Microsoft Project Interim Plan Meaning & Usage

Interim Plan Meaning And Usage In Microsoft Project

According to Microsoft’s Support Page an Interim Plan Meaning and Usage thereof is this.

“An interim plan is a set of current project data that you save after the project begins and that you can compare against the baseline to assess project progress. An interim plan saves only two kinds of information: the current start dates and finish dates for tasks. You can set up to 10 interim plans for a project.”

Basically an interim plan is similar to a baseline. But is applied after tracking has begun.

In this article, we will look at the usage of  interim plans and the Interim Plan meaning to your project overall, and then to view that Interim Plan in your Gantt Chart view. But first lets talk about Baselines.

Set a Baseline in MS Project

In order to Save a Baseline. Click on the Project TAB and Set Baseline in the Schedule Group.

When to set a Baseline

This is done just before you start tracking your tasks.

The question is the asked. Why are we able to save 11 Baselines?

In short, this is so that the project team can measure static changes during the planning stage. I other words. The project manager may come up with an initial plan, but after some constraints either in Costing, Staff, Materials etc.. She may decide that the project may take longer in some areas than originally though. So changes need to be made to the plan. It is wise at this point for the project manager to save a 2nd baseline so as to compared to their original plan. this will help her with future planning. If it is a really large project they may have several planning changes, before final approval.

Okay, then why can’t I use a baseline after tracking?

 The answer is you can use a baseline after tracking. Project Managers are using baselines in a way similar to Interim Plans.

With that in mind it is still important to understand and know about Interim Plans are and the Interim Plan Meaning in your project. This article will also help those using Microsoft Project to customize the project plan

Saving an Interim Plan

You can save an interim using the similar steps to saving a Baseline.

Project > Schedule > Set Baseline

Interim Plan Meaning

You will notice that when setting an interim plan it now uses the terms Scheduled Start/Finish as opposed to Start/Finish.

what is the difference between schedule Start and Start in project?

One online reference makes this comment “When in auto-schedule mode, both Start and Scheduled Start are exactly the same.”

In other words, your Task Start & Finish Dates, as seen in your Entry Table will be copied into your Interim Plan – Start1/Finish1 these are non allocated fields. In other words, only in use if needed. Click okay if you are following along.

So the question is, how to view your Interim Start and Finish in your Microsoft Project Gantt Chart?

It will be wise if you could first of all make a copy of your MS Project Gantt Chart View. In case you want to come back to your original view.

Microsoft Project Gantt Chart View

The next step is to Right Click on the Gantt Chart View and Select Bar Styles from the list.

Customize Gantt Chart

Once you have the following Dialog Box, scroll down to the blank rows section.

Customize Gantt Chart Styles

As per the image below, look to add the following information.

  • Name:Something like Interim Plan (Name you want for this)
  • Appearance:As per the section at the bottom of the Image below.
  • Show Tasks For:Is it for Normal Task, Milestones etc…
  • Row:2 (To place it on a row below your tasks)
  • From:Start 1 To: Finish 1

Once you clock on okay. You should have the following Gantt Chart View.

Interim Plan Details

Keep in mind that the Interim Plan like a baseline is a static measurement of your Project. Once your Task Start and Finish Dates Change, your Interim Plan will stay the same. This will show you changes against original in your project plan.

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If you need further assistance on Interim Plan Use for your project planning and decision making. Please contact us.