Earned Value Management – The next ‘buzzword’?

[email protected] has a new article titled “(L)earned Value” that discusses the ‘new trend’ of implementing Earned Value Management (EVM) systems for use within an organization’s project teams. According to [email protected], EVM is:

An EVM system effectively integrates the project scope of work with cost, schedule and performance elements for optimum project planning and control. The qualities and operating characteristics of EVM are described in American National Standards Institute/Electronics Industries Alliance Standard 748.

A better definition can be found at Wikipedia, where EVM is defined as:

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management technique that objectively tracks physical accomplishment of work. EVM has the unique ability to combine measurements of technical performance (i.e., accomplishment of planned work), schedule performance (i.e., behind/ahead of schedule), and cost performance (i.e., under/over budget) within a single integrated methodology. EVM provides an early warning of performance problems while there is time for corrective action. In addition, EVM improves the definition of project scope, prevents scope creep, communicates objective progress to stakeholders, and keeps the project team focused on achieving progress.

The [email protected] article does a good job of describing why EVM is being implemented and may soon be the ‘next big thing’ in Project Management, but what it doesn’t do is describe the negative side to EVM. The article does give 3 pitfalls facing EVM, but doesn’t describe the biggest negative associated with EVM, which is that EVM does not have any method of measuring project quality, only progress. This means that a project using EVM as the method of measurement could show a great deal of earned value and success because the project us within scope, under budget and within time lines, but since the quality of the work performed isn’t measured, the customer could see the project as a failure and EVM would not be able to report this to the Project Team.

EVM can be a good tool for Project Managers to use to measure progress, but anyone using this methodology should understand its limitations as well as its benefits.

For anyone interested in learning more about EVM, the Wikipedia article does a very good job at describing its origins, history and implementation.

[tags] Earned Value Management, EVM, Project Management, Earned Value, Project Strategy [/tags]

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[…] In my post titled “Earned Value Management – The next “buzzword” I belittled Earned Value Management (EVM)…and now its time to eat some crow, although some of my objections to EVM still stand. […]