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A baseline date is a target date, and a forecast date is a best guess. Baseline is the date at which the progress is being measured, but the forecast is the best guess to what will happen in the future.
As Justin mentioned, a baseline date is a milestone or target date but forcast date is based on estimates.
Baseline = What you planned to do
Forecast = Where you see the project as of today
Baseline = forecast => Project on schedule
Baseline < forecast => Project behind schedule
Baseline > forecast => Project ahead of schedule
Schedule performance index (SPI) is a ratio of the earned value (EV) to the planned value (PV). If the SPI is less than one, it indicates that the project is potentially behind schedule to-date whereas an SPI greater than one, indicates the project is running ahead of schedule.
Two more comments to add and clarify
1. Baseline is based on approved plan and should remain fixed throughout the project; unless there is an approved change to the project objectives.
2. The forecast is a moving estimate of the expected completion date; which maybe different than the baseline date due to performance (better or worst as Khawaja said). To calculate the forecast date we use many variables including SPI but not limited to SPI.
The date could be the same the baseline date and forecast date. However, as all expert above mention, the baseline will be the fixed one that has been agreed and all the team will working toward the baseline target.
As such for the baseline, due certain circumstances with might provide the forecast for the best case scenario and worst case scenario for our project. For the calculation of the pert ( P+4ML+O/6) can be used for either baseline or forecast.
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