Project Baseline

The Forecast Baseline feature enables you to pre-plan your projects to create a realistic proposal for your clients, use this as a baseline for your scoping and avoid scope creep.

Main takeaways

With Baseline you get an additional level in your financial monitoring. Calculate or transfer your proposal into Forecast, scope out your project based on this and compare it to your actuals when the project is running. Baseline makes sure you and your team do not plan and deliver more work than actually sold to your client.


Please note:

  • The Baseline feature is included in the Plus plan. If you are on a Pro or Lite plan you will not be able to access the feature. If you would like to try it out please contact your CXM or support@forecast.app.
  • The Baseline feature is a financial feature and therefore only available to users with Admin or Controller permission level.

 

Create a Baseline in your project

You can enable Baseline in your Fixed Price and Time & Material projects. Baseline is not available for Retainer projects.

Step 1 Enable Baseline when creating a new project in the advanced settings section of the create new project modal.

Step 2 In an existing project you can enable Baseline in the project settings.

Enable Baseline Settings

Step 3 When Baseline is enabled you will find a new tab in your project navigation, called Baseline. In the Baseline tab you will be able to create milestones and estimate the work  of your project milestones on the role level. Create a milestone by clicking on the New Milestone button.

Add Milestone

Step 4 The milestones that you have created in your Baseline will automatically be added to your Scoping page (see Use Baseline when Scoping Projects). You can now add your work expectations to your milestones in the Baseline tab.

You can put in the expected amount of hours by role and the expected expenses for this milestone.

Baseline Milestone Hours & Expense-2

When adding the expected work by role for a milestone the revenue for that milestone will automatically be calculated based on the rate card assigned to the project.

(Read more about the Baseline calculations)

Baseline Settings

When using the Baseline in your project you can take advantage of some advanced settings.

You can find the Baseline settings in the Baseline tab of your project.

Baseline Settings Button

In the Baseline settings you find the following options you can set for this specific project:

Project Win Probability:

With the win probability setting you can indicate how likely it is that this specfic project will happen. The win probabiltiy is set in % and is taken into account in the Project Portfolio Report. The Baseline numbers in the Project Portfolio Report will be multiplied by the win probability to give you an insight on the current potetntial of the project.

Fixed Price / Baseline Target:

In a fixed price project this field will display the set fixed price for the project. You can change the price from here

In a Time & Materials project you can also set a target price for the project, which will be displayed in your Baseline Totals so you can always keep an eye on your target price while planning out your project Baseline.

Rate Card:

 Change the rate card of your project here so you can see how the expected revenue, and profitability of the project looks like when apply a different set of rates.

Time Estimation Units:

Here you can select the unit in which you want to estimate your project Baseline. If hours are too granular for your Baseline estimations, you can select here that you want to estimate you Baseline in days. When you chose the days option, you can put in how many hours a day should repreent in your calculation.

Please note that this estimation unit only applies to the Baseline and not the Scoping of your project.

Internal Cost Calculation:

The Baseline also gives you an expected cost for the project, based on the work estimates you put in to the milestones.

However, this estimation is based on roles and not specific team members. This is why you can select how the cost should be calculated for your project's Baseline.

You can set the cost calculation to :

  • company averages - taking into account everybody's cost that has the same role
  • project team averages - taking into account only the team members that are assigned to the project
  • fixed internal hourly cosy  

Baseline calculations

Baseline Totals: 

Baseline Totals

Your Baseline totals are displayed at the top of your Baseline tab.

Project dates = The dates that you put in when you created the project

Total Work Estimate = Total of all hours you have estimated in your Baseline

Total Baseline Cost = The expected cost of the project; it is calculated based your internal hourly cost settings

Total Baseline Revenue = the Total Work Estimate multiplied by the rate associated to the role

Total Baseline Profit = Total Baseline Revenue - Total Baseline Cost

Fixed Price / Baseline Target = Fixed price set for your fixed price projects or Baseline target set for your Time & Material projects

Difference = How much of your fixed price / target you can still estimate in work

Use Baseline when Scoping Projects

One of the biggest challenges Project Managers face when Scoping a project is understanding what has been sold to a client. Often, the PM only sees a lump sum assigned to the project budget, without enough context as to why it’s set that way.

Baseline allows the Project Manager to see the prices agreed with the client for each stage of the project, and ensure the Project Scope is able to deliver the client's vision on time and on budget. 

Step 1 Create a Baseline for your project.

Step 2 Open the Scoping Tab, and you will see the milestones you already created in the Baseline page pre-populated. 

Scope out your tasks for each milestone, assigning roles and a time estimate for each task. 

Step 3 As you add tasks to your milestones, the estimated hours will be calculated. 

With Baseline enabled, the hours budgeted to complete each milestone at the Opportunity stage are populated directly underneath the scoped estimated hours. 

As you scope your milestones, you can compare the estimated hours against what has been sold to the client to ensure your teams are aligned from the start:

You can also compare the total Estimated Hours for the whole project against the Baseline:

Project and Monitor your Project Financials with Baseline

Baseline offers you the ability to forecast financial pipeline based on the volume and probability of closing the deal. 

If you open the Budget Tab with Baseline enabled, you will now see a blue dotted line which shows you your Baseline. This can be used to compare against your planned and actual revenue as your project progresses. 

Your Baseline is also displayed in the project totals table (If you do not see it, you can enable it in the eye icon):

For a detailed breakdown of your Baseline by milestone, scroll down to the tables section. 

Baseline also gives you visibility of your future finances at the portfolio level. 

Navigate to reports, and open the project portfolio report. 

Your project Baselines are displayed alongside your actuals and remaining financials.

 

Related articles: 

Project Scoping

Project Budget

Project Portfolio Report