I'm using Microsoft Project 2007 for the first time to produce a plan and track multiple workstreams. This includes developers which is straight forward and an editorial team which is new for me.

The main area I'm struggling to find a clear way to compare original estimates with actual time spent, with the multiple adjustments tracked. My main aims to highlight areas where we need attention and then to go on to adjust other estimates to make a more reflective schedule.

I know baselines are made for this very thing, however I feel like I would need to update it more than 9 or so times.

I am currently using milestones to log the original estimates and file versioning to record the progress with the plan to help my estimations.

I know there are lots of ways to do this sort of thing with project, however is there a clear or common way to achieve this sort of updating and tracking?

  • I'm still not entirely sure what the problem is. Why don't baselines work? why can't you use actual finish/scheduled finish/finish/baseline finish?
    – MCW
    Aug 15, 2013 at 16:34
  • Hi Mark, thanks for looking into the question. I guess the main restriction is being able to only set 9 or so baselines. I haven't got all my estimates back for my later stages of the project so I'm concerned that I'm going to run out of options to track these changes.
    – brakes
    Aug 15, 2013 at 17:26
  • 2
    Why do you need to track more than 3 baselines (original baseline, Projected baseline and current baseline)? (and original is only useful at project end). All the discussion should be about the variance between what we projected and where we are now. Once the issues that caused that variation have been resolved & submitted to change control, update the projected baseline and continue to measure only the difference between projected & current. At the end of the project, during lessons learned, take a look at Original vs final. (I'm not arguing, simply trying to clarify.)
    – MCW
    Aug 15, 2013 at 18:09
  • Hi Mark, thanks again for replying. As someone new to using the program itself my question relates back to the available options for me to meet this need. The need for lots of baselines is related to adjusted estimates as work through the project and areas where estimates are unattainable at this stage.
    – brakes
    Aug 15, 2013 at 22:10
  • I think this is one of the places where CodeGnome's Law applies - determine/clarify what you want to track first, then choose techology that will assist. I'm still not sure (based on the information in the question) that I understand what you're doing with adjusted estimates, and what the workflow/issues/problems are.
    – MCW
    Aug 16, 2013 at 10:23

2 Answers 2


As a suggestion - have you considered using partial baselines - working with a more 'rolling wave' approach? Create the baseline for selected tasks before you start work on the tasks, later tasks which may still have a high degree of uncertainty are not baselined until the estimates are within a agreed upon range of probability.

Creating multiple copies of the file won't really help. You can use the "Compare Project Versions" feature but you will quickly run out of options there - you cannot compare 9 different versions of the file.


You are suffering from clugy estimating and scheduling disease. There is a discipline around this scheduling and your draft indicates a lack of understanding in this area and the rules around managing your performance management baseline. There would be no real answer to your question because what you are asking to do, I think if I understand you correctly, would violate a ton of rules.

You need to understand what a performance management baseline is, what it means to have variances (you will always have variances; the goal is NOT to be variance free), what it means to replan and rebaseline and the rules when they are allowed (e.g., you do not rebaseline to remove variances!!), and what your original baseline means after you have approved changes (i.e., discard it and forget it as if it never existed!).

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