It has been more than a decade since I started my professional life and as time passes by, I find more and more planners –particularly those working with The Engineer or The Project Manager– embracing the belief that the baseline programme is a sacred heavenly creature, once approved, should be kept in formalin to protect it from change.

I agree, this will preserve the tissues but not the heart and soul of its purpose.

As a result of that misconception, those believers ask the contractor’s planning engineers to stick to that dull -but approved- baseline for official submittals and prepare another version of the project schedule to realistically be able to measure progress and to extract all other schedule information!!! why -in the hell- should I double my effort just to serve a faulty understandings.

Before accusing me for blasphemy, let us first define what a baseline is; A baseline schedule shows the one method and order of work that the project team adopted from many other methods and sequences to achieve the project deliverables, Accordingly, it acts as the initial understanding of how project will be delivered ONLY at that point of time.

Modern construction projects have a very dynamic nature, changes happen, unexpected challenges emerge without giving alarm; how could a static baseline stands against all these dynamic odds? eventually, it will collapse.

It is like trying to fly to the moon with a kite.

I believe that project schedule success hinges upon the portion of flexibility allowed for it, to preserve its ability to light the road ahead of the project team.

One the most successful projects I worked on, was a project with the US Army, Corps of Engineers, a maximum flexibility was allowed, I remember on the 4th or 5th update when I had to change all remaining activities on the as-planned side of schedule because we changed the method of construction due to changes in materials.

I know that the Engineer/Project Manager is afraid of schedule manipulation, but knowing that most projects in the middle east region 1) are not depending on the project schedules as an invoicing tool, 2) all time extension claims methodologies are not mentioned in the contract, and in most cases the contractor adopts the method that serves his purpose, it is kind of free styling. 3) the Engineer/Project Manager does not give an approval on interim updates, why don’t we adopt flexibility that will keep us managing our projects with lights ON.


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