Microsoft Project is a powerful tool for project management that allows users to create, manage, and track projects. The software provides various features that enable project managers to keep track of project progress and make necessary changes throughout the project’s lifecycle. One of these features is creating baselines, which helps compare the original plan with the actual progress made during the project. In this article, we will discuss how to create baselines in Microsoft Project and view them on the Gantt chart.
Creating a baseline in Microsoft Project involves setting a reference point against which you can compare your project’s progress. This process helps project managers to identify any deviations from the original plan and take corrective action. Here are the steps to follow when creating baselines in Microsoft Project:
- Open Microsoft Project and navigate to the task tab.
- Select the tasks that you want to include in the baseline.
- Click on the “Set Baseline” button under the “Baseline” section.
- Choose the baseline type you want to create and click on OK.
- Once you’ve set the baseline, you can start tracking the actual progress of the project.
Microsoft Project offers four types of baselines:
- Interim Baseline
- Interim Plan
- Multiple Baselines
This type of baseline is the most commonly used and captures the overall project plan. It includes all the tasks, durations, resources, and costs that make up the project plan.
An interim baseline captures a specific point in time’s status against the baseline. Project managers can use interim baselines to compare the status at different points in the project.
An interim plan acts as a temporary baseline that users can set to check the project’s progress at a specific point.
Microsoft Project also allows users to create up to 11 baselines. This feature is useful when project managers want to compare multiple points in time against the original plan.
After creating a baseline, you can view it on the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart shows the timeline of tasks and their dependencies, highlighting the baseline tasks’ start and finish dates. To view baselines on the Gantt chart, follow these steps:
- Open Microsoft Project and navigate to the View tab.
- Click on the “Gantt Chart” button under the “Task Views” section.
- From the “Show/Hide” section in the “Format” tab, click on the “Baseline” option.
- You will now see the baseline tasks displayed alongside the actual progress.
Once you’ve created your baseline and started tracking progress, you can compare the actual progress with the baseline to identify any deviations from the original plan. Here are the steps to follow when comparing actual progress with the baseline:
- Open Microsoft Project and navigate to the “Tracking Gantt” view.
- From the “View” tab, select the “Tracking Gantt” option under the “Gantt Chart” section.
- Select the tasks you want to track by clicking on them.
- From the “Format” tab, click on the “Tracking” button under the “Details” section.
- Choose the comparison type you want to use, such as “Baseline vs. Actual,” and click OK.
- You will now see a graphical representation of the deviation between the baseline and actual progress.
Creating baselines is an essential part of project management, as it helps project managers to compare the actual progress with the original plan. Microsoft Project’s baseline feature provides users with a way to capture reference points against which they can track and compare their projects’ progress. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create baselines in Microsoft Project and view them on the Gantt chart, allowing you to track your project’s progress accurately.