Five Options to Re-Baseline a Project that is Off the Tracks

Sunday, August 28, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Is your project off the tracks and in a “red” status? Let’s assume you have tried all your project management tricks and you can no longer meet your initial expectations for scope, schedule or budget.

If that is the case, you need to re-baseline. This will require taking one or more of the following steps.

Re-Baseline Project

  • Option 1: Re-schedule

    At the start of the project you will have agreed to deliver the project within a fixed schedule.

    If this schedule is no longer achievable, your best to raise it with your sponsor as soon as possible and get them to agree to a new deadline date that is more achievable.

    Do this by creating a new schedule forecast and presenting to the sponsor.

    Once you gain approval, re-plan the work so that the new delivery date is hit.

    You will only want to reschedule once during the project, otherwise you’ll be sending an implicit message to your team that late delivery is acceptable.

  • Option 2: Add staff

    If you have sufficient budget in your Financial Plan but insufficient resources, you need to apply more people, equipment or materials to complete the work.

    You can seek additional resource from within your business, external recruitment, hiring contractors or outsourcing suppliers as required.

  • Option 3: Find more money

    You need to present the case to your Sponsor for additional funds for the completion of the project.

    It may not be easy, but you are off the tracks and something needs to give. At this point you simply cannot deliver the current scope of work for the current budget.

  • Option 4: Reduce the scope

    Often the scope of a project is not well defined, which makes it difficult to deliver.

    Before you know it, you end up working on scope much broader than you estimated.

    Another problem encountered on many projects is a lack of rigorous scope change management. In this case you still end up delivering more than you estimated.

    If your project is off the track, you may need to re-scope,. This usually means de-scoping – removing scope from your project. In this case perhaps the current schedule and budget can remain in place – but you will deliver less scope for this same schedule and budget.

  • Option 5: Cancel the project

    When you have to re-baseline the project, it is also an opportunity to check the business case.

    It is possible that adding more time or money, or reducing scope, will result in the business case no longer being attractive. In that case the project should be cancelled since it no longer makes business sense.

By taking these steps to manage your schedule, budget and scope, you will be able to put your project back on track and ensure you deliver within the new budget, schedule and scope agreed with your Sponsor.

(Assuming you did not take the cancellation option.) You will not be considered fully successful since you were not able to deliver within the original expectations. You will be considered “challenged”. But you at least have a chance to finish the work.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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