Flashlight or a Flood Lamp?

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

Most large projects will face a rebaseline event sooner or later. The root cause of the event will vary greatly from project to project, but the end result is the same: the project plan no longer aids or benefits the project. In these situations, the project plan is no longer fulfilling its purpose as a tool to get the project to the finish line on time. It is at this point that the project team needs to rebaseline the project plan, or they will find themselves working in the dark.

Rebaselining the project plan should not be seen as a problem or a failure. Indeed, it is the perfect chance to get the project back on track and help ensure success. The processes in PMBOK are iterative and repetitive throughout the lifecycle of the project, and this includes creating the project plan. Depending upon the project, there might be several baselines throughout the project lifecycle. If possible, it would be ideal to evaluate and update the project plan at regular intervals during the project. For example, there could be a quarterly or monthly checkpoint where the project plan is updated.

There are many different methods a project manager can use to rebaseline the project plan. Unfortunately, the one most often used is reactive instead of proactive. Tasks are running late so planners throw new dates and tasks into the plan and then they throw the plan at the approvers (who …

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