The Baseline Compliance metric group in Acumen Fuse provides a wealth of data on the progress of an ongoing schedule in relation to its original plan.
When reviewing the status of a project, the scheduler needs something to measure performance against. The baseline provides a static copy of the project before any work takes place and makes an effective ruler of progress. In this way schedulers compare the project’s execution against the initial plan and in the process can uncover a treasure-trove of insight into the true schedule situation.
The Baseline Compliance metric group in Acumen Fuse captures this information in a tabulated format. This metric group consists of fifteen different metrics all measuring different aspects of schedule status in relation to the baselined roadmap. And again, it provides a tabulated summary of the schedule implementation that supports keen insight into the proceeding projects real situation.
This article looks at the metrics in the Acumen Fuse Baseline Compliance metric group to help you better understand their utility.
Primavera P6 Demonstration Schedule
In Figure 1 below, we have an example Oracle Primavera P6 schedule Gantt chart that includes a baseline, the yellow bars, schedule actual progress, the blue bars, and the planned remaining work, red bars for remaining critical and green bars for non-critical.
The scheduler gains insight into the true schedule situation by comparing the Gantt chart actual status and current plan against the original plan, the baseline. The project in this example is updated on a monthly basis. To aid activity grouping by month, the Gantt chart in Figure 1 is shaded in blue. This helps to better observe the effort taking place against the original plan for each monthly reporting period.
The schedule in Figure 1 has been updated for the month of January. This tells us how the schedule performed in January. It also indicates the cascading effect of this January progress on the remaining work, reporting periods February thru April. So, the Gantt chart provides an insightful visual representation of schedule implementation for the life of the project.
Acumen Fuse Schedule Health Assessment Tool
The Acumen Fuse, schedule quality assessment tool, and its Baseline Compliance metric group captures this schedule execution in a tabulated format that helps the scheduler to further glean discovery of the health of the progressing project. And this tabulated format is more conducive to a summary presentation of the schedule situation. The Baseline Compliance metric group includes fifteen metrics to support tabulated analysis of the schedule execution to initial plan.
We want to perform a Baseline Compliance metric group analysis on the demonstration schedule baseline and January update. We begin with an Oracle Primavera schedule imported into an Acumen workbook, Figure 2.
We then right click on the Wellmont-Baseline project in our Workbook1 and select New Snapshot | Oracle Primavera | Single Project from a P6 XER file, Figure 3.
We choose our January progress snapshot and step through the dialogues. We continue and import all projects, Figure 4.
After importing our schedule snapshot and changing the name to Wellmont-January Update our Workbook1 displays in Figure 5.
Now we need to assign the baseline to the January snapshot. We proceed and right-click Wellmont-January Update and choose Assign Baseline in the resulting dropdown menu.
We step through the dialog and choose the Wellmont-Baseline project when prompted. The Workbook1 with baseline and January snapshot display in Figure 7.
The workbook looks good, but we are not done yet. After assigning a baseline we must import all projects again, Figure 8.
It is important to always remember to re-import all projects after assigning a new baseline. If you do not your metric results will be wrong. After re-importing all projects, we continue and select S2 // Diagnostics. In the bottom playlist we select Baseline Compliance. Then we double click on the January snapshot, Figure 9.
Click the Fuse button to perform the Baseline Compliance metric group analysis.
Baseline Compliance Metrics Demonstration Results
In Figure 10 we have the Acumen Fuse Phase Analyzer tabulated output of the Baseline Compliance metric group for our demonstration project.
This Phase Analyzer output lists how each metric performed for the January snapshot. It continues and shows the domino effect of this January progress on the current expected achievement for the remaining reporting periods. This supports summary presentation of the January update and current plan for the life of the project.
Each metric in the Baseline Compliance metric group lists how each activity performed in relation to the reporting period and not the exact baseline dates. This means an activity that had a delayed start/finish in relation to its baseline, but never-the-less started/finished in the January snapshot reporting period is considered an on time start/finish.
The thresholds are colored so that results color from good to bad or green-yellow-orange-red. This makes quick review of metrics possible. Of course, a red indicator on Start/ed or Finished/ed Early metrics merely indicates that few to none started/finished early and does not necessarily warn that there is a problem in the schedule. It just means an opportunity for an early start/finish was not realized.
Further, note that the Start/ed Early metric is only measured in the period the baseline starts and the Finish/ed Early metric is only measured in the period the baseline finishes. This means you must look in the February reporting period to see any January reflected early starts/finishes.
The fifteen Baseline Compliance metrics are as follows:
- Scheduled/Baselined to Start – The number of baseline-starts in the current period.
- Scheduled/Baselined to Finish – The number of baseline-finishes in the current period.
- Start/ed – The number of activity-starts in the current period.
- Finish/ed – The number of activity-finishes in the current period.
- Start/ed on Time – The number of activity-starts in the expected baselined period.
- Start/ed Early – The number of activity-starts before the expected baselined period.
- Start/ed Late – The number of activity-starts after the expected baselined period.
- Finish/ed on Time – The number of activity-finishes in the expected baselined period.
- Finish/ed Early – The number of activity-finishes before the expected baselined period.
- Finish/ed Late – The number of activity-finishes after the expected baselined period.
- Start/ed on Time Finished Late – The number of activity-starts in the expected baselined period with activity-finishes after the expected baselined period.
- Start Variance – All activity-starts either before or after the expected baselined period.
- Start Compliance – Percentage of activities that start/ed and were supposed to start in the expected baselined period.
- Finish Variance – All activity-finishes either before or after the expected baselined period.
- Finish Compliance – Percentage of activities that finish/ed and were supposed to finish in the expected baselined period.
Baseline Compliance Metrics 1 to 4
The first four Baseline Compliance metrics are helpful for looking at the schedule’s planned baseline starts/finishes compared to the actual starts/finishes in each interval. When looked at together these metrics summarize the on-target execution of planned efforts. Compare the ‘Scheduled/Baselined to Start’ metric to the Start/ed and the ‘Scheduled/Baselined to Finish’ metric to the Finish/ed.
Baseline Compliance Metrics 5 to 7
The next three metrics focus in on inspecting activity starts, as a measure of a healthy project’s timely execution. The adage “projects that do not begin well do not end well” is most often true. A schedule that begins poorly could indicate a project in major trouble.
Baseline Compliance Metrics 8 to 10
Three more metrics look at activity finishes. It is always easier to begin an effort rather than complete it, therefore, monitoring activity finishes provides a more conservative panorama of progress. The main setback to inspecting finishes is that they come later in the project execution process, so these metrics are not early warning indicators.
Baseline Compliance Metric 11
Continuing, the ‘Start/ed on Time Finish Late’ metric highlights good intentioned efforts that began well but did not have a timely finish. This is an important metric. It specifically tracks problems with effort follow-through.
Baseline Compliance Metrics 12 and 13
The ‘Start Variance’ metric is simply a gage of how often starts are not to plan. It combines both early and late starts in a single metric. I would not necessarily consider early starts a negative, but this metric is a measure of how closely the project’s commencements line up to the original plan. On the other side, the ‘Start Compliance’ metric measures how often starts are according to plan. It is a percentage.
Baseline Compliance Metrics 14 and 15
The ‘Finish Variance’ measures the reporting period’s early and late finishes in a single metric. It quantifies completions not to the plan. And an early finish is not bad, it just was not the original expectation. Finally, the ‘Finish Compliance’ metric is the percentage of activities finishing on time as planned, which, again, is a conservative metric.
The Acumen Fuse tabulation and color coding support the rapid finding and summary of project issues. The Baseline Compliance metric group tabulates schedule activity progress. Once the scheduler gains confidence in the ability of the Baseline Compliance metric group to accurately monitor the starts/finishes of activities in relation to the baseline, Acumen Fuse becomes a quick and early warning detector of rising issues in the schedule.
Metric results are presented not only for a respective snapshot, but they are also displayed for the following intervals thereby showing the domino effect of that update’s performance. The starts metrics find schedules headed for trouble early in the progressing phase. Although captured later in project execution, the more conservative finishes metrics can provide assurance that a schedule is doing well.