EVM – Is it useful?

How EVM can be implemented in Projects?

In my previous post I explained EVM through an example – Building Tables. Was that a practical project or practical measurement? I would not say so. Does an impractical project gel with my blog philosophy?EVM – Here I come…

One of the reader’s wrote following comment on the post

Most complaints against implementing EVM come from the confusion of having almost completed 18 tables, waiting for the final nails to be pounded. Please clarify that. Further, in the example, a table is an atomic unit, which is either complete – or not complete. Try explaining EV for a job for painting a large wall, where ever stroke of bush adds some earned value, but no work is completed until the last stroke is made.

The example I used was not an practical example but the concept (EVM) is very real. Just like in other sciences (subjects) we use small examples to explain a concept; I used a simple example here. A small/simple example helps in understanding the concept and prepares you to apply the concept to real world challenges.

Consider our real world projects. Do we have milestones in the projects? Do we define our own milestones with specific completion criteria? Does it take time/cost to achieve these milestones? Do we estimate time/cost for these milestones? Can we measure actual time/cost after we complete those milestones?

I believe the answers to all the above questions will be resounding Yes. If the answer is something else then there are serious problems with the way we manage the projects.  Work completed during a milestone can be considered as an atomic unit.

So how should we define a milestone? A milestone is a significant achievement of the project team. Milestones could be short and small but they should give some value to the project team and/or the customer. Remember V(Value) in EVM. EVM tracking should be closely related to WBS.

In the above comment a completed wall can be considered as a milestone and also an atomic unit. A half wall does not give us significant value.  We can also say a milestone is 50% complete (if our EVM guidelines permit that) and then accordingly calculate EV/AC etc. Ideally EVM measurement should be discreet rather than continuous

Endnote – EVM concept is very much practical and useful for our real life projects.