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  • Ben Seaman

How To Track Projects for Customers and Managers Using Earned Value Management

In the world of project management, effective tracking is essential for both customers and managers to ensure projects stay on track and deliver the desired outcomes. One popular technique used for project tracking is Earned Value Management (EVM). EVM combines cost, schedule, and performance data to provide valuable insights into project progress. In this blog post, we will explore how Earned Value Management can be used to track projects, benefiting both customers and managers.



Understanding Earned Value Management

Earned Value Management is a systematic approach that integrates the measurement of project scope, schedule, and cost performance. It provides an objective assessment of a project's progress by comparing the work performed against the planned work and associated costs. EVM relies on three key metrics: Planned Value (PV), Earned Value (EV), and Actual Cost (AC). PV represents the authorized budget for the work planned, EV measures the value of work performed, and AC tracks the actual costs incurred. By analyzing these metrics, project stakeholders can gain valuable insights into project performance.


Accurate Project Forecasting

Earned Value Management enables accurate project forecasting by using the metrics mentioned above. By comparing the EV against the PV, project managers can determine the project's schedule variance (SV) and cost variance (CV). SV indicates whether the project is ahead or behind schedule, while CV indicates whether it is under or over budget. These variances help in identifying potential issues early on and allow for proactive measures to be taken. With EVM, customers can have a clear understanding of project progress and make informed decisions based on real-time data.


Performance Analysis and Control

EVM goes beyond just tracking project progress; it also provides insights into project performance. By calculating the Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and Cost Performance Index (CPI), managers can assess the efficiency of the project. SPI compares the earned value against the planned value to determine if the project is ahead or behind schedule. CPI compares the earned value against the actual cost to evaluate cost efficiency. These indices help identify areas where corrective actions are needed to bring the project back on track. Through EVM, managers gain a comprehensive view of project performance, allowing them to make informed decisions and take timely actions to ensure project success.



Metric

Definition

Calculation

Schedule Variance (SV)

Schedule Variance (SV) measures the deviation of actual progress from the planned schedule.

SV = EV - PV

Cost Variance (CV)

Cost Variance (CV) measures the deviation of actual costs from the planned budget.

CV = EV - AC

Actual Cost (AC)

Actual Cost (AC) is the total cost incurred in completing the project activities up to a given point in time.

Actual cost data is obtained from project accounting

Earned Value (EV)

Earned Value (EV) is the value of work completed or earned up to a given point in time.

Earned value is calculated based on progress assessment

Planned Value (PV)

Planned Value (PV) is the authorized budget assigned to the work scheduled to be accomplished up to a given point in time.

Planned value is determined during project planning

Schedule Performance Index (SPI)

Schedule Performance Index (SPI) measures the efficiency of schedule performance.

SPI = EV / PV

Cost Performance Index (CPI)

Cost Performance Index (CPI) measures the efficiency of cost performance.

CPI = EV / AC


Communication and Transparency

Earned Value Management facilitates effective communication and transparency between project teams, customers, and managers. EVM provides objective metrics that can be easily understood by all stakeholders. Progress reports based on EVM data offer clear and concise information on project status, highlighting any deviations from the planned schedule or budget. This transparency enables proactive communication, as stakeholders can discuss challenges and identify solutions collaboratively. Customers gain confidence in the project's progress, while managers can keep their teams informed and address issues promptly.


Continuous Improvement

EVM promotes continuous improvement by capturing historical data and lessons learned. By analyzing variances and performance indices across multiple projects, organizations can identify trends, common challenges, and best practices. This data-driven approach helps in refining future project planning, estimating, and execution processes. EVM provides a foundation for making data-informed decisions and implementing effective project controls. By leveraging the insights gained from EVM, customers and managers can enhance project success rates, optimize resource allocation, and improve overall project management capabilities.


Earned Value Management is a powerful technique that allows customers and managers to effectively track projects and ensure their success. By leveraging key metrics such as PV, EV, AC, SV, and CV, EVM provides valuable insights into project progress, performance

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