Table of Contents
What is Earned Value Consulting?
Earned Value Consulting is support services that an expert in Earned Value Management (EVM) provides to an organization to help them implement an Earned Value Management System (EVMS). EVM consulting services may be offered by organizations that have certified Earned Value professionals on staff, or by service providers who have been trained in EVM and can offer advisory or implementation services.
Where does Earned Value Consulting apply?
Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) principles and practices can be applied in any organization that desires to improve its project management performance. EVMS is widely recognized as the "Gold Standard" for measuring and managing project performance, and its use is increasingly being mandated by government agencies and private sector organizations.
Why would an organization want to engage Earned Value Consulting?
There are many reasons why an organization might want to engage with a company offering Earned Value Consulting services. Some of the most common reasons are:
- To improve project management performance
- To comply with government or customer mandates for Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) implementation
- To improve schedule and cost performance
- To improve project risk management
- To improve communication and collaboration among project team members
How does Earned Value Consulting work?
Once a company has determined that it wants to improve its project management practices, one of the first steps is often to hire an Earned Value Consultant. After all, with so many different aspects to project management, it can be difficult to know where to start in terms of improvements. Furthermore, improving project management practices generally requires buy-in and support from top executives – something a good consultant can help with.
What exactly does an earned value consultant do? Below we outline the main ways in which EVM consultants can help companies improve their project management practices:
Conduct a needs analysis
One of the first things a consultant will do is talk to various stakeholders within the company to understand its specific needs. This includes understanding the company's business goals, its current project management practices, and the challenges it is facing.
Develop a Customized Solution
Based on the needs analysis, the consultant will then develop a customized solution that meets the specific needs of the company. This may involve implementing an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) or simply providing Earned Value training and support for the company's existing project management practices.
Provide Guidance and Support
A good consultant will not just develop a solution and leave – they will provide guidance and support to ensure that the solution is properly implemented and used. This includes providing EVM training, mentoring, and ongoing assistance as needed.
Finally, a consultant will also help the company measure the results of its efforts. This can involve setting up performance metrics, tracking corrective actions, and analyzing how the company's project management practices have improved as a result of implementing the changes.
What are the benefits of Earned Value Consulting?
The benefits of Earned Value Consulting are many and varied. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Improved schedule and cost performance
- Improved risk management
- Improved communication and collaboration among project team members
- Compliance with government or customer mandates for Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) implementation
- Improved project management performance
Why should someone hire an outside company for Earned Value Consulting?
Implementing an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) can be a complex and daunting task. There are many steps involved, and it can be difficult to ensure all the necessary components are in place and functioning properly. That's where a qualified Earned Value Consulting service provider can help. They will have the expertise and experience to guide you through the process and ensure a successful implementation.
How important is it to have a qualified Earned Value consultant?
It is critical to have a qualified Earned Value consultant involved in any organization's efforts to implement an Earned Value Management System (EVMS). A qualified consultant can help you plan, implement, and maintain an EVMS that will improve schedule and cost performance, as well as risk management. They will also be familiar with the latest Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) best practices and procedures and will be able to help you maximize the benefits of EVMS implementation.
What is the process of hiring an Earned Value Consulting company?
The process of hiring an Earned Value Consulting company is simple. The first step is to identify a qualified consultant that meets your specific needs and requirements. Once you have identified a few potential candidates, the next step is to request proposals from each of them.
Once you have received proposals from all the candidates, it's time to evaluate them and select the best one. This can be a difficult task, but there are several factors to consider, such as cost, experience, qualifications, and references. Once you have selected a consultant, the final step is to sign a contract and get started.
Why does EVMS matter?
Earned value management is a critical process for any organization that wants to successfully manage and deliver large, complex projects. A qualified Earned Value consultant can help you implement an effective EVMS that will enable you to better predict schedule and cost overruns, identify and manage project risks, and improve communication and collaboration among project team members. Having a qualified Earned Value consultant on your team is essential for ensuring a successful project outcome.
Who is this article for?
This article is for anyone who wants to learn more about Earned Value Management and the benefits of hiring a qualified Earned Value consultant. This includes project managers, executives, and anyone else involved in the decision-making process for implementing an EVMS.
What is Earned Value Management?
Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management methodology that provides a framework for measuring and managing project progress. It can be used to evaluate cost and schedule performance at any point in a project's life cycle. Implementing an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) can be a complex and daunting task. There are many steps involved, and it can be difficult to ensure that all the necessary components are in place and functioning properly. That's where a qualified Earned Value Consulting service provider can help. They will have the expertise and experience to guide you through the process and ensure a successful implementation.
There are many steps involved in implementing an Earned Value Management System (EVMS), and it's important to make sure that all the necessary components are in place and functioning properly. Here are the main steps involved:
- Establish the project goals and objectives.
- Assess the current state of the project and identify any deficiencies.
- Develop a plan for implementing an EVM system.
- Implement the EVM system and train project personnel on how to use it.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the EVM system and make any necessary adjustments.
It's important to note that these are just general steps, and each project will have its own unique set of requirements. A qualified Earned Value Consulting service provider can help you navigate these waters and ensure a successful implementation.
History of Earned Value Management
The Early History of Earned Value Management
Earned Value Management emerged as a financial analysis specialty in United States Government programs in the 1960s, with the government specifying rules for contractors contractually required to implement an EVM system (EVMS). It has since become a significant branch of project management and cost engineering. Project management research investigating the contribution of EVM to project success suggests a moderately strong positive relationship. Implementations of EVM can be scaled to fit projects of all sizes and complexities.
The genesis of EVM occurred in industrial manufacturing at the turn of the 20th century, based largely on the principle of "earned time" popularized by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, but the concept took root in the United States Department of Defense in the 1960s. The original concept was called PERT/COST, but it was considered overly burdensome (not very adaptable) by contractors who were mandated to use it, and many variations of it began to proliferate among various procurement programs. In 1967, the DoD established a criterion-based approach, using a set of 35 criteria, called the Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria (C/SCSC). In the 1970s and early 1980s, a subculture of C/SCSC analysis grew, but the technique was often ignored or even actively resisted by project managers in both government and industry. C/SCSC was often considered a financial control tool that could be delegated to analytical specialists.
The rise in Popularity of Earned Value Management
The 1980s saw the refinement of EVM and its rise in popularity, with the introduction of Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS). The Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) was first published in 1983 and it listed Earned Value Management as a required practice for large Department of Defense contracts. The EVMS standard was jointly developed by the DoD and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The EVMS standard has been revised over the years to keep up with changing technology and best practices, but the fundamental concepts have remained the same.
The 1990s saw the widespread implementation of EVM in both government and industry. In 1992, the Project Management Institute (PMI) published its first Standard for Earned Value Management. This was followed by ANSI/EIA-748 Earned Value Management Systems in 1998. The 1990s also saw the rise of independent Earned Value Consulting firms, as organizations sought outside help to establish and maintain their EVMS.
Earned Value Management Evolves to Meet Changing Needs
Earned Value Management has continued to evolve since its inception. In 2003, PMI released a second Standard for Earned Value Management, and in 2006, ANSI/EIA-748 was revised to align with international standards such as the ISO 10006 Quality Management Systems Guidelines for Quality Planning. More recently, Earned Value Management has been adopted by agile software development methodologies such as Scrum.
Earned Value Management is now a well-established project management technique with a long history of success in both government and industry. Earned Value Consulting firms have become an important part of the project management landscape, helping organizations to establish and maintain their EVMSs. As Earned Value Management continues to evolve, it will remain an important tool for project managers seeking to optimize cost and schedule performance.
The Current State of Earned Value Management
Despite its long history, EVM is not without its detractors. Some project managers feel that the implementation of EVM takes control away from them, or that it simply doesn't provide enough value to justify the extra effort. However, the data shows that EVM does have a significant impact on project outcomes. A study by the Project Management Institute (PMI) found that successful projects (defined as those finishing within budget and on schedule) are five times more likely to use EVM than unsuccessful projects.
If you are looking to improve your project's performance, it's important to partner with an Earned Value Consulting service provider. They can help you achieve your goals and objectives and ensure a successful Earned Value Management implementation.
Earned Value Consulting Services
Why is EVM Consulting Important?
There are many benefits to implementing Earned Value Management, including improved project visibility and control, better decision making, and reduced cost and schedule overruns. However, Earned Value Management can be complex and challenging to implement. That's where Earned Value Consulting comes in.
A qualified Earned Value Management consultant will have the expertise and experience to guide you through the process and ensure a successful implementation. They will work with you to develop a tailored Earned Value Management System that meets your specific needs and requirements.
What are Earned Value Management Consulting Services?
Earned Value Management Consulting Services are expert services that assist businesses in managing their projects more successfully. Earned Value Management Consulting Services are used by companies to improve their project management procedures and practices. These services might assist organizations in the following ways:
- Define their Earned Value Management System requirements
- Design their Earned Value Management System
- Implement their Earned Value Management System
- Train their project management staff on Earned Value Management principles and practices
- Conduct Earned Value Management compliance reviews
- Prepare for Integrated Baseline Reviews (IBRs)
EVMS Requirements Analysis and Gap Analysis
An EVMS Requirements Analysis helps an organization to gain an understanding of what is required to implement a project control system that supports EVM. The EVMS experts will assess current processes and procedures against the 32 guidelines in the EIA-748 Standard for Earned Value Management Systems taking into account the desired end state and current or impending contractual requirements.
An Earned Value Management Gap Analysis is a study to determine what Earned Value Management processes and procedures an organization has in place and how they compare to the current industry standards. This analysis will identify actions that will provide the greatest return on investment.
An Earned Value Management consultant will typically begin by evaluating a client's system to understand their current approach, methods, and techniques used to manage projects as well as their customer expectations. They will also interview the organization's background and experience levels to gather additional information about how the systems are used and applied on a day-to-day basis. This information will help the consultant develop a tailored Earned Value Management System that meets the specific needs and requirements of the client.
As a result of these analyses, you will gain independent fact-based information so you can make informed decisions about how to address the system gaps, the insight you need to develop a plan that fits your environment as well as time, resource, or budget constraints, and insight into what changes to your system will provide you with the most ROI.
EVMS Design and Documentation
When it comes to Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS), proper design and documentation are essential for a successful implementation. A qualified EVMS consultant will work with you to develop a tailored EVMS that meets your specific needs and requirements.
The EVMS design process typically includes the following steps:
- Define the system requirements
- Develop the system design
- Produce the system documentation
The consultant will work with you to identify the specific requirements of your Earned Value Management System. They will then develop a design that meets these requirements and produces documentation that outlines the system's functionality and how it will be implemented. This documentation will help ensure a successful implementation and continued use of the EVMS.
A complete set of EVMS documentation typically includes the corporate EVM policy, the EVM System Description, related procedures, storyboard, desktop instructions, and sometimes role-based handbooks.
What is an EVM System Description?
The EVM System Description is a comprehensive document that explains your EVMS in detail. To meet internal planning and control needs as well as contract or customer demands, well-defined management systems are required. These aspects might range from extremely rigid and thorough to somewhat more flexible applications of the procedures and subsystems.
An experienced consultant can make sure that your Earned Value Management System Description documents are compliant, thorough, and most importantly useful.
A complete system description will include:
- An Executive Summary.
- EVMS policy statement.
- Chapters for each subsystem
- The system's purpose and background.
- The system's scope, structure, and boundary conditions.
- Description of each subsystem with a flowchart of the major process steps.
- Requirements for input, output, interfaces, and storage.
- Description of the information and data flows within and between the subsystems
- Example project artifacts, forms, and reports.
- Glossary of terms and acronyms.
- An annotated cross-reference of the System Description paragraphs and artifacts to the EIA-748 32 guidelines as well as the DCMA EVMS Cross Reference Checklist or DOE Compliance Review Checklist.
The EVMS consultant reviews all corresponding internal procedures and modifies or develops new ones to address each of the system components as necessary. They begin their process with detailed discussions about key team member responsibilities, authorities available in an organization for implementing these processes (i.e., what are they allowed or prohibited from doing), and any unique constraints on particular forms required by the System Description.
A list of typical procedures includes:
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Dictionary and Index
- Work Authorization
- Integrated Master Plan (IMP) Development and Maintenance
- Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) Development and Maintenance
- Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) Data Quality Checks
- Contract Budget Base, Management Reserve, and Undistributed Budget Logs
- Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) Development and Maintenance
- Internal Reporting
- Variance Analysis Reporting
- Comprehensive EAC
- Material Management and Control
- Subcontract Management
- Baseline Changes
- Labor Time Reporting
- External Reporting - Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR) formats or Integrated Program Management Data and Analysis Report (IPMDAR) data submittals
The creation of storyboards is an essential task in system development. Storyboard descriptions contain real examples that demonstrate all forms, reports, or documents as they travel through your organization to show how these items move from contract award to final delivery; this provides critical insight for designing a complete process flow with no gaps between phases which will lead to successful subsystems development.
Storyboards are a crucial component to illustrate how your management system functions. They allow you and others in the organization, such as trainers or employees who will be using this tool for instruction material; it also helps keep everything organized by envisioning what each interaction between various parts might look like before implementing them.
Consultants will have a deep understanding of what it takes to implement storyboards and develop narratives for them, so their client's team can focus on developing the features. They make sure all project management artifacts are integrated into this total system layout during implementation by running trace logic through each document as it is created.
During implementation, it is common practice for one or more thread traces of selected project data elements will be run through all documents on the storyboard. This assures integration into the total layout for each task to verify things still work seamlessly together as changes are made along the way.
A storyboard is a vital tool for demonstrating to government customers how the subsystems integrate and provide them with an understanding of your entire management system. Storyboards help reviewers understand every process involved in running their program or project, as well as what is expected from each employee during reviews so they can be sure everyone's responsibilities are defined beforehand.
EVMS Desktop Instructions
Desktop procedures provide a quick reference for even the most inexperienced user with actions and information required to effectively interact correctly. An EVM Consultant can help you implement new schedule or cost management software tools or change your existing system design by creating detailed instructions that teach people how they should use the different software functions to effectively perform their day-to-day project control tasks.
Extensive experience working with existing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) project management software makes it much more likely that a consultant will be relevant across any kind of business environment regardless of the size or application of the EVMS. It also means the consultant will be able to focus their effort on your implementation rather than learning new software.
A list of typical desktop instructions includes:
- Work Authorization Documents
- Schedule Status and Update
- Developing an Estimate to Complete (ETC)
- Sorting, Selecting, and Filtering of Cost and Schedule Data
- Pivot Table and Charts
- Variance Analysis Reports
- Baseline Change Request Documents
- Schedule Baseline Changes
- Purchase Requisitions
- Opening and Closing Cost Collection Codes
- Corrective Action Planning and Closeout
- Maintaining Baseline Logs
- Risk Register Maintenance
Many agencies provide handbooks that describe best practices for implementing an EVMS that are compliant with the EIA-748 Standard for EVMS guidelines as well as simplify reviews and integration with that company's processes. Your consultant will help you identify which employees will benefit the most from the available handbooks and will demonstrate how to use the handbooks for reference. A qualified consultant will have the ability to understand and follow your agency's handbook as well as develop supplementary processes that work within the confines of the guidelines and regulations.
To provide a comprehensive service, EVM consultants go beyond just compliance with company procedures— they also develop detailed training materials customized to your organization's needs. This enables your employees to be productive quickly, without any wasted effort in learning how to use the system on their own. The consultant can also help with ongoing support after go-live by providing refresher courses, continuing education, and troubleshooting as needed.
There are two main phases of EVMS implementation Planning and Executing. All phases of the EVMS Implementation require the information from the design and documentation phase to be successful. It is important to have an experienced consultant on your team who can help ensure a smooth and successful implementation. Having someone with the knowledge and expertise in Earned Value Management Systems can save time and headaches down the line.
Planning involves identifying the goals and objectives of the implementation. When you have a clear vision of the future and goals, an EVMS Consultant will help you align and structure them in such a way that they may be managed effectively by the system.
Plan of Action
From the goals and objectives, your EVMS consultant will help you define an approach and develop a plan of action. A tailored project plan is essential to the success of your implementation, and your consultant will work with you to ensure all aspects are accounted for, including schedule, costs, resources, and risk.
Roles and Responsibilities
Your EVMS plan will need to include all relevant roles and what responsibilities are assigned to those roles. Each role will need to be organized in a hierarchy with a lead at the top. The EVMS consultant will help you identify what roles need to be included and how they should be structured to best support your implementation.
Certain variables affect an EVMS that need to be handled outside that system. Some of these assumptions are obvious, others might be more obscure or unknown knowns. An EVMS consultant will help you identify and catalog the plan assumptions so they can be known and accounted for.
There are many risks inherent in any Earned Value Management System implementation. Your EVMS consultant will help you identify, assess, and prioritize these risks. They will also develop mitigation strategies and help you create a contingency plan in case the worst does happen.
EVMS Training Plan
Employees will need to be trained on how to use the Earned Value Management System. The EVMS consultant will develop a training plan tailored to your specific needs. The training will include how to enter and track data, generate reports, and use the system to make informed decisions.
Data Migration Plan
If you are switching from an existing Earned Value Management software tool to a new one, your consultant will help you migrate your data. They will develop a plan to ensure that all relevant data is transferred over and that there is minimal disruption to your business.
The Execution Phase is where the rubber hits the road in Earned Value Consulting and your EVMS consultant will be there to help make sure everything goes according to plan. This includes managing changes, verifying data accuracy, and providing support and guidance during reviews.
Establishing a Technical Baseline
The technical baseline is a critical part of Earned Value Management System implementation. It includes user requirements, program and product information, and related documentation for all configuration items. Configuration items can consist of the Integrated Master Schedule, operational and system requirements, hardware, software, and data documentation. A Configuration Management process manages the technical baseline to ensure accuracy.
A quality consultant will help you establish and manage your technical baseline, including developing and implementing a Configuration Management process.
Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary and Index
It is critical to have a single work breakdown structure (WBS) that reflects the technical scope of work throughout the life of the project. Earned value consulting professionals can help in the creation or review of the comprehensive project WBS. This product-oriented structure is used to capture and manage technical requirements as well as expected deliverables or outcomes. The framework serves as a tool for organizing and managing the work while also identifying specific activities to achieve project objectives. The WBS should be compatible with the Department of Defense Standard for Work Breakdown Structures for Defense Materiel Items (MIL-STD-881) or other relevant contract requirements.
A complete WBS Dictionary is required for creating a mutual understanding of the contract's scope of work with your customer and internal staff. It will also be invaluable for negotiations of scope changes. The WBS is foundational to a successful EVMS for both you and your client. An Earned Value Consulting company will help you develop a useful, complete, and compliant dictionary and index that will serve everyone involved for the life of the project.
The milestone hierarchy is a crucial first step in the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) development process because it provides the schedule deliverable milestones. A hierarchy of milestones may be used as a high-level road map for the project, upcoming important occasions, and the sequence of activities that lead up to those events.
An Earned Value Consultant will assist with the planning and scheduling process, identifying significant contract and project milestones. They will also help contractors define milestone objectives that must be completed for a project to meet defined goals. Special attention will be paid to defining milestone completion criteria as the means to objectively measure completed work as the basis for calculating earned value.
Configuration Management Plan
The Configuration Management Plan (CMP) is a document that describes how the technical baseline will be controlled and managed. It defines the procedures, tools, and techniques to be used to ensure data integrity and control of project deliverables. The CMP is a living document that should be generated by an experienced earned value consultant. They should also show you how to review and update your CMP regularly.
Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)
A RAM is a tool used to help manage the work breakdown structure. It is a chart that identifies the project's work packages and their control account managers (CAMs). The RAM should be updated regularly to ensure that the correct individual is assigned to each task.
Determining the level of control account in a project might be difficult. Too little, and the upkeep of the system may overshadow the advantages. Too much, and the data acquired is worthless in managing the project. An Earned Value Consulting company can help you develop a RAM that is tailored to your specific project needs.
Development of Data Architecture
The purpose of a data architecture is to describe data assets, show how information travels through systems, and provide a framework for data management. The aim is to ensure that data is handled correctly and fulfills organizational demands for information.
The data architecture is foundational to the success of your project and should be developed by an experienced Earned Value consultant. They will help you create a data architecture that meets the needs of your organization and supports Earned Value Management System requirements. Starting your project with the proper data structures and organization can save you a significant amount of time as the project moves forward. It can help keep small changes to deliverables efficient to describe and keep large changes from requiring project data to be re-entered.
A schedule baseline (also known as a baseline schedule or target schedule) is a record of the project's scheduled activities, objectives, and deadlines. They're an approved copy of the original project schedule that may be compared to the current schedule to analyze project performance and report schedule variances. They are used as a record of the original configuration of a project or program and should be reviewed by all stakeholders. Baseline schedules provide a road map for developing the baseline budget, float, critical paths, and resource allocation plans.
The degree of detail in the baseline schedule is determined by the scope of work, contract type, industry type, risk, and agency regulations. The more detail that is included in the baseline the more granular reviews can be, but they will also increase the complexity of any changes. Baselines should be established relatively quickly after a contract is awarded so having an EVM consultant develop one that correctly balances your needs for complexity and flexibility is helpful for the success of the project.
Part of Earned Value Consulting is establishing a time-phased budget baseline at the beginning of a project. This budget baseline is what the project's performance will be measured against and will determine how funds are released. A baseline can be especially difficult to establish when there is authorized work in a work package whose price has not been negotiated. Your earned value consultant can show you how to structure your Management Reserve to supplement your project budget base in a way that will help you to more accurately estimate a workable Performance Measurement Baseline.
Performance and Analysis Cycle
Regular and efficient measurement and adjustment of your project implementation will be expected by all clients who require earned value management. Clients want to see that their projects are proceeding as planned and that their money is being spent in a way that will lead to the successful completion of the project.
The Earned Value Methodology calls for specific Earned Value Management System data at specific intervals to be collected and analyzed so that an accurate Earned Value can be calculated. The Earned Value Management System data that is collected during the performance measurement reporting cycle is used to generate Earned Value Management System reports. These EVMS reports are then reviewed and analyzed to determine whether the project is on schedule, on budget, and/or needs corrective action.
Earned value consultants can help you develop a Performance and Analysis Cycle that best fits your project.
The analysis cycle generally contains four steps: performance measurement, performance analysis, variance analysis, and producing the internal as well as customer performance reports. Each of these steps is essential to the success of Earned Value Management on your project.
The Earned Value Management consultant you hire will be experienced in collecting, analyzing, and reporting Earned Value Management System data. They will also be able to recommend corrective actions when necessary and help you implement those changes.
There are three Earned Value Management System reports that are typically generated:
The Earned Value Management System Status Report shows the progress of the project against the Earned Value Management System baseline.
The Earned Value Management System Variance Report shows the variances between the Earned Value Management System baseline and the current project status. These variance reports are used to analyze the schedule, cost, and at completion variances. Significant variances are analyzed to determine the root cause of the variance, assess the impact to the project, and implement corrective actions to address the issues.
The Earned Value Management System Forecast Report shows the expected future course of the project based on the Earned Value Management System data that has been collected.
If, after reviewing the Earned Value Management System reports, it is determined that the project is not on track, corrective action must be taken. The type of corrective action will depend on the root cause of the problem. Some common corrective actions include:
- Adjusting the project schedule
- Adding or removing resources
- Changing the scope of the project
- Applying different management techniques
Your EVM consultant can help you determine the root cause of the problem and develop a corrective action plan that will get your project back on track.
Subcontractor Data Integration
Many large projects include work packages that are completed in part or whole by subcontractors. Subcontractors often track, store, and transmit data in a way that is different from your internal systems. It is important for the integrity of your EVMS that the way this data is added to your internal system is consistent, compatible, and reproducible. An important part of EVMS consulting is identifying all outside data sources and working to normalize incoming data so it can be properly ingested by the system. Earned Value Management System schedule and cost management software tools can help you manage and control large projects. However, they are only as good as the data that is entered into them.
It is also important to consider the speed at which subcontractor data can be ingested. A process that is accurate, but takes too long will leave your control account managers without the proper information to make critical internal corrective actions before they become costly mistakes. Conversely, a process that is too fast and lacks accuracy will provide false information that could lead to bad decision-making.
The Earned Value Management System should incorporate all data sources, both internal and external to the organization, and provide a single source of truth for performance measurement.
Data Maintenance and Change Control
Another important factor in the successful implementation of an EVMS is the monitoring and maintenance of the system's data. Even with the best training and most dedicated employees, bad information can make its way into your EVMS. Depending on what data is incorrect this can cause misrepresentation of any internal or even customer level reporting.
The need for monitoring is most critical at the beginning of the implementation of an EVMS when everyone using the system is still getting used to their new routines. Earned value consulting can be especially valuable during this time to supplement your normal monitoring and to help train project personnel on how to properly implement and analyze the data, as well as how to monitor the data on an ongoing basis through self-surveillance and internal systems reviews.
Another time to pay special attention is when key project personnel transition in and out of the project. It is advisable to bring back your experienced earned value consultant to spend some time familiarizing everyone with their adjusted roles and auditing the state of the EVMS.
The goal of a self-surveillance plan is to create a procedure and techniques for conducting internal system checks. Self-surveillance is an excellent best practice for verifying that your EVMS continues to meet the EIA-748 32 guideline requirements and determining how project personnel are implementing it. The self-surveillance reviews also allow you to identify areas where the current EVMS could be improved.
Internal System Reviews should:
- Be conducted at least annually
- Include representatives from all stakeholders
- Be led by an Earned Value Management Systems expert
- Cover all aspects of the EVMS
- Review data integrity and accuracy
- Lead to corrective actions when necessary
EVMS and Project Management Training
One of the most important aspects of using an EVMS is ensuring that everyone involved in the project understands how to use and interpret the data. Earned value consulting can help you develop and implement a training plan that will ensure everyone on your team is up to speed on the EVMS and how to use it to make informed decisions.
An EVMS training plan should:
- Be tailored to the needs of the specific project
- Include both classroom and hands-on training
- Be led by an Earned Value Management Systems expert
- Be conducted at the beginning of the project and as new personnel come onboard
Earned Value consulting is frequently delivered through hands-on training that is tailored to the needs of all levels of end-users, including corporate CEOs, project managers, control account managers, and schedule managers.
Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) Preparation
A government customer will usually demand a thorough project baseline examination shortly after contract award. The IBR, or Integrated Baseline Review, is the name given to this process. The goal of the IBR is to ensure an executable performance measurement baseline has been established for the entire contractual scope of work. Vendors must be able to show their clients that they have a working project plan in place and that risks and opportunities have been identified and quantified. Conducting a dry-run or mock IBR is the best approach to prepare for a customer review.
As part of the Mock Integrated Baseline Review, consultants who specialize in earned value will conduct a thorough assessment of the technical, schedule, and cost baseline as well as project risks and opportunities of their client's EVMS. This Mock IBR will include a series of interviews and data traces with control account managers (CAMs), integrated product team (IPT) leads, project managers, and other personnel. EVM consultants may provide questionnaires, rating forms, and other applicable materials that customer program offices and DCMA or DOE typically use during an IBR. Project managers and CAMs will often be prepared with one-on-one mentoring as well as group sessions led by an expert mentor.
The complete analysis of the technical, schedule, and cost baseline along with the practice interviews, will allow an earned value consultant to identify and address potential issues with the baseline before it is presented to the customer. They also let the contractor move through the IBR efficiently and professionally which will be a strong quality signal to the client.
Some EVM clients require contractors to prove their EVMS produces reliable data. They may do this through ongoing surveillance reviews or formal compliance reviews before and/or after the contract is accepted. Some of the formal government customer reviews include Compliance, Surveillance, and Review for Cause (RFC).
Contractors should expect government customers to monitor their EVMS even when that EVMS has been accepted and validated. This begins with contract award and continues for the duration of the project. The government customer wants assurance that a contractor's EVMS is continually compliant with EIA-748 32 guidelines and is effectively applied on the project, as well as continues to provide accurate and timely information for effective management visibility and control.
Part of Earned Value Consulting is conducting mock surveillance reviews. Similar to a Mock Integrated Baseline Review, EVMS consultants will often use questionnaires, rating forms, interview techniques, and data assessments that closely simulate a government review environment to help the contractor's project personnel prepare for the review. Data traces are also performed with key personnel such as the CAMs and functional managers. This includes performing manual and automated data quality checks to identify potential issues with the schedule and cost data. The interviews and data traces are used to verify project personnel have a full understanding of their scope of work, quality schedule and cost data have been established, as well as how they use the EVMS to manage their work.
Once the review is complete, an Earned Value Consultant will provide specific recommendations on how the contractor can resolve any processes that are not compliant with EIA-748 prior to the government surveillance review.
DCMA EVMS Compliance Metrics
The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is responsible for reviewing contractor’s EVMS implement plans as well as verifying initial and continuing contractor compliance with the EIA-748 Standard for EVMS 32 guidelines. These metrics are a combination or manual and automated tests.
DCMA uses these metrics to discover potential concerns with a contractor's EVMS data. These metrics aid DCMA in evaluating the quality and traceability of a project's EVMS schedule and cost data. The measurements and metric thresholds help DCMA identify higher-risk process areas in the contractor's EVMS that they can further explore with the contractor during their EVMS review and surveillance activities.
DOE EVMS Compliance Assessment Process
The DOE Office of Project Management (PM) is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and executing the DOE EVMS compliance assessment process including initial compliance reviews and ongoing surveillance for DOE contracts. This is documented in the DOE PM EVMS Compliance Review Standard Operating Procedure (ECRSOP), the primary reference for determining contractor EVMS compliance with the EIA-748 Standard for EVMS 32 guidelines. The ECRSOP Appendix A includes the Compliance Assessment Guidance (CAG), EVMS Compliance Review Checklist (CRC), and Guideline Attributes and Tests. The matrix of Guideline attributes and test are a set of manual and automated tests with metric thresholds to identify potential issues with the schedule and cost data that assist with assessing the quality of the data. The intent is verify the system is providing valid, reliable, and auditable information that depicts actual conditions and trends for proactive management and control.
A Compliance Review is a government EVM System acceptance authority's examination of whether a firm has designed and implemented an EVMS that satisfies the EIA-748 32 guideline requirements. Before formally accepting a contractor's EVMS, the government EVM System acceptance authority conducts this review. Because a contractor must demonstrate to the federal customer that their EVMS complies with the EIA-748 guidelines and is currently being used to control project activities, this is a highly thorough procedure. The contractor must provide documentation as well as schedule and cost data. Interviews are conducted with key personnel.
The Earned Value Consultant will work with the contractor to ensure all materials are organized and ready for review. This includes developing a data-trace plan that maps relevant data to specific requirements. Manual and automated data quality checks are performed to identify any potential issues with the schedule and cost data. The consultant will also help the contractor develop an interview guide to ensure project managers, control account managers, functional managers, schedulers, finance, procurement, and other personnel are prepared to answer questions related to their area of responsibility.
Once the review is complete, the Earned Value Consultant will provide a formal report that states whether the contractor's EVMS meets the EIA-748 guideline requirements. If deficiencies are found, the Earned Value Consultant will develop a corrective action plan (CAP) to help the contractor bring the EVMS into compliance.
Review for Cause
A formal Review for Cause (RFC) is a thorough examination done to address a significant EVMS application issue that has been reported by the government customer or another stakeholder organization on a specific contract. There may be a problem with the EVMS, perceived problems with the EVMS, an issue with the proposed corrective action plan (CAP) or implementation of the CAP, or concerns about schedule and cost data quality or dependability. This is a serious occurrence since the government customer may withdraw an EVM System Acceptance in the event the issues are not resolved to the satisfaction of the government customer.
The Earned Value Consultant will work with the contractor to ensure all materials are organized and ready for review. This includes developing a data-trace plan that maps relevant data to specific requirements as well as performing schedule and cost data quality checks to identify potential issues. The consultant will also help the contractor develop an interview guide to ensure project managers, control account managers, functional managers, schedulers, finance, procurement, and other personnel are prepared to answer questions related to their area of responsibility.
Once a Review for Cause is issued it is in the contractor's best interest to move quickly and expertly to identify and resolve the issue with their EVMS. Working with an Earned Value Consulting company allows a contractor to engage with specialists who are familiar with finding problems in existing Earned Value Management Systems. The EVMS Consultants will be able to develop customized solutions for the contractor's EVMS that will bring it back into compliance.
Once the review is complete, the Earned Value Consultant will provide a formal report that states whether the contractor has significant EVMS application issues. When deficiencies are found, the Earned Value Consultant will develop a corrective action plan (CAP) to help the contractor address the issue.
Earned Value Consulting Services can provide a contractor with the expertise and resources they need to maintain compliance with government EVM System requirements. By using the services of an Earned Value Consultant, contractors can be confident that their system will remain accepted and in compliance with all governing regulations.
EVMS Staff Augmentation
Occasionally, the requirement for Earned Value Consultant Services will be urgent and will need to be maintained over a longer duration with the contractor. In those cases, it may make sense for the contractor to bring on an Earned Value Consultant for a part or full-time position for the project’s execution phase. Earned Value Consultancies will be able to supplement your staff with experienced expert schedulers or EVM analysts that match the needs of the contractor and can quickly adjust to the new project. Sometimes a fractional consultant makes sense over the long term to help perform the higher level EVMS maintenance on a weekly or monthly level.
Augmented Staff can help you develop, enhance, or maintain an integrated master schedule, performance measurement baseline, or estimate to complete data. They can assist with performing data traces, data quality assessments, or detailed analyses of the schedule and cost data. They can also support project surge periods such as during a proposal phase, project start-up after contract award, developing the schedule and cost baseline, preparing for an Integrated Baseline Review (IBR), or as part of monthly performance analysis and reporting cycle.
Contractors who use Earned Value Consulting Services can rest assured that their system will remain in compliance with all governing regulations. By engaging an Earned Value Consultant, contractors can be confident that they are getting the expertise and resources they need to maintain a successful EVMS implementation. With Earned Value Consulting Services, contractors can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their system is being continuously monitored and maintained by experts in the field.