Baseline Change Management Procedure in P6

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sam dsoza
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Hello All,

I would like to understand / learn more how my fellow planners manage baseline change on Project - 

1. What factors beyond the usual (Scope / Contract / Resource / Budget ) determine a change to the baseline? for example would low productivity rate constitute a baseline change?

2. Does one normally do a What-if scenario in P6 to determine whether or not to go ahead with the baseline change? If so do you use original baseline file which OR Most recent Statussed file?

3. How does one mimic changes made to the baseline file in to the most recent statussed file. What checks and crieteria does one use in P6 to ascertain that the historical Earnings was not changed? (I have usually done replication manually but it takes a lot of time if the baseline change is a complex one, hence would like to get feedback from you all on what could a effiecient way be to handle a change)

Thanks in advance

SD

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Rafael Davila
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Thank you, I appreciate your sharing of ideas.

David Kelly
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Rafael,

The web site is not finished yet, I shall send the link to you when it is....

Rafael Davila
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David,

You said - I have a video for this, which will be posted on my web site soon.

Please give us the link to your website.

Best Regards,

Rafael

David Kelly
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Sam,

 

I have not seen the email.  I shall check that Planning Planet has my correct email address...

sam dsoza
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First of all thank you Zolton, Rafael, David for your valuable comments;  It's discussions like these that help one understand and learn more about a relatively basic yet vital subject like a baseline change.

David, I sent a message over to you and look forward to seeing the video you talked about in the response.

 

SD

Rafael Davila
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  • To keep a un-statused baseline when there are many/complex schedule revisions can become a monumental task.

As said before, a tiny (if compared to total project duration) schedule variance of an activity can become a cause for substantial rearrangements in the project network, it can change critical path or order of activities, enforce a total reorganization of works.

Schedule variance can be a change in plans, a change in scope, a change order, an act of god etc.  A substantial rearrangement in the project baseline might be needed.

Even a single activity might require substantial and complex rearrangement. Imagine Activity A (footing excavations) is schedule for first six weeks but it rained on week 4, then on week 6 an unforeseen condition stop it until evaluated, at week 12 a completely redesigned foundation was issued, from spread footing to pile foundation.

Changing the baseline for this single activity takes time if to be un-statused to keep all variance. It will have to be scheduled as intermittent, it will require additional activities with different resources when changed from a spread footing to a pile foundation activity(es). It  will require re-arrangement of budget amounts.

Un-statused rebaseline that keeps all variance is not as easy as a single click of the mouse.

Such a waste of time is not worth it, all is needed is an updated schedule that meets current contract conditions.

As a construction manager I have seen hundreds of times when substantial rearrangement of activities was necessary. 

Eliminate all variance is the option that makes sense on complex schedules.

Construction schedules are usually complex, even the schedule for a local hospital might require thousands of activities. To apply the same poison to all schedules is bad medicine.

I suspect DOD is aware of this and therefore leaves it open the option to eliminate all variance.  For some inexplicable reason some schedulers insist on excluding the option that makes sense on complex schedules, eliminate all variance.

Rafael Davila
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Over Target Baseline - Formal reprogramming refers to replanning of the performance measurement baseline (PMB)

3.5.6.2 Adjusting Variances: A key consideration in implementing an OTB is to determine what to do with the variances against the pre-OTB baseline. There are essentially five basic options. This is a far more detailed effort than these simple descriptions imply, as these adjustments have to be made at the detail level (control account or work package). (See Appendix B for examples.)

1)  Eliminate all Variances: …

2)  Eliminate the Schedule Variance (SV) Only: … After evaluating the cumulative information in the CPR/IPMR, the two PMs may agree that the cost variance represents meaningful performance measurement information that the CAMs should continue to focus on and that only the SV should be eliminated.

3)  Eliminate the Cost Variance (CV) Only: … If, after evaluating the cumulative performance measurement information, the two PMs agree that the schedule variance contains valid performance measurement information, the OTB can be implemented by eliminating only the CV

4)  Eliminate Selected Variances: … the two PMs may choose to implement an OTB for only that portion of the contract. In this case, all other variances and performance measurement elements would remain intact. The OTB reporting provisions would only apply to the items selected for OTB. The resulting TAB will be greater than CBB and will vary by which elements are reset.

5)  Retain All Variances: … the contractor and customer have agreed to retain all variances.

  • As per this guide it seems like if there is no agreement on any of the options that keep some or all variance then Eliminate all Variance (always my choice) is the way to go.
  • No need for esoteric procedures that complicate and delay the updating of baseline schedules.
  • Your current contract conditions are your contract targets; these essentially are the contract milestones and budget amounts you keep updated on your schedule updates, everything else belongs to your means and methods.
  • If you use P6 take a look at ORACLE P6 online documentation regarding baseline maintenance.
  • P6 Professional Release 8.3 Documentation Library - Update a baseline
  • To keep all variance requires a un-statused baseline.
  • To keep a un-statused baseline when there are many/complex schedule revisions can become a monumental task.
  • If easy to keep all variance then why so many people struggle with it?
Rafael Davila
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Contrary to DOD I am not hooked on EVM and even find it flawed. - Earned Value Management as a tool for Project Control

However, an S-curve is a result of schedule logic. On the level of activities, projects tend to have many paths, some of them critical, other not. A tiny (if compared to total project duration) schedule variance of an activity can become a cause for substantial rearrangements in the project network, it can change critical path or order of activities, enforce a total reorganization of works. This cannot be captured by either Earned Value or Earned Schedule calculations - potential problems might be masked by compensating positive and negative schedule deviations.

  • We simply issue a recovery schedule from last updated schedule that meets contractual requirements and set it as new schedule.
  • This could be set as new baseline but erases prior variance details.
  • EVM is flawed because it does not distinguish available float, it does not distinguish between critical and non critical activities. Tracking variance at the activity level without taking into account float makes no sense.
  • Earned Value Analysis does not distinguish between the works done on critical activities and activities with sufficient floats. A project could be late but EVA will not notice this problem if Earned Value exceeds Planned Value.
  • Earned Value Analysis motivates project managers to do expensive tasks first delaying cheaper activities that could have higher priorities.
  • Earned Value Analysis suggests forecasting future performance basing on past experience that may be wrong if resources that planned to be used in the future are not the same as in the past.
  • DOD the father of the creature is against the use of EVM in fixed price contracts. For the DOD our few jobs have been fixed price. In such cases if required to compare against some baseline we use the recovery schedule until it needs to be revised again.
  • The schedule contract milestones give us all we need to know if under/over target. It is simple; no esoteric procedures, no EVM jargon only a few at the field understand.
  • We pay attention to critical activities and resources where EVM is of little or no help.
Mike Testro
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What would be normal at 73?

David Kelly
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Sam,

in more than 40 years in the business, I have never worked on a project where the baseline does not change.

This completely acceptable and normal practice. It does need measured and controlled.  The "don't change the baseline" purists are living on another planet.

I have a perfect proceedure for this in P6, which:

Allows you to see the schedule with or without the changes to the scope of work

Allows you to control BCWS properly (a major conumdrum with P6 and "extra work")

 

I have a video for this, which will be posted on my web site soon. If you can accept 15MB attachments on your email, email me through PP and I will send it to you now.

Rafael Davila
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sam dsoza
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I beg to differ -

If there is a legit change to the baseline schedule / cost / resources (ie blessed by all concerned parties) and if you are impleneting EVMS system (typcial of defense work) you must implement changes to the baseline such that the past data remain the same.

Even if one was not implementing EVMS, and if there was a scope change I would implement these changes in to the baseline schedule.

If the project has created a target schedule where Level 1 Milestone date would be more agrresive than agreed upon contractual dates which are reflected in the baseline, I would suspect you would change both if there was a scope change that could have an impact on the contractual dates.

Going back to the argument about weight loss, that would hold true as long all the assumptions and basis made remain the same while you are measuring progress. The moment there is a change to the basis / assumptions which impacts the basis, baseline should be recalibrated so you measure progress against the most current basis and assumptions as agreed upon by all parties concerned.

 

Rafael Davila
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  • When you are 5 years old your target weight or baseline probably is 60 lbs.
  • At 10 years old it might be 100 lbs.
  • At 15 years old it might be 150 lbs.
  • At 20 years old it might be 170 lbs.
  • At 20 years old it makes no sense to compare your weight against your 10 years old target.
  • Still historical records do matter.

Contracts are subject to Change Orders and when this happens it makes no sense to use prior baselines as your yardstick.  Now you have different budget and a changed scope and it makes no sense to compare different contractual conditions with your schedule updates.

Baselines are not to be changed and kept as historical references but your current contractual baseline shall reflect changed conditions.

That current baseline must be kept updated as things change does not means historical changes to contract conditions and baselines do not matter.  You shall keep them all unchanged for future reference, just make sure you are using the current yardstick. 

  • If you are 20 years old it is not 60 lbs but 170 lbs unless you are a bit short and 150 lbs is your current healthy weight.
Zoltan Palffy
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no the baseline NEVER EVER EVER gets chnaged thi sis your line in the sand to measure against. 

here is a senerio you are given 1000 changes how do you know that these are changes if you add them to the baseline schedule ?

if you DO NOT ADD them then whne you compare the current schedule agasint the baseline you wil clearly see that these activities have been added becasue there is no activity in the baseline to cxompare against.

Its like saying I need to lose weight. So the first thing that you do is get on the scale to see your current weight lets say it is 200 lbs. THIS IS YOUR BASELINE THAT YOU WILL MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS AGAINST.

So now you decide you want to lose 20 lbs you you know what your weight has to be to accomplish this and you can track your progress. You know you have to get down to 180 lbs.

If you keep changing the baseline meaning everytine you get on the scale you have a new baseline you will never be able track your weight loss. Meaning 2 weeks later your weight is 190 this is like adding chnage orders to the baseline now you have to get down to 170 lbs. 

2 weeks later you weigh yourself again and you are at 180 lbs that means you have to get down to 160 lbs you cant hit a moving target you have nothing to compare agaisnt. 

your baseline is a traget or a line in the sand Primavera changed the terminology of what a true baseline is it used to called a target schedule which was a better name for it. 

sam dsoza
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Thanks Rafael, We use P6 so wanted to check for a much efficient way of incorporating changes.

Rafael Davila
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I do not use P6, I use Spider Project - software that do not require pre-defined financial periods, it always get the math right no matter what period you want to report. 

  • We do not have such issue, it is easy.  Every time we advance the data date everything before DD is fixed and the software give us the right distributions.  Everything after DD is a projection subject to change when things do not happen as planned.
  • In large portfolios with multiple clients it is common for their “financial periods” not to be the same. 
  • We use different periods in our everyday reporting.
    • When we issue weekly reports the financial period is a week,
    • When we issue monthly reports the financial period is a month.
    • We can define custom reporting periods for our reporting.
    • In a report if Data Date [DD] falls in between start and finish of a report period whatever happens before DD during this period is fixed while whatever happens after the DD is subject to change when things do not happen as planned.
    • Report Periods 4
    • The end and start of the month rarely matches that of a week.
      The end and start of the fiscal year rarely matches that of a week.
      We need to get it right for multiple financial periods.
  • Software that require pre-defined financial periods and that have a limit of a single set of pre-defined financial periods per database we do not use.
  • If you are using the CPM as a payment tool the following might be of interest.
  • The Great Divorce: Cost Loaded Schedule Updating
sam dsoza
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Hi Zoltan,

Thanks for detailed explaination. I was referring to a "baseline revision" which will be accomplished by making changes to the baseline.

Rafael / Zoltan et al,

Having created revised baseline in p6, do you manually adjust the current month status file to reflect corresponsing changes (like changes in logic, relationships, duration, activity -addition / deletion.) from the newly created (and approved) "revised baseline" file? (We do not use stored period performance)

Thanks

sam dsoza
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Hi Zoltan,

Thanks for detailed explaination. I was referring to a "baseline revision" which will be accomplished by making changes to the baseline.

Rafael / Zoltan et al,

Having created revised baseline in p6, do you manually adjust the current month status file to reflect corresponsing changes (like changes in logic, relationships, duration, activity -addition / deletion.) from the newly created (and approved) "revised baseline" file? (We do not use stored period performance)

Thanks

Zoltan Palffy
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There is NO such thing as a baseline change thast the whole point of as baseline. A true baseline is an as planned unprogressed approved schedule. This is your measuring stick to which progress wil be measured against.

an updated schedule is where you copy the baseline and begin to apply progress to this schedule at regualt intervals (the original baseline schedule stay as in intact untouched).

A revised basleine schedule is usually necessary when there is a major change to the project or of the project falls significantly behingd schedule. 

baseline = untoched original plan

update = progressed schedule

revised baseline = revision to progressed schedule

Rafael Davila
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Of particular interest might be the Department of Defense (DoD) Over Target Baseline and Over Target Schedule Handbook.

3.5.6.2 Adjusting Variances: A key consideration in implementing an OTB is to determine what to do with the variances against the pre-OTB baseline. There are essentially five basic options. This is a far more detailed effort than these simple descriptions imply, as these adjustments have to be made at the detail level (control account or work package). (See Appendix B for examples.)

Gives me stomach cramps!

sam dsoza
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Zoltan, Just want to know what the difference / demaracation would be between a "baseline change" to an "update or a revised baseline". 

Rafael, Thanks for additional reading links, will go through those as well.

sam dsoza
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Zoltan, Just want to know what the difference / demaracation would be between a "baseline change" to an "update or a revised baseline". 

Rafael, Thanks for additional reading links, will go through those as well.

 

Rafael Davila
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Department of Defense Earned Value Management Implementation Guide

Over Target Baseline - Formal reprogramming refers to replanning of the performance measurement baseline (PMB)

  • IBR
  • 2.2.3.7 Exclusions for Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Contract Type - was my experience.
  • The two references shall help.
  • I do not believe POTUS would be able to follow all the DOD convolution. Sad.
Zoltan Palffy
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Sam that sounds like an update to me or a revised baseline

Rafael Davila
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Sam,

The following link might be of interest to you.

The Great Divorce: Cost Loaded Schedule Updating

Look for Earned Value Report with “Divorced” Schedule/Cost.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URS_Corporation

URS provides ongoing management and operation of the 4,200-acre Kennedy Space Center complex, including its 900 mission-specific facilities, 16,000 unique NASA systems and equipment, and 600 unique U.S. Air Force systems and equipment.

Therefore I expect DOD to be familiar with this issue.

Good Luck,

Rafael

sam dsoza
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Hi Rafael, Thanks for the post. Completely agree that usually defense type contracts require changes to be incorporated in both cost and schedulineg tool.

sam dsoza
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Hi Zoltan.

I am not creating a NEW baseline but REVISING the original project baseline. I am incorporating all scheule / labor / non labor changes in to the original resource loaded baseline schedule as is the norm in any evms schedule esp. in defense / aerospace contracts. 

sam dsoza
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Hi Zoltan.

I am not creating a NEW baseline but REVISING the original project baseline. I am incorporating all scheule / labor / non labor changes in to the original resource loaded baseline schedule as is the norm in any evms schedule esp. in defense / aerospace contracts. 

Rafael Davila
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Over Target Baseline and Over Target Schedule Handbook

1.2.1 Rebaselining is the general term used for describing a major realignment of the performance measurement baseline to improve the correlation between the work plan and the baseline budget, scope, and schedule.

It does not need to happen a Change Order for the current schedule no longer be in correlation to a fixed in time reference.  It does not need for the current schedule be Over Target.

Say you have a contract to construct 10 buildings and your baseline plan considers working at a certain sequence, two at a time.  The only contractual milestone is project finish.  After a couple of months earthwork on the site for Bldg3 is delayed because of your own progress but site for Bldg4 is ready, it will have no impact on the total construction time but on the construction sequence.  It makes no sense to compare current project to such baseline.

  • There is no change order.
  • There is no need to recover contractual milestone.
  • There is a need for Rebaselining.

The infatuation with fixing baseline schedule is born from DOD EVM a bureaucratic requirement that is questioned by many.

  • Earned Value Management as a tool for Project Control - A tiny (if compared to total project duration) schedule variance of an activity can become a cause for substantial rearrangements in the project network, it can change critical path or order of activities, enforce a total reorganization of works.
  • EVA is widely used but shall be applied very carefully and together with other methods because it may provide wrong motivation of project teams and does not consider activity network dependencies.
  • We would be better off if we start looking more at current schedule buffers, success probabilites and trends instead of comparing current schedule to a frozen baseline.
Zoltan Palffy
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you do not create a NEW baseline unless you have to recover the schedule. Then you have a revised baseline. You can always compare the current udate against the previous update at any time. 

Rafael Davila
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If I were the Client and current schedule update disclose the Contractor will not be meeting contractual milestones by an amount of concern I would require the Contractor to submit a recovery schedule for the delays caused by the Contractor.  Once approved the recovery schedule will become new baseline.

I would expect the Contrator to timely request any claim for Owners delays.

Activity durations shall be based on volume of work, resource assignments and feasible production rates for it to be credible.  Because P6 is incapable of relating volume of work, resource assignments and production rates to activity duration in a transparent and meaningful way then under a separate document I would require a disclosure on how the activity durations are calculated for each schedule version based on the activity volume of work and resource production rates.  Because periodic schedule updates shall represent current conditions the any adjustments to resource assignments and production rates shall also be disclosed on every period update.

  • In estimating it is almost a universal standard to use meaningful production rates per effort-hour such as 10 bricks /man-hour if resource is labor resource and 30 cy /equipment-hour if resource is equipment.  This is the language everyone in the field understands, asking for a production rate of one for everything does not help to manage the work [schedule].

If production rates are consistently lower than planned then activity durations will take longer if Contractor keeps the resource assignments unchanged.  Among many other strategies, after adjusting the production rates Contractor can increase planned resource assignments and availability, increase the number of crews, increase the number of shifts, increase the hours per shift, plan for overtime or change methodology as to meet current contractual requirements.

Volume of work from Rafael Davila
sam dsoza
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Hi Zoltan, Thannks for taking the time out to reply to my queries.

I have few follow up questions - 

1.If I shows changes (adding new activities / removing existing activities / modifying existing activities) to the latest statussed file then how should I create a new baseline file reflectiing all of this?

We do not use store period performance . is there any other way out?

Zoltan Palffy
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1. What factors beyond the usual (Scope / Contract / Resource / Budget ) determine a change to the baseline? for example would low productivity rate constitute a baseline change?

That depends on wha the casue for the lwo productivity rate is maybe it is self inflected. Create a measured mile whne the productivity rate is at 1 and then you can measure agaisnt the measured mile.

2. Does one normally do a What-if scenario in P6 to determine whether or not to go ahead with the baseline change? If so do you use original baseline file which OR Most recent Statussed file?

If the change is large enough then a what if scenario maybe necessary.  Other wise no.

NEVER EVER add a change to the baseline that defeats the whole purpose of the baseline. Add any changes to the latest statused file.

3. How does one mimic changes made to the baseline file in to the most recent statussed file. What checks and crieteria does one use in P6 to ascertain that the historical Earnings was not changed? (I have usually done replication manually but it takes a lot of time if the baseline change is a complex one, hence would like to get feedback from you all on what could a effiecient way be to handle a change)

a.) mimic changes. You dont you just put the changes into the current schedule. b.) Historical Earnings ? If you use Store period performance after each update then it cant be changed the values are stored for the particular period. 

just add the change into the schedule and create an activity code to and assign the activity code to newly added change activities. Then run a claim digger to show the changes made from the previous schedule  to the current schedule.