One of the most important aspects of your projects is staying on track with your timeline. It's critical to finish the project on time and to reach all of your milestone deadlines on the way. But we understand as much as you that sometimes unanticipated twists and turns can throw your project off of its trajectory. And that's why we've created the baseline! Let's go through this Gantt feature together to understand how we can take a baseline snapshot to always keep an eye on where our project stands and how to get back on track no matter what comes up!
What is a baseline?
A baseline is used in project management to outline the target schedule of the project. Once a baseline is established, it can be used as a frame of reference to compare the current project progression after any delays or changes in the original schedule occurred. It's a great way to visually understand the project's overall progression over time. On monday.com, we can add a baseline to our Gantt View or Gantt Widget to help us assess our project and make adjustments when necessary! It's best to add a baseline at the beginning of a project so that it can be a reference point throughout the project's lifetime. Let's learn how to add it!
How to add a baseline
Before we can add a baseline, we need to set up a Gantt View or Widget! Once we set up our Gantt to display exactly what our baseline is, we are ready to take a snapshot! To get started, let's click the 'Baseline' button in our header.
Clicking the 'Baseline' button will redirect us to a new baseline settings section at the bottom of our right-panel settings menu. Let's take a look over there.
If we have other baselines, we will see a list of all of our existing baselines, named after the time column they reflect and the date they were created on! We can select the baselines we'd like to view to compare where our projects stood at certain time periods.
If this is our first baseline, we won't see anything in this section besides the option to 'Create a new snapshot'. Let's click here!
Once we click this button, we'll see a pop-up window explaining what happens next. We can click 'Add baseline' to continue.
How are timeline changes reflected?
When a baseline is created, our items are turned into a grey snapshot that remains locked in position no matter what happens to the timeline of our items along the way.
When all of our items are on track, they are shown in green. When we delay or extend the length of one of our items, it turns red along with any dependent items. No matter if our items are on time or late, our baseline will always remain locked in place as a grey shadow above our items so that we will always be able to refer back to our baseline to see when everything was planned to be executed.
Now that we have our baseline added to our Gantt, let's take a look at some of the settings and understand how it works.
- Color by status
If we are not viewing a baseline on our Gantt chart, we have the option to color our items by many different parameters. However, when viewing a baseline, the 'Color by' setting is automatically disabled and our items are colored based on their status in relation to our baseline.
The baseline will always be shown as a grey shadow above the item in exactly the position that it was in when the snapshot was taken. If an item is on time, it will appear in green, and if an item is late, it will be red. There's a legend at the bottom of the screen to help us out if we ever forget what the colors mean!
- Hide and show baseline
We can toggle easily between our baseline and our current Gantt chart by clicking 'Show baseline' or 'Hide' from the bottom of our settings menu.
- Compare baselines
We can also switch between different baseline snapshots by ticking and unticking the box beside the name of the baseline. This is especially useful if we want to compare snapshots from different stages in the project or if we are using the widget and want to compare different projects.
If we have no baselines selected, we will see where our items stand currently in a light grey with no dark grey baseline to compare them with. There's a legend at the bottom of our screen if we forget what the colors represent! If you want to return to your regular colored Gantt chart, just click 'Hide' to turn off baseline mode.
What happens to my board?
Our Gantt View or Gantt Widget are not the only things that change once we add a baseline. There are a few changes that occur in our board as well! Let's take a look at those changes.
- The time column is duplicated
When a baseline is created, we are essentially taking a snapshot of the time column that our Gantt chart is based on. But we know that along the way, there may be changes to these items due to delays. To make sure that our baseline stays in place while still allowing us to make all necessary changes in the future, this feature automatically duplicates the time column/s on our board and locks them in place. This way, there is always one Date or Timeline Column reflecting the original dates, while the other Date or Timeline Column reflects the current situation.
- Formula Column is created
The second change that occurs within our board once we've added a baseline is the addition of a Formula Column. Now that we have a column showing us the original date/s and a column showing the current date/s, we may want to understand what the difference is. The Formula Column is automatically created to calculate the difference in days between the dates in these two columns!
The Formula Column is locked, meaning that we cannot make any manual changes.
If you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Customer Success Team anytime. We are here for you 24/7 and love to hear from you!