Convincing Project Managers to Use EVM (and Making no Excuses)

Jose Barato

I first noticed EVM in 2003, thanks to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and when I received my PMP® certification. As serious as I was about the methods and techniques applicable to project management, I felt delighted with all those magical charts and status performance and forecast indicators. No more wheels needed to be reinvented to provide performance reporting! There we had an ANSI standard number 748, called “Earned Value Management” and even back then, Wikipedia had a good entry for EVM.

Before EVM, when a sponsor asked how the project was going, I used to say things like:

– Well, it could be worse; I think we are progressing, more or less…

After becoming familiar with EVM, my answers sounded like this:

– The project is producing 80 cents for each euro invested, progressing 75% compared with the plan, but we need to produce 1,2€ for each euro invested in order to end on budget.

I had definitely improved!

But projects are not performed in isolation; many times, I got frustrated with my colleagues and direct reports when they complained about the extra work needed to gather and keep the EVM data up to date. Many of them adamantly refused to use EVM for small projects. When I managed a project in Rome by myself, which involved lots of travel and expenses, I found myself…

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"I am not young enough to know everything."

- Oscar Wilde

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