Is Earned Value Management a PM Technique?

Pittsburgh Chapter

David Stark has been a project manager for over 30 years. He began his career managing flight test projects in the United States Air Force and moved on to managing industrial control system projects for international and domestic Power Generation, Chemical and Oil & Gas customers. He has held several management and project related positions in a variety of companies that serve industry. He is currently a senior project manager for a mid-major A/E working on multi-discipline engineering projects for the oil and gas and chemical industries.

There are many articles that promote earned value management as a key element of successful project management. Some make bold statements, like Keith Custer in “The Seven Deadly Myths of Earned Value Methods in Project Management”:

“The Earned Value Management techniques laid out almost 40 years ago continue to be one of the best ways to manage almost any project and should be a key part of any project manager’s toolkit.”

Other articles highlight the history of EVM and earned value management systems (EVMS), review the key calculations for cost performance index (CPI), schedule performance index (CPI), etc., and provide reasons for implementing EVMS on projects.

Often, these articles vehemently argue that EVMS should be used on all projects. The federal government requires the use of EVMS on major projects and has defined 32 criteria that make up an EVMS. Studies on EVM have been completed that show with quantitative data that EVMS has improved project performance. And Wikipedia starts its overview of EVMS by stating “Earned Value Management is a project management technique …”

In addition to internet sources, there are plenty of books on the subject. PMI has a practice standard dedicated to EVMS and identifies EVM as a project management technique in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® …

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