Project Management

(L)earned Value

Janis Rizzuto

Janis is an award-winning journalist and editor who has covered many industries beyond project management, including health care, financial services, higher education and retail sales.

In the second of our three-part series on earned value management, experienced practitioners share some trends, best practices and pitfalls. Plus, profiles of two successful EVM applications in the public and private sector.

Volkswagen’s bug of the ’50s is today’s best-selling Beetle. Hip huggers of the ’60s have been reborn as low-rise pants. And harvest gold and avocado green of the ’70s are desirable in design again as warm earth tones. Whether it’s in cars, fashion or colors, everything old is new again.
           
The same maxim is true of earned value management (EVM) in the project management industry.
 
Although EVM has been around for nearly four decades in the defense industry, the current buzz about EVM would make project managers think it is the latest and greatest invention to assure project success.
 
EVM is definitely fashionable — even “trendy,” says Cheryl Johnson, director of training for Project Solutions Group, Vienna, Va. Johnson says several factors are contributing to EVM’s prominence, including tighter regulations to require it on more government projects and growing interest from the private sector. “If you are on the procurement side, you need assurances that you are using a contractor who can…

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