Create a Baseline
With a baseline, you can save exactly what the project looks like today. Then, as the project progress begins, you can track the tasks and their progress, allowing you to make a comparison later. With this comparison, you can display where the project currently is on top of the project baseline.
In this way you can see throughout the duration of the project (and, maybe more important, at the end of the project) how far off you are in the projections that you made during the project planning process. Seeing where your project stands compared to the plan helps you decide what steps to take to get the project back on track. The best thing that we have going for us as project managers is experience and learning lessons from past projects. Baselines allow you to do that not only throughout the duration of the project but also at the end of the project, so that if a similar project comes up later, you have a plan of reference.
In your baseline plan you will store variables such as plan start dates, finish dates, how much you think a task is going to cost, resources, and your resource assignments. Essentially, your entire plan as it stands at the point is saved within the baseline. To save a baseline, follow these steps:
Choose Tools, Tracking, and then Set Baseline.
In the Set Baseline dialog box, accept the defaults and click OK.