A baseline is used to ensure all parties have a single source of truth to make decisions and progress work. It ensures the prime, integrator and subcontractors all move in the same direction and keep all interfaces aligned. Our goal is to ensure we provide that single source of truth at the lowest possible cost and risk.
It would be ideal to have a single project baseline and this happens at major milestones. We publish consistent baselines at every design review (PDR, CDR, etc.). These published baselines are essential to ensure everyone is aligned before proceeding to the next phase.
You can ensure design coherence by not authorizing any changes until all subcontractors and the prime approve. Essentially, you're creating a milestone baseline at each and every change. However, this will slow down the rate of change considerably. If you're still in a fluid phase of design, you'll quickly be overwhelmed by a backlog of needed changes. If not managed carefully you'll build a technical debt that will be very difficult to clear prior to the next major review milestone. This can lead to schedule delays and cost over runs.
-Michael Sepa, P.Eng
23 Sept 2014
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