Project Management

Baby Steps to EVM

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website

Topics: Business Intelligence, Cost Management, Earned Value Management, Quality, Risk Management, Schedule Management, Scheduling, Strategy, Testing/Test Management

During my two-year research study on Earned Value Management Readiness, I came across a wide variety of maturity models heavily based on SEI’s Capability Maturity Model. CMMI provides several models that organizations can use to identify best practices and organizational improvements. The literature review revealed several maturity models in several IT niches including knowledge management, documentation management, software specification, software testing and even business-IT relationship maturity. Studying the maturity models and researching earned value management readiness revealed a series of baby steps for organizations to adopt earned value management.

Step 1: Develop a Realistic Project Schedule
This is an obvious and fundamental step that needs to be mastered before progressing to the next step. If project managers cannot produce a realistic and baselined project schedule, then earned value will simply report progress against a poorly developed plan. The organization should focus on project schedule fundamentals including resource leveling and managing schedule risk.

Step 2: Introduce EVM Concepts
Even if your organization isn’t using earned value, you may have a number of knowledgeable EVM project managers in the resource pool. An informal poll of the PMs in your organization will likely reveal that PMs have a preliminary understanding of …

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