How Integrated Baseline Reviews (IBRs) Contribute to Project Success

by Humphreys & Associates | November 2, 2022 10:06 am

What is an Integrated Baseline Review or IBR?

An IBR is a formal review of a contractor’s performance measurement baseline (PMB) a customer conducts shortly after contract award or other project events to gain confidence in the contractor’s ability to deliver and meet contract objectives. Conducting an IBR helps to assure there is mutual agreement on the scope of work, schedule, resource requirements, and budget to meet the customer’s needs. It also assures there is a mutual understanding of the project’s risks and opportunities as well as how they will be managed.

Conducting an IBR is often a contractual requirement along with the requirement to implement an earned value management system (EVMS). Contractual documents specify the time frame for when the IBR must occur after contract award. This is typically within 90 to 180 calendar days. A customer may also conduct an IBR at critical milestones, funding gates, when transitioning to another project phase, or when significant changes are incorporated into a PMB.

What an IBR is Not

An IBR is not an EVMS compliance review. The intent of an IBR is not to devolve into a review of the contractor’s EVMS and whether it complies with the EIA-748 Standard for EVMS guidelines. That said, the contractor must be able to demonstrate they have a disciplined project control system in place. The contractor should be able to demonstrate to the customer that the project’s scope of work is properly planned, scheduled, resourced, budgeted, authorized, and managed using their project control system.

What are the benefits of conducting an IBR?

Conducting an IBR contributes to successful project execution because it helps to ensure a realistic PMB has been established.

IBRs provide the opportunity for the contractor and customer to verify:

Why it is important to verify these details during an IBR?

A realistic schedule and budget plan helps to prevent cost growth surprises because of technical, schedule, or budget challenges. The better the up-front planning, the less the likelihood of cost growth during project execution. It also increases credibility with the customer. The contractor can demonstrate their ability to deliver to the customer needs and manage the work effectively.

Benefits of Preparing for an IBR

Establishing a project’s PMB is a significant and often formal event as it signals the transition from the planning to execution phase. It represents the culmination of the integrated planning, scheduling, budgeting, work authorization, and risk/opportunity management processes.

A common best practice is to conduct an internal baseline review regardless of whether a formal IBR with the customer is required prior to setting the PMB. Implementing a standard process to conduct an internal review of the complete set of project data and artifacts with the project personnel assures an executable schedule and budget plan has been established to accomplish the contractual scope of work within the contractual period of performance and negotiated contract cost in alignment with the contract’s funding profile.

These internal reviews help to ensure there is a common understanding of the scope of work, major project events, planned sequence of work, schedule of deliverables, resource requirements, time phased budget, funding profile, and project risks/opportunities. It also provides an opportunity to verify the quality of the integrated schedule and cost data as well as top down and bottom up traceability. 

Need help preparing for an IBR?

A common earned value consulting service H&A provides is conducting a mock IBR with project personnel to prepare for the formal customer IBR. The objective is to conduct a thorough assessment of the project’s PMB to verify it reflects the entire contractual scope of work and technical requirements as well as identified technical, schedule, cost, or resource risks that may impact the ability to execute the work as planned. This provides an opportunity to correct any issues with the PMB prior to the IBR event.

Another standard earned value consulting service we offer is conducting IBR training for project team members. H&A earned value consultants can help you to establish a standard internal process to verify an executable PMB is in place for a given project. Once again, the objective is to prevent cost growth surprises and management is aware of the project’s risks and opportunities that may impact profit margins. 

Call us today at (714) 685-1730 to get started. 

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