The Baseline feature provides a way to take a ‘snapshot’ of your project plan for later comparison. The Baseline does not change unless you baseline the project again. This feature is useful for evaluating your project and comparing it with the approved plan.
Open Workbench allows you to baseline the entire plan, all tasks visible in a View, a selected range of tasks or even just a single task. The baseline snapshot will preserve certain key information about the task or tasks baselined, including start and finish dates, durations etc.
The main difference between using Open Workbench in ‘stand-alone’ mode and using it in conjunction with CA Clarity PPM is that in stand-alone mode, anybody with access to the Open Workbench file can create a baseline. In Clarity, user security controls who can baseline projects.
How and when a baseline is created is largely irrelevant to Open Workbench; you should manage this as a business process, however as a general rule the appropriate time to create a baseline is after the plan has been approved, but before work on the task or tasks has commenced. If the plan goes through several review cycles and updates are approved, an additional baseline can be created. When this occurs, Open Workbench will ask you to confirm you wish to overwrite the existing baseline information:
Selecting Yes will overwrite the previous baseline with a new one.
Define Baseline Settings
You need to instruct Open Workbench which portion(s) of the project you wish to baseline. To do this, select the Define button from the Baselines section of the Project Ribbon. This will bring up the Baseline dialog box:
To set your baseline, select an option from the Scope Group on the dialog box:
- selecting Project will baseline the entire project plan.
- selecting View will baseline all tasks in the active view. If your current view is filtered to only show a subset of tasks in the plan, only that subset of tasks will be baselined.
- selecting Selected Tasks will baseline only those tasks you have selected. This option will only be available when a task or tasks have been selected.
Once you’re happy with the scope of the Baseline, make sure the ‘Set’ radio button is selected in the Baseline Settings section of the dialog box, and click OK. If a baseline already exists for that scope, the ‘are you sure you want to replace your baseline’ dialog box will appear.
If you change the setting to ‘Clear’ in the Baseline Settings section of the dialog box, baseline data will be removed from the selected scope.
Displaying Baseline Data
Once a baseline has been set, the baseline information will display as special markers on Gantt bars. This differentiates the baseline dates and durations from the current planned dates and durations.
You can change how baseline information appears using the Highlights dialog box, as described in our post on Working With Highlights.
You can control whether baseline data appears in your Gantt Chart using the Gantt dialog box. To bring up the Gantt dialog box, double-click anywhere in the Gantt Bars section of your view:
To display baseline details, tick the Baseline check-box at the top-left of the Gantt Bars section. To remove the display of baseline details, un-tick the Baseline check-box.
By default, baseline details will appear in the Gantt Chart as triangles showing the start and finish dates:
The View can be modified to display baseline start and finish dates, duration, cost etc. by following the steps outlined in our post on Working With Views.
Carefully managing baselines is essential to accurately performing Earned Value Analysis (one way to measure cost and schedule variance). The Earned Value calculations and how they are used in Open Workbench are described in detail in the Open Workbench Help file.