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Project Management Training - Earned Value Management Challenges

Project Management / Manager Training in DC, Bellevue-Seattle onsite at SmartPath LLC or Live Online

Earned Value Management Challenges by Mo Haque, MSEE, MSEE, PMP

Why aren’t project managers able to deliver products or services at the right time and at the right cost? Is that due to scope creep or scope leap? If either is so, why doesn’t project monitoring and control identify the scope creep or scope leap? Monitoring and control processes are not meant to identify cost control or schedule control. Those are identified by using earned value management techniques. Otherwise, the project managers misjudge the scope variations during monitoring and control. These project managers are aware of the existence of these tools, and some or all of the techniques of EVM. However, the constraints of managing the work packages and the seemingly overwhelming mathematical calculations for resources and schedules often finds project managers in EVM quick sand.

Many Project Managers don’t use EVM enough so they are less comfortable about how and when to use it routinely in order to use it effectively. They have forgotten what they’ve learned in class or only remember bits and pieces of how to use it. Also, the work breakdown structure created after defining the scope are not decomposed enough to create work packages to enable exact activity cost calculations. Complicating this, the project work packages are not the result of visible project processes. The inability to visualize all processes produces incomplete work packages and in some cases, missing work packages. Hence it becomes very difficult to quantify the work performed against the work planned. This situation is further compromised because the mathematical calculations are often very challenging for a busy project manager.

Invisible processes produce non-value added activities that consume the resources and increase cost because they were not identified as part of the work packages. EVM is the only available tool in the project manager’s tool box that can identify invisible non-value added process activities and incomplete or missing work packages.

One must understand that Earned Value Management is not only about cost but about schedule which also uses the resources. Therefore, EVM drives visibility in resource cost and activity schedules and eliminates non-value added activities. For project managers to execute the project activities in a disciplined and controlled manner, it is imperative they use the EVM tool consistently.

The project, program, and portfolio managers ought to institutionalize, modernize, and globalize EVM in all project endeavors – Words preached by Mike Sears of Boeing in 1998.

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