The Scope Baseline

microscopeI’m studying for the PMP exam, and I’m using the PMPrepcast to study. I actually found one point to disagree with Cornelius Fitchner on today! (That doesn’t usually happen!)

In the Scope Control podcast, he talks about the “updates to the scope baseline” as being redundant, since the process also produces updates to all 3 components that make up the scope baseline:

1. WBS
2. WBS Dictionary
3. Scope Statement

I disagree that the “scope baseline update” is redundant.

Although the scope baseline is comprised of these three things, it is actually a separate entity itself. It specifies the exact version of each of these three components that make it up. And, it should be configuration controlled just like it’s constituent pieces, requiring customer approval for change.

If you have any background in software development, this analogy may help. When you make updates to several modules within a software application, those updates result in new versions of the modules, and collectively those changes result in a new version release of the software application. Even though the sum of the module updates exactly equals the sum total of changes to the overall application, there is no pointer or index for the changes without the version control on the application itself.

Do you agree, or am I way off base here?

About the author

JoshNankivel Josh Nankivel is a Project Planning & Controls Control Account Manager and contractor for the ground system of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, a joint project between the USGS and NASA. His academic background includes a BS in Project Management, summa cum laude.  He can be found writing and contributing in many places within the project management community, and his primary project management website is located at


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