An Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) may for some seem like an overwhelming event, particularly if your organization has never conducted one before. This is a common situation for commercial organizations that are venturing into the government contracting world or are now encountering Earned Value Management (EVM) mandated contractual requirements. These requirements typically appear in contracts that are over $20M, but that figure can vary depending on the agency that is funding the acquisition. For more examples of the different thresholds by agency, see the table in our Earned Value Management Services article.
So what is an Integrated Baseline Review (IBR)?
An IBR is a formal event in which the contractor and the client’s Project team meet for a detailed review of the Earned Value Management System (EVMS) that will be used to report on the project’s progress, status and cost. An IBR typically takes place somewhere between 90 and 180 days after Authorization To Proceed (ATP) has been granted by the client. This period provides the contractor time to implement their EVMS and document the system description, a critical process document that will feature at the center of the IBR.
The team involved in the IBR typically includes such roles as Program Managers, Project Managers, Schedulers and Control Account Manager’s (CAM’s). During the IBR these team members will be interviewed by the customer to determine their level of EVM knowledge. They will also discuss the details of the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) and discuss, assess and mitigate any risks identified by the contractor. In order for the client to have confidence, they also typically review the CAM Notebooks, EVMS compliance and implementation plans as well as related management processes set out in the system description.
From the client’s perspective, the IBR should answer the following questions:
- Has this contractor bought into the concept of Earned Value Management?
- Is each member of the project team adequately trained to manage their respective portion of the EVMS?
- Does the system description adequately capture all aspects of the process?
- Do the contractor’s systems demonstrate true integration between the schedule, financial and EVM systems?
- Does the contractor’s Performance Management Baseline (PMB) appear rational and realistic?
- Does the PMB capture the entire scope of work to complete the project?
The bottom line is this: the client wants confidence that the contracting organization is on board with EVM, has a good understanding of it, has developed an integrated system to support it and will communicate in an honest and forthright way as the project moves forward.
Typical IBR Duration
Depending on the size of the project and the client’s requirements, an IBR can be a one day event or it can go for three or four days.
Integrated Baseline Review Preparation
For organizations that are new to IBRs, it is common practice to hire consultants who have lived through the process and can provide invaluable advice, experience and training to the project team. Such consultants should be hired as early as possible to maximize the opportunity to guide team members through all aspects of the system design, earned value techniques and IBR counseling. They should be able to offer training in fundamental scheduling, forecasting, budgeting, earned value management techniques and tools; all of which are focused on making the best possible impression to the customer during the IBR.
If you are in the process of preparing for an IBR, Ten Six can provide experienced consultants to help you not only survive the event, but triumph. You can learn more about our capabilities by clicking here.
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