Project managers are expected to know the progress of their projects at all times. Are you meeting expectations? Staying within budget? Staying on schedule? These can be tough questions to answer without the use of EVM (earned value management).
Fortunately, EVM doesn’t require a different approach to project planning and management. Rather, it extracts useful information from planning work that you’re routinely doing.
The Role of EVM: Monitoring Projects
EVM determines how much of a project has been completed at specific points in time, known as milestones (more on those later). Knowing how much has been completed allows senior management to release funds in small increments and see if they are getting value for their money.
EVM allows senior management to monitor progress and to react to poor performance. Using EVM, senior management can tell early in the life of a project whether it is likely to meet its targets. Management can then decide whether to abandon the project early on, before a huge amount of money has been spent.
Likewise, if senior management’s expectations are unrealistic, EVM will quickly highlight the problem.
For the project manager, EVM changes the emphasis from performance targets way off in the distance, to targets that are coming up near term. The project manager knows how the project is performing at any given time and whether or not management will be (or should be) pleased.
Measuring the performance of individual tasks rather than the project as a whole gives both the project manager and senior management a steady stream of signals about the health of the project.
This information was drawn from Global Knowledge’s Earned Value Management course.
This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at www.globalknowledge.com/business for free white papers, webinars, and more.
© Copyright 2008, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.