The human side of earned value management

Must read

Embrace the change: Getting to grips with new IT systems

New IT systems for a growing business can be an exciting prospect and deliver many benefits, but how do you convince employees to embrace...

5 Skills Needed To Drive Future Projects

Why do projects fail? It's a question that invites a lot of interest and significant statistics. And there are no wrong answers here. Skills shortages...

Does a Project Manager Need PM Qualifications?

What makes a successful project manager is a combination of their academic abilities, experience and skills, both "soft" and "hard" skills i.e. communication skills...

It’s good to talk but difficult to communicate

One of the insights from this year’s AXELOS PPM benchmark report was that poor communication continues to be the biggest challenge hampering projects and...
Adrian Dooleyhttp://www.praxisframework.org
I was originally a construction project manager but moved into training and consultancy 30 years ago. After a career of trying to explain the reasons why the various PPM guides use different terminology and individually cover only parts of organisational PPM, I decided to develop the Praxis Framework.

Some years ago, I was working in a company that manufactures and installs marine power plants around the world. One of their typical projects lasted for 4 to 5 years and contained many sub-projects which in themselves had a value of millions of dollars. The sub-projects were further broken down into work packages and then into tasks.Button

Each work package had an owner. This was typically an experienced Mechanical or Electrical Engineer who had shown good technical skills and was promoted to a managerial position. I had been invited to be part of a competency development programme for these managers.

This involved interviewing 250 managers to gauge their knowledge and skills. People were very willing to open up during these one to one chats and it soon became apparent that there was one specific issue that needed to be addressed – their use of Earned Value Management (EVM) as a project control tool.

Sometime previously, the Company Directors had implemented an EVM system and now received a monthly report on every work package. But as one interviewee confided “they shouldn’t be worrying about why three work packages have an SPI less than one, they should be asking why the other 25 are all at exactly 1.0”

The work package managers had quickly realised that if their SPI or CPI were less than 1.0, they had to spend time explaining why. This was something they didn’t really want to do, and the easiest thing to do was to make sure the indices were 1.0. They had all had extensive training in the mechanics of EVM, so a little creative interpretation was not a problem.

It fell to me to explain to the Board that understanding a scheduling technique is only 20% of the way to success – the other 80% is about changing behaviour. Unfortunately, they didn’t want to see the problem and were convinced the system was OK as it was (after all, it was telling them exactly what they wanted to hear).

All I can say is that some years later, the press was full of yet another failed defence project!

- Advertisement -

More articles

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent commentary. I will refer your article to 600+ people in my contacts.

    Please see my recommendations for transforming earned value management into a useful project management tool. It can be accomplished by integrating technical performance measures and systems engineering best practices with EVM. The recommendations and related proposals for acquisition reform in the U.S.A. are on my web site, http://www.pb-ev.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Project Accelerator Website Has a Makeover

I have been running this project management news website for over 10 years now, the domain was registered in 2008. Today we...

Project Management Strategies Every Tech Leader Can Use

As a tech leader, you're responsible for leading a development team. Thus you're in control of all the technology deliverables that contribute...

Parallel LIVE! Part 2. APM Project Roles in the 7th Edition of the APM BoK

This week Parallel's Matt Bolton and Jan Underdown discussed the roles in the 7th edition of the Body of Knowlege from the...

Parallel LIVE Again

So this week, we did our second live stream. This time John Bolton and I discussed linear, iterative and hybrid lifecycles. It's...

How Are Tech Solutions Improving Project Management?

The professional environment for a modern project manager is a diverse, multi-disciplined landscape. This complex fusion of information maintenance, personnel leadership, cost...