An Introduction to Earned Value Analysis

A key component of PPM is improved management of the project pipeline. We conduct performance reviews of active projects with the objective of considering termination of projects that no longer support the conditions on which approval was granted. An essential capability for such performance reviews is the process of Earned Value Analysis. The ability to monitor schedule and cost variances in a consistent, structured manner provides key data for performance reviews and removes personal biases from the evaluation.

Do you cringe when someone brings up the subject of Earned Value Management (EVM) or Earned Value Analysis (EVA)? Do you see yourself drowning in torrents of seemingly obscure data, generated by some space age software that has run amok? And what about all that alphabet soup? What the heck are BCWS, SPI, and ACWP?

If you're into project management, you've probably heard of EVA and maybe even tinkered with it. Unfortunately, there is a widespread misconception that EVA is only for the big aerospace and defense jobs, where the customer is the government. If you're working on these kinds of projects, you've probably read up on earned value, perhaps the highly recognized text by EVM guru Quentin Fleming, which is crammed with 560 pages of really good stuff on "Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria" (the Department of Defense's version of EVM).1 Or maybe you are familiar with the downsized discussion on "Earned Value Project Management," published by Project Management Institute (PMI), still inviting the reader to digest 140 pages.2

The good news is that you can pick up the essentials of EVA in about five pages, and you don't have to use all of the available EVA features in order to benefit from EVA.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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