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Project Schedule: Baseline Vs. Rolling Wave Planning

Project Schedule: Baseline Vs. Rolling Wave Planning

Project Schedule: Baseline Vs. Rolling Wave Planning

(OP)
I'm in the process of creating a schedule baseline. I would like to use "rolling wave planning" to create my schedule - only put in detailed activities for near future work and high level information for the activities in the far future.

I'm wondering how this works with creating a baseline - as my baseline should be a "frozen" plan to compare my project "actuals" as the project is being executed. How can I compare all my "actuals" if my baseline didn't contain detailed information for the far future activities?
How can I realized predict details about activities that aren't clearly defined at this point?

RE: Project Schedule: Baseline Vs. Rolling Wave Planning

Unless you have high confidence in your high level estimates for the unplanned future work, you cannot ensure that your baseline schedule will be a reasonable reflection of future work. The problem with a rolling wave of planning that does not correspond to your frozen baseline of high level estimates is that your baseline is no longer a valid measuring stick. Even if you constantly update the baseline (re-baselining), you cannot rely on the future portion of the baseline for trend analysis with any confidence.

This is a similar problem to the use of schedule baselines with turnaround schedules where the scope is not fully known at project initiation (but the budget is certainly frozen!). When the equipment is opened up and inspections take place, the full scope (and impact) of discovery work can be assessed. Depending upon the nature of your project, you might be able to use a historical minimum attainment curve (if you have sufficient data to generate one) like we do for tracking turnarounds.

Bernard
InterPlan Systems
- eTaskMaker Planning Software
- ATC Professional Turnaround Management Software

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