Handling Baselines In Project When Deleting a Task

Iron Contributor

I removed a couple tasks from my MS Project plan, and then started to wonder if by deleting the task, that project would automatically adjust the baseline, but I don't think that's the case, is it?  If I have a baselined project and then a task needs to be removed, I'm guessing I would first need to Clear the baseline for the task I am going to delete, and then delete the task.  Right?


Because I deleted the task first though, I think I will have to go back and set the baseline again, do I choose for Entire Project though, or just selected tasks, those being ones that are in progress or not yet started?

5 Replies
JBLT83 --

I strongly recommend that you cancel unneeded tasks that have been baselined, rather than deleting them. Refer to the following blog post article I wrote on this exact subject:


Hope this helps.


Baseline data is static, that is, it does not readjust automatically. Earned value metrics on the other hand do adjust automatically based on progress.


Unless you want to re-baseline everything, I suggest you only re-baseline rollup tasks (i.e. summary lines) that were impacted by the deleted tasks. Doing so will alter earned value metrics, (i.e. they may show better or worse performance compared to performance prior to task deletion), but the partial reset will reflect the current plan. You could also set an interim baseline with selected tasks.


Keep in mind that re-setting the baseline on the whole project may not be the desired approach since the plan may have changed regardless of whether tasks show progress or not.


Hope this helps.


@Dale_HowardMVP Unfortunately I'm using project standard so I can't inactivate a task by simply checking a box.  The steps for project standard seem too cumbersome.  

@John-project So I tried your suggestion by just resetting the baseline on the selected summary task that contained the sub-task I deleted.  Unfortunately, I didn't create a new project version and then delete the task and then set the baseline again for just the impacted summary task which I probably should have done first.  So, I can't tell what values would have changed in the overall baseline.   Probably the baseline work and EVM values would change.  There is no change in the summary tasks because they are fixed duration / Agile Sprints.   So, I think the correct steps should a change occur again resulting in the deleting of a task is: 

1. Create a new project schedule version

2. Delete the child task

3. Set Baseline using selected tasks only option on the summary task that the child task was a part of

Your opening post said you already deleted the task(s) but yes, it's good practice to periodically save a plan (with some type of date stamp) even though you set a baseline.

You won't know or see changes in earned value metrics until progress is updated.

Regardless of whether summary lines are set as fixed duration, re-setting the baseline may not change Baseline Start and Baseline Finish fields but if there was cost associated with the performance task(s) that were deleted, the Baseline Cost field will change.