to complete the project. By staying on top of the tasks on the Critical Path, you can ensure that your project stays on track and finishes on time.
You can also think of it as:
The longest path from the beginning to the end of the project
The path that has no flexibility or slack
The path that shows the shortest duration for completing the entire project
Once you toggle on the critical path option from the widget, the item bars will be filled with red colour showing the critical path. It will be automatically calculated by the system, so you don’t have to worry about its calculations.
By identifying and closely monitoring the tasks on the Critical Path, you can successfully complete your project within the stipulated timeline.
d. Injector: The Injector feature displays the actual start and completion date. The injector, represented by narrow, orange line beneath the task allows you to compare, actuals vs what was planned to optimise project management strategies and make informed decisions based on real-time data.
Note: You can turn the injector off from your view by clicking on the settings icon and it will disappear from the grid.
In addition to the grid settings, here are other useful features available to you:
Undo All: This feature allows you to undo multiple consecutive actions with a single click, simplifying the process of correcting mistakes and saving time.
Undo: It only reverses the most recent action you have taken, making it ideal for minor errors or adjustments.
Rebranch: From this option, you can lock the changes you have made to a task, particularly when you want to create a new baseline. This ensures that your progress is saved and can be accessed at any time, allowing you to analyse the impact of any changes you make to the project timeline.
By utilising these features, you can easily see the effects and impacts of the changes you made on the overall project, streamlining your workflow and improving your project management efficiency.