Ensuring Project Schedule Adherence with the Baseline Execution Index

construction project management spreadsheets and plans

What is the Baseline Execution Index?  

The Baseline Execution Index (BEI), also known as Schedule Adherence, is an industry best practice metric used to measure schedule task throughput. It compares cumulative execution against the cumulative baseline plan.

What is the Baseline?

Best practices in scheduling include a process to baseline a project. This is a fixed reference point to assess performance against. A baseline is usually collected at the start of a project, during phase approvals, when major scope changes occur, and at specific instances within time. For example, a baseline could be captured to reflect a Fiscal Year Plan.  

How is BEI Calculated?  

The most basic version of the BEI calculation is as follows:

Total number of tasks completed / Total number of tasks baselined to complete by status date.

How Do You Interpret BEI?  

The BEI value could be:

BEI = 1.0 – Number of tasks completed is equal to the number of tasks that were planned to be completed up to the status date. Things are progressing as planned.  

BEI < 1.0 – Number of tasks completed is less than the number of tasks that were planned to be completed up to the status date. Things are behind schedule.

BEI > 1.0 – Number of tasks completed is greater than the number of tasks that were planned to be completed up to the status date. Things are ahead of schedule.

Sources like DCMA guidelines say that a value of 0.95 or better is the target value for BEI.  

Why BEI?  

The baseline execution index is a defined metric in the DCMA 14-Point Schedule Assessment. This is a project management guideline containing 14 metrics that provide recommendations for qualitative and quantitative schedule evaluations. The DCMA refers to the Defense Contract Management Agency and was developed for project controls in the defense industry. This assessment and its metrics have been widely adopted for project controls across industries.

How is this Beneficial for Capital Program Management?  

The BEI is one of the best early warning indicators of schedule issues and is especially useful at the program level. It is very common for projects to shift within a portfolio. BEI provides insight at the programmatic level, allowing for these shifts to occur without losing sight of total production.  

Here is an example for an Issue for Construction Milestone (IFS) with a status date of May 30th:  

Baseline Execution Index table

Using the above project data, the number of completions is four (4) and the baselined plan completions is also four (4). Therefore: BEI = 1.0

At a program level, total completions are on-track. At the detailed level, one project IFC occurred early, and one is tracking to complete late. Why is this important? It provides engineers, project managers and project teams with some flexibility to shift work as needed to meet demand, properly utilize resources and adjust to any project delays that cannot be mitigated.  

How is this Displayed on Reports?

Below is an example from a Scheduling and Planning Report. This snapshot is saying that, at this point in time, the BEI for 275 design completions is 0.96 which is good. This number is calculated by dividing the total complete (243) by the planned completions (253).  

The boxes in the lower left represent the 32 activities that have not yet been completed. Of those 32, 20 are still tracking to complete per the baseline plan and 12 are tracking to complete late. Those are not part of the BEI but give additional insight into what is left and will help determine if action or mitigation is needed.

Engineering Design dashboard

by Kaylyn Mickelson, Director of Business Intelligence, PFES

with contributions from Stephen Taipala, Director of Project Controls, PFES

May 9, 2024
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