In project management, project baseline refers to a set of approved plans and related documents. They primarily exist in cost, scope and schedule categories. Baselines form a foundation for project execution, and thus require prior confirmation from project management team and project sponsors. After confirmed, project baselines are used for measurement and control of ongoing project activities, which means that any changes to these baselines are a subject for a consequent chain of approvals and time constraints.
In general, the above statement is a primary reason for project managers to resist changes to baselines, since a slight change might require drafting different cost estimation, providing scope assessment or crafting alternative schedules. Another reason for resistance is that project managers typically use baselines to track project progress by analyzing actual stages versus the baseline (Leadership & project management Champions, 2008). Baseline changes, according to Schwalbe (2006), should follow a formal change control process, which is “identifying, evaluating, and managing changes throughout the project life cycle” (p. 151). In this procedure, a strict formalization of reason behind the change and impact over project deliverables should be present in order to prevent unmanaged change risks.
Project managers should carefully consider such requests and validate their alignment with business needs prior to implementing into the project baselines.Under any condition, project managers should confirm changes in project baselines unless approved by project sponsors or having insufficient background information to accept. For instance, a simple request of shifting critical milestone specified in WBS would create a shift for the consequent stages, meaning the shift of the overall project. If no objective business reason is provided, project managers should not allow any shifts to baselines.
Leadership & Project Management Champions (2008). What are Project Baselines? Retrieved from https://leadershipchamps.wordpress.com/2008/03/12/what-are-project-baselines/
Schwalbe, K. (2006). Information Technology Project Management (4th ed.). Boston: …