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What is an Integrated Baseline Review?

Posted by Michael Breuker on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

An Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) is a joint customer/contractor activity walking through and assessing the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB). IBRs are typically performed within a few months after a contract has been awarded, although they can be performed at any time, including pre-contract award.

The purpose of an integrated baseline review is to:

  • Verify the technical content of the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB)
  • Assess the accuracy of the related resources, budgets, and schedules
  • Identify potential risks, and
  • Determine corrective actions, if necessary, to build a realistic plan that the customer and contractor agree to

In a DoD environment, an integrated baseline review is treated as a formal event and usually involves considerable preparation and follow-up. IBR practices vary across civilian agencies and are often less formal. Regardless, IBRs are generally recognized as a significant program management event and are a critical milestone for the success of the program and the relationship between the supplier and customer.

Some agencies publish integrated baseline review guides to describe the process they use. Some examples are:

The National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) has published an IBR Guide which has been adopted by agencies such as the Department of Energy.

While each agency and program office may have their own preferred approaches to an IBR, generally all IBRs will have the following components:

Joint Integrated Baseline Review Team Training

Provided by the government program office or third-party facilitator prior to the IBR. This training helps the joint government and contractor team understand the process and expectations for the upcoming IBR.

Executive In-Brief

The on-site portion of the IBR kicks off with an executive in-brief. This in-brief is used to present the agenda, schedule, and logistics to the team. It is typically given jointly by the government and supplier program managers. The on-site portion of the IBR typically takes place over a three (3) to four (4) day period, depending on the size of the contract and the number of CAMs to be interviewed. 

Program Team Discussions

The bulk of the IBR consists of discussions with the supplier's Master Schedulers, Control Account Managers (CAMs), Risk Managers, and other program team members responsible for program planning, scheduling, and budgeting activities. The following artifacts are typically reviewed during these discussions:

  • WBS Dictionary
  • Integrated Master Schedule / Control Account Schedules
  • Work Authorization Documents
  • Basis of Estimates
  • Control Account Plans / Resource Plans
  • Program Budget Log(s)
  • Risk Logs

Some IBR teams may look at additional program artifacts, including EVMS processes and reports, to ensure the system is being set up and operated to provide good data. For some DoD contracts, DCMA may choose to participate in the IBR. While the IBR is focused on the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) and is not an EVMS compliance review, system problems identified during the IBR could pose a risk to the program and should be addressed.

Executive Out-Brief

The Executive Out-brief provides a preliminary list of findings and follow-on activities. It may be followed up with a formal Corrective Action Request (CAR) list for the supplier to address.

Follow-Up Activities

The supplier will respond to the CARs with a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). This describes activities the supplier will perform to fix the identified issues and a timeline for completion. The supplier will then work to execute the CAP.

IBR Closure

Once all corrective actions have been resolved, the government program office will formally notify the supplier of the IBR closure and schedule further IBRs if required. 

It is important to understand that the IBR is a process, and not a single event. IBRs can and should be conducted throughout the life of a contract. Some events that could trigger an IBR are:

  • Initial Contract Award
  • Important Program Milestones (PDR, CDR, etc.)
  • Rolling-wave Planning Events (for annual or periodically funded/planned programs)
  • Contract Option Execution
  • Significant risk events (for example, a re-plan due to COVID)
  • Other Program Re-plan Event (with or without OTB)

Not sure if you are ready for an IBR? Check out our article "How do determine if your program is ready for an IBR?" for help.

Learn more about our IBR Preparation services as well as the other training services we offer.

Talk to a Pinnacle professional about how we can guide you through preparing for a successful IBR - Give Us a Call or Send Us an Email.


Topics: Aerospace & Defense, Earned Value Management (EVM), Integrated Program Management (IPM), Deltek PPM, Oracle Primavera, Government & Public Sector, Training, Microsoft EPM, forProject Technology

Michael Breuker

By Michael Breuker

Michael is President of Pinnacle Management Systems. Since joining the company in 2000, he has performed in a variety of consulting and management roles affecting transformative change within federal agencies and suppliers, IT organizations, Engineering & Construction, Aerospace, Finance, and other industries that desire to improve project and program performance. Michael is a Microsoft Certified Professional and certified Primavera trainer and consultant. He is also an AACE certified Earned Value Professional (EVP), and an APMG certified trainer for IPPM. He currently serves as the Dean of Scheduling for the College of Performance Management (CPM) and is an active participant with the NDIA Integrated Program Management Division (IPMD) and the Civilian Agency Industry Working Group (CAIWG). As part of his contribution to the industry, he helped author the NDIA EVMS Scalability Guide.

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