What Is a Project Scope Baseline & How to Create One?


Learn what is a project scope baseline and how to make one. In this video, our host Jennifer Bridges PMP explains how to define the project scope and why it is important to create a scope baseline for your projects.

But before we move into that, let’s start with the definition of a project scope baseline.

What Is a Scope Baseline?

A scope baseline is an approved version of your project scope, which is documented in a scope statement, work breakdown structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary. The scope baseline is used as a reference to monitor project progress and compare actual versus planned results.

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Project Scope Template

Use this free Project Scope Template for Word to manage your projects better.


How to Create a Scope Baseline

Creating a project scope baseline it’s easy, just follow these simple steps. In the video below, Jennifer talked about project baselines and what they mean for project managers. Project baselines, like a scope or schedule baseline, allow you to set a comparative performance standard for your project to measure planned versus actual dates.

Here are the main steps you should follow to create an effective scope baseline that will help you avoid project risks such as scope creep, cost overruns or delays in your project schedule.

  1. Create a work breakdown structure and a WBS dictionary
  2. Define your project scope
  3. Create a scope statement
  4. Get your work breakdown structure, WBS dictionary and scope statement approved by the project stakeholders
  5. Once your scope management documents are approved, your scope baseline is ready
  6. Create a scope management plan to monitor scope and avoid common issues such as scope creep
  7. Create a change management plan to control changes to the project scope

So, as Jennifer said, project baselines are the most important project management tool to track cost, schedule and scope performance. That’s why making a project baseline can truly mean the difference between success and failure.

Thanks for watching! Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

Baselining Project Scope

Project Scope Template

This free project scope template for Word allows you to identify the tasks, deliverables, constraints and costs of your project which is very useful when establishing a scope baseline.

Pro tip: By using advanced project scheduling software like ProjectManager, you can create baselines to keep your projects on track. If a project is well out of scope, it might be necessary to reallocate resources to balance the triple constraint, or if that’s not possible you can re-baseline the project.