Managing Baselines in Primavera P6 Professional is a slightly different process than you would encounter in file based tools such as Microsoft Project. When you save a baseline in Microsoft Project, you are saving copies of dates, durations, resource assignments and costs to special fields within the project file. However, when you create a baseline in Primavera P6 Professional, you are actually creating a complete copy of the project, and then linking back to that project in order to display baseline values.
In Primavera P6 Professional, you use the Project | Maintain Baselines… menu option to select the Maintain Baselines dialog.
From here you click the Add button to create a project baseline.
Notice the options offered in the above example once the Add button is clicked. The first offers to save a copy of the current project as a new baseline: pretty straightforward. Primavera P6 makes a copy of that project in its current state, and that becomes the baseline for that project. This is an internal copy of sort. You don’t see it listed in the EPS, but nevertheless it exists in the database as a complete copy of the project to which it is attached.
The second is more unusual: “Convert another project to a new baseline of the current project”. This literally means that a Primavera P6 project can be attached to the current project and used as a baseline. So if you make a copy of a project, either by using Copy and Paste or by exporting it to an XER file, you can later reattach that copy to the current project and use it as a baseline.
To see this for yourself, follow these next steps.
Open a sample project in the EPS view and then click on the Project | Maintain Baselines… menu option.
Click on the Add button.
In the Add New Baseline dialog, go with the default option “Save a copy of the current project as a new baseline”.
Once you have created a baseline for the project, click on the Restore button.
Are you sure you want to unlink the selected baseline? Click the Yes button.
This is going to detach the baseline project from the current project. Once you do this you will be able to see the selected baseline as a project in the EPS view. At the same time the baseline disappears from the Maintain Baselines dialog. Close this dialog now and click on the Projects button. You will see the baseline in the project list.
Similarly you can reattach this project to your current project and use it as a baseline once more by once again opening the Maintain Baselines dialog and clicking the Add button.
This time, instead of creating a new baseline, you can select the “Convert another project…” option.
This opens a Select Project dialog where you can select the previously detached project and convert it back to being a baseline for the current project.
Once you do this it disappears from the EPS view and exists only as a baseline project once more.
At this point you will need to use the Project | Assign Baselines… menu to open the Assign Baselines dialog to assign the project as a Project, Primary, Secondary or Tertiary Baseline in order to tell P6 where to go for it’s BL Project, BL1, BL2 or BL3 baseline field values respectively.
Why is this useful? Remember you are dealing with a database, not a file based system here. Baseline data is not stored among the other project data fields, rather it is stored as an entire copy of the project that is assigned as the database. When you view baseline fields such as BL Project Start, the field is displaying data as it exists in the assigned baseline copy of the project, not a field in the within the current field.
If you want to send your project to another Primavera P6 user that is not on your database, they need a way to load the current project and your baseline of the project too in order to do any variance reporting. Therefore the ability to attach copies of the original project as a baseline is essential.
This has also proved useful when copies of the project exist from the original plan, but a baseline was not immediately taken due to an oversight. Being able to restore an XER backup of the original project and attach it as a baseline has been an invaluable tool for many P6 users. Although this article is showing this being performed in Primavera P6 version 7.0, the feature has been available for many years and continues to be available in the latest Primavera P6 R8.3 version.
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