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.
Difference between Project Schedule and Schedule Baseline
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.
Schedule Baseline is an "approved" version of the Project Schedule.
Let’s review the key differences.
- 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".
Quiz on Project Schedule and Project Baseline
Now before you read further, answer the quiz below.
Update Jul 09, 2017: this quiz has been attempted by 2538 people and 2187 (86%) of them answered correctly.
Update Feb 17, 2016: this quiz has been attempted by 1760 people and 1518 (86%) 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 Schedule 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.
Image credit: Flickr / Andrew Mason