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  Project Schedule vs Schedule Baseline

Project Schedule vs Schedule Baseline in PMP What's the difference between Project Schedule and Schedule Baseline? I've answered this question numerous times in emails, forums and blog comments. But it keeps coming back to me. It is high time I address it in a separate post, and settle it once and for all. If you have managed projects, it shouldn't be hard for you to understand. The difference is similar to that between you and your photograph. Puzzled? Read on.

Just like your photograph is a snapshot of you, a Schedule Baseline is a snapshot of a Project Schedule. However, it's not an ordinary snapshot. Let's review the key differences.
Schedule Baseline is an "approved" version of the Project Schedule.

What is the difference between Project Schedule and Schedule Baseline?

  • Project Schedule is a "living" document, whereas Schedule Baseline is "frozen".

  • Project Schedule is the "actual", whereas Schedule Baseline is the "plan".

  • Project Schedule is a Project Document, whereas Schedule Baseline is a part of the Project Management Plan.

  • Project Schedule is updated as the project is being executed, whereas Schedule Baseline is revised only as a result of an approved change request.

  • Schedule performance is measured by comparing the actual (Project Schedule) vs the baseline (Schedule Baseline).

  • At the beginning of project execution, the Project Schedule is the same as the Schedule Baseline. As work is done on the project, the actual progress is updated on the project schedule. At any given date, the latest version of the actual (project) schedule is referred to as the "Project Schedule".

Now before you read further, answer the quiz below:

Quiz Stats: As of Feb 17, 2016, this quiz has been attempted by 1760 people and 1518 of them answered correctly!

Let's use the elimination technique to get the correct answer. You don't touch the Schedule Baseline except for approved changes. So, that's not the correct answer. Schedule Management Plan is a "plan" that documents the Project Time Management processes and their associated tools and techniques. Since it's a plan, we can eliminate it too. Schedule Network Diagram is a schematic display of logical relationship between project schedule activities. So, that's out as well. We are left with Project Schedule, which is indeed the right answer.

If you hear anyone asking this question again, point that person to this article. And don't hesitate to use the Comments section below if you have further questions on this topic. Your comments enrich this blog, and I value your feedback.

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Image credit: Flickr / Andrew Mason


  1. I must say that your blog enrich our knowledge rather than other way round

  2. Replies
    1. Amazing , understood which i could not understood through other materials.

  3. Hello Harwinder,

    Easy artilcle. I aspire to write PMP in Jan. And I strongly hope this site would prove useful.

    Thank you for the great work.

  4. thanks for good way explanation !

  5. Very good post, thank you! It describes the differences between the two terms very clearly.

  6. Hi Harwinder,

    You explain confusing and complex concepts in very simple way... really nice.


  7. Sir, you are really gifted. Thank you so much for this simple explanation. It is so easy to understand the difference between these two words. You made the PMP seekers their life and study easier. May Allah bless you.


    1. Thanks for your comments and good wishes.

  8. I have a question regarding this post and another post titled "Progressive Elaboration vs. Rolling wave planning".

    I'm in the process of attempting to create a schedule baseline. I'm wondering how I'm suppose to use the "rolling wave planning" and still set a baseline to compare all my project actuals against later. The more detailed activities of further out work will be undefined at this point. Would I have to set another baseline as I learn more about the detailed activites required?


    1. Hi,

      Yes, your baselines would have to be revised as your plan evolves (progressively elaborated).

      If an activity is not in the baselined plan, then there would be no "actuals" for that activity. Once you revise the baseline and add the activity, you should be able to compare baseline vs. actual for that activity.

      Does that answer your question?

      Best regards.

      P.S. Sorry for the late response.

    2. You we should not be including the activities that are not planned in detail into the schedule baseline. But the problem is that how can we come up the project completion date if the schedule baseline is not including all the activities.

  9. I give the course and the way you addressed it is really interesting. Thank you that was of great help

  10. That was really great, thorough but yet simple explanation of the difference between project schedule and schedule baseline. Perfect. Thanks a million !

  11. i like this blog very much

  12. impressed with you explanation.your posts are helping me a lot yo get mt confusions go away

  13. Just one questions in the context of your explanation.

    If Schedule Performance is measured by comparing Project Schedule & Schedule Baseline then what is the need to put Work Performance Information as Input with Project Schedule for "Develop Schedule" process ?

    Now, I am confused. What Work Performance Information really mean ?

  14. Thank you very much. Perfect explanation


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