Baseline vs Target Dates

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matttheba
matttheba ✭✭✭
edited 02/15/22 in Formulas and Functions

Hi,


In the PMO template we have both baseline and target dates. What is the difference between these? The target date seems redundant.


Thanks

Best Answer

  • Sing C
    Sing C ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
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    Hi @matttheba,

    I'm going to assume your Project Dependency dates are set to the Start Date and End Date columns rather than Target Start Date and Target End Date columns. Also, I assume your Start Date and End Date values were originally set to equal the Target columns.

    If this is correct , when you set baselines for the first time, the Start Date and End Date values are captured in the Baseline Start and Baseline Finish columns (which also just happen to be the same as your Target dates - because of the above assumption).

    If you then had reason to change when you expected a task to start or finish, i.e. your Target dates changed, then your Baseline columns would show what your targets originally were. In theory, your 2 sets of columns (Start, Target Start, Baseline Start and End, Target End, Baseline End) could legitimately have different dates from each other.

    Baseline is when you baselined your plan

    Target Start, this could change before a task begins

    Actual Start, this is the actual start date regardless of what your baseline was or what your target start was.

    Same rationale for the End date columns.

    Thanks,

    @Sing C

    Sing Chen

    Process Architect, Ceridian

    LinkedIn

Answers

  • Sing C
    Sing C ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Hi @matttheba,

    Do you have a copy of the template you can share? In the absence of it, I'll make some assumptions:

    1. Target date is manually entered (or calculated based on a task having a start date and the task duration is manually entered).
    2. The start and end columns in Project Settings - Dependency Settings have been set, something like this:

    In my sample plan below I have the following (before setting baselines):

    When I set project baselines, the 3 highlighted columns are added and set with values in the date columns selected in the Project Settings - Dependency Settings.

    As the project progresses, dates may change, in which case, the Variance column (highlighted) shows the difference between your new/adjusted target date and what the baselined target date was. Screenshot below shows a revised target date for Task 2 of Feb 18th (from the original Feb 15th), and the 3 day "delay" is reflected as -3d in the variance column.

    I hope this helps!

    Thanks,

    @Sing C

    Sing Chen

    Process Architect, Ceridian

    LinkedIn

  • matttheba
    matttheba ✭✭✭
    edited 02/15/22
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    Hi Sing,


    I am using the default PMO template (linked below) which comes with a target start and end date. I have also enabled baselines. Does that mean with this template, baselines aren't needed as these = target dates?


    Setup: Project Management Office - Smartsheet.com

  • Sing C
    Sing C ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Hi @matttheba ,

    The baselines are important if one of your desired outcomes is to track the variance between target and actuals.

    I see in the screenshot you have all the tasks are complete, in which case, the baseline dates won't matter. However, I assume there are tasks that aren't complete, and if the target date changes for one of those tasks AFTER you've set baselines, that's where the insights come, because you then get in the Variance the number of days by which the new date for a task has shifted from the originally targetted date you had at the time you set your baseline.

    I hope that helps.

    Regards,

    @Sing C

    Sing Chen

    Process Architect, Ceridian

    LinkedIn

  • matttheba
    matttheba ✭✭✭
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    Hi Sing,


    This still seems to me to be a double up. Why would someone need to track, effectively two different baseline dates and two different variances (target and baseline)?

  • Sing C
    Sing C ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Options

    Hi @matttheba,

    I'm going to assume your Project Dependency dates are set to the Start Date and End Date columns rather than Target Start Date and Target End Date columns. Also, I assume your Start Date and End Date values were originally set to equal the Target columns.

    If this is correct , when you set baselines for the first time, the Start Date and End Date values are captured in the Baseline Start and Baseline Finish columns (which also just happen to be the same as your Target dates - because of the above assumption).

    If you then had reason to change when you expected a task to start or finish, i.e. your Target dates changed, then your Baseline columns would show what your targets originally were. In theory, your 2 sets of columns (Start, Target Start, Baseline Start and End, Target End, Baseline End) could legitimately have different dates from each other.

    Baseline is when you baselined your plan

    Target Start, this could change before a task begins

    Actual Start, this is the actual start date regardless of what your baseline was or what your target start was.

    Same rationale for the End date columns.

    Thanks,

    @Sing C

    Sing Chen

    Process Architect, Ceridian

    LinkedIn

  • Holly G
    Holly G ✭✭
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    Hello -- I have had the similar questions as @matttheba about Target Dates vs. Baseline Dates in the Project Plan included in the PMO template set.

    Why is the Schedule Health based on the variance between the Target Dates and Actual Dates if a Baseline has already been set -- instead of based on the variance between the Baseline (approved Plan) and Actuals?

    From my perspective, the Target Dates are estimates as the Plan is first being drafted -- until a Baseline is approved and set -- and in subsequent cases when a new Baseline needs to be established -- the Target dates would again be estimates until a new Baseline is approved.

    Am I misunderstanding how Baselines are typically used?

    I have received responses that people can help me create my own formula for whatever I need. However, I prefer to use the PMO template set -- I trust the expert who created it – I just need help understanding the rationale of the formula.

    Thank you in advance for any clarity you can provide. 

  • abechuate
    Options

    Hi Sing,

    I'm also trying to use the PMO template and struggling with the dates' nomenclature. When you say actual start and end dates, you're referring to the "Start Date" and "End Date" columns of the Project Plan sheet in the template, right?


    Thank you!

    Andre

    Andre Bechuate

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