January 2012

The EVM Newsletter™
from Management Technologies
In This Issue
Lowering your SPI
Thatcher on "concensus"
What NOT to do with your iPhone
PMI and CPM go separate ways
Thinking backwards
Because I said so!
Amnesia strikes again

   

How to lower your SPI, overnight!

  

At the very end of 2011 Samoa and Tokelau switched from the eastern side to the western side of the International Date Line, thus skipping 31 December entirely.

 

Which means all the work that was planned for 31 December slipped a day (or a year depending on how you keep score).

 

Imagine explaining your negative Schedule Variance.

 

"The root cause of my SV is because 31 December disappeared."

 

 

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Quotable Quote

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"To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that need to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead." 

 

Margaret Thatcher, 1993

 

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Save $150 with Management Technologies' EVPrep Workshop

AACE recently announced that attendees at AACE Approved Education Providers (AEP) events would receive no-cost temporary membership in AACE.

 

This policy allows these attendees to apply for AACE certification exams at the AACE member price ($150 less than the non-member price).

 

If you are planning on taking the EVP exam here is how to save $150.

 

  1. Attend our EVPrep exam prep workshop
  2. Get your temporary member e-mail from AACE.
  3. Apply to take the EVP exam at AACE member rates
  4. Save $150.
   

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EVM Schedule Adherence and CPI and SPI (t)Statistical Forecasting

The EzEVM™ workbook has provided projects and firms a low cost solution to performing EVM and refining their EVM processes.

 

The EzEVM MSExcel workbook template now includes "Schedule Adherence" and statistical forecasting of final CPI and SPI(t).

 

EVM data can be entered from any EVM software to provide these valuable analysis products as well as traditional EVM indicators.

 

 

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iPhone "fine print"
iphone

 

Have you noticed that the fine print is getting finer?

 

It's true according to graphic communications professor Brian Lawler of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. He found that the fine print on his iPhone was 4.5 points, about 1/16 of an inch and 32 pages long. Did you read the fine print that came with your Smartphone?

 

I hope so.

 

I am a pilot and also live within about 40 miles of the San Onofre Nuclear power plant. The fine print says the iPhone is not suitable for "operation on nuclear facilities, airport navigation ....life support, or weapon systems."

 

Good to know.

 

 

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Greetings..

 me2011

Welcome to the first EVM Newsletter for 2012. I hope your year has started well.

 

The big news, of course, is the announced separation of the College of Performance Management (CPM) from PMI. Hopefully you got the news with the Special Edition EVM Newsletter that was sent on 27 January. That story leads this issue.

 

This month's Tidbit is about how backwards thinking can make sure the path forward is correct. We also share a true story of how one executive got his message across. He wanted EVM on all his projects, and he got it.

 

I am pleased to announce the Management Technologies, in cooperation with Singapore based UniStrategic, is offering an expanded three day version of the Earned Value Experience™ workshop. The workshop will be conducted in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 5-7 March 2012.  For more information or to register contact UNI Strategic.

 

Registration is open for the EVPrep Exam Prep workshop scheduled for 15-16 March in Reston, VA. This venue is our most popular training location. If you think you might want to take the exam consider attending. By doing so you can save $150 in registering with AACE to take the exam. And PMPs can get 14 PDUs!

 

Readers will find a report from GAO that says, again, what we been told and learned from experience: PM staffs have to engage stakeholders (internal and external) if they want their projects to be successful.

 

And, there is short item on things you should not do with your iPhone.

 

   

Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn

  

Our subscriber list is over 2,000. If you want to share a story or an idea consider writing 50-100 words on the subject.

You can help make this newsletter interesting by contributing news about your activities in EVM, your company, product announcements, or your projects. Each month starts with a blank sheet, we don't make this stuff up! Send news to me at

evinfo@mgmt-technologies.com

Ray Stratton, PMP,EVP 
Editor
  
PMI®and CPM Agree to Split

 

 

After PMI changed the governance model for chapters PMI moved on to change their virtual components model for special interest groups (SIGs) and colleges. The goal of the new "virtual communities" is to standardize the structure and management of SIGs and colleges. In particular, many (not all) SIGs suffered from a lack of volunteer support, a value proposition, or a healthy sized membership. The two colleges (College of Scheduling and College of Performance Management) provided somewhat more member value than most SIGs via face-to-face conferences. Aside from the conferences there was little I could find that differentiated SIGs and colleges. It was a confusing landscape.

 

PMI's new virtual community model is the Community of Practice (CoP). It will provide consistency across all the former SIGs and colleges due to greater control by PMI. An immediate benefit to PMI members is the ability to join any number of SIGs at no additional fees. All you have to do is be a member of PMI. Previously a dues payment was required to join each SIG and each college.

 

The PMI virtual community model and CPM each provide member/subscriber value via different methods. Effective 1 February the two organizations will separate. Each organization will continue to provide member value in the manner used previously.

 

CPM joined PMI in early 2001 after being the Performance Management Association (PMA). In one form or another PMA and CPM have served the EVM community for over 27 years. Over the last year or so the CPM board acted concurrently as the EVM CoP. With PMI and CPM's separation announcement on 27 Jan, the CPM Board will now focus on the management of CPM.

 

CPM, Inc. is a non-profit corporation registered in Virginia.

 

Both organizations expressed willingness to work together in the future.

 

The EVM community will now have two organizations providing networking and sharing of ideas and experiences. It is expected that the EVM CoP will continue under the leadership of PMI while CPM will continue to conduct EVM World and manage the technical content for the Integrated Program Management Conference (IPMC). Also the quarterly Measurable News should continue to reach CPM members.

 

  

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 EVM World is a trademark of the College of Performance Management
 Tidbit # 29, Backwards Thinking

  

Our projects usually focus on our organization's traditional products, technologies, or customers. As a result we obtain efficiencies from reusing our processes and forms. So when a new project arrives we typically look to past projects to help get a jump on our project planning. We copy and paste old schedule templates, planning documents, quality plans, etc. and adapt them to the new project. We might just "Find and Replace" "old project name" with "new project name".

 

Is this really the way to efficiency? What if a fresh look at the project yields a better plan?

 

Time to think backwards.

 

Typically when we develop the project activity network we begin at START and work toward END. What if our planning team worked backwards? Would the result be different? Possibly.

 

Start with the last activity "Close down project." Ask the team, "What do we need to do to close down the project". They might reply, "Deliver the final product, deliver the documentation, complete the training, etc." OK. Now let's pick on "deliver the final product". What do we need to do to "deliver the final product"? The team replies "Complete the testing, package the product, confirm shipper information." And so on.

 

The activity network is built in reverse. The benefit is the traditional activity is challenged by a look at what is really needed versus what we've always done. You might just be able to eliminate some activities or re-sequence them and end up with a more accurate depiction of the really necessary activities.

 

Thinking backwards might just reduce the time to more forward to the endpoint.

 

Develop activity networks backwards from the end of the project.

 

Make sure only the required activities are included.

  

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.

How one Executive Showed Interest in EVM!

  

Executive support. It is listed again and again as a key to deploying any initiative, including use of EVM. Here is true story of how EVM was implemented across a top 100 US defense contractor about three decades ago.

 

As a DoD contractor this company used EVM when required on contracts. This requirement was applied to about a third of their projects. The VP liked the visibility into these projects and wanted it on all projects, especially fixed price contracts since their money was at risk.

 

Every quarter all the project managers gave the executive a one hour briefing on their projects. This, of course, was a major event in the PM's routine since the VP would be aware of their skills and competence. This briefing could be a career enhancing or career limiting event.

 

During one series of briefings the executive told each PM that in six months he wanted EVM data on every project as part of the briefing.

 

As the six month briefing got closer the PMs worked hard to have their best foot forward. Charts, graphs, schedules, risk analysis, back up charts, and rehearsals took most of the week leading to the briefing. Get the story straight, anticipate questions, have answers, be totally prepared for anything. This was serious stuff and a chance to shine.

 

Briefing day: As each PM entered the room the executive would quickly flip through the presentation handout to see what the PM would be presenting. Most PMs included the new EVM data in their charts. It was a rough start into EVM reporting, but a start, and the data was consistent with the general health of the projects.

 

A few PMs did not have any EVM data present. Five minutes into the briefing the executive would state, "Where's the EVM data? I asked for EVM six months ago and you have had six months to get EVM going?" These unfortunate PMs would provide various excuses and start talking to their next slide so as to dodge the subject of EVM. The executive would interrupt them, "I think we're done here, see you in three months, and bring EVM data."

 

All that preparation time wasted. No opportunity to impress the boss with the last three months of project work. Just the single fact that the PM was one of the few whose presentation was never completed.

 

Three months later the executive had EVM data on 100% of the projects.

 

  

 

 Learned it, forgot it, learned it again

  

Last October the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled "Critical Factors Underlying Successful Major Acquisition". The subject of the report was seven IT systems acquisitions valued from $35 million to $2 billion. The remarkable common feature of these programs is that they met their schedule, cost, and performance targets.

 

The programs included a Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) program and a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program.

 

GAO interviewed people involved with the programs (staff, customers, users, etc.) with open-ended questions about the factors leading to the success of each program. From this the most-common success factors were tabulated.

 

The most common success factor, in seven of seven cases.....wait for it......was ""program officials were actively engaged with stakeholders." The stakeholders included internal stakeholders (including top management) and external stakeholders (oversight bodies, non-government customers). What does "actively engaged" mean? Stakeholders were involved in developing requirements, meeting with contractors, addressing issues, getting progress reports, and reviewing deliverables. Once again the old is new again.

 

The second and third runner up for "common success factors were: "program staff had the necessary knowledge and skills" and "senior department and agency executives supported the programs." These appeared in five of the seven programs.

 

Program staff knowledge and skill included procurement, contract management, organizational change, and earned value management.

 

Senior support was demonstrated with interventions that the program manager could not make happen, such as reaching agreements with other department's senior leadership over resources, etc.

 

What is the message here?

  1. Stakeholder management is key. Do that well and you avoid lots of "other management help."
  2. Use trained and skilled program staff, get them trained if needed, and get them experience on smaller programs.
  3. Engage your senior management early and admit to problems soon after they appear. They want you to succeed too.

 

Workshops EVPrep™ and EVM Workshops
  
The following workshops are planned for the following locations:
  • Reston, VA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Dallas, TX
  • Saint Louis, MO
Earned Value Experience (CAM) Workshop
 
You'll experience creating an earned value management baseline, determining earned value from project status, Classroomcalculating earned value management indices, and estimating final cost and completion date. This workshop is perfect for team leads, control account managers, financial and schedule control staff, project and program managers, and chief project officers.

Excel EzEVM™Templates may be retained by attendees to implement earned value management in their organization.

 

 

View the Earned Value Experience (CAM) workshop outline and get the registration form.
 
Interested in an on-site workshop? Send an e-mail with your your address and the number of attendees to receive a quote


EVPrepEVPrep Exam Prep Workshop

The workshop covers all the topics likely covered in the exam and provides exam-like questions and workshop discussion about each question and the possible answers. This workshop also includes an EVM analysis question to help prepare you for the three page written essay in Part II (was part IV).
 
Take this workshop and save $150 on the exam. Attendees are given a temporary limited membership in AACE that allows you to take the exam at AACE member rates.

 
This is twelve hours of mock EVP exam and discussions of correct and incorrect answers.
  
Do you have an EVP FAQ
  
Go to AACE's website for the latest information about exam dates.
View the EVPrep workshop outline and get the registration form.

Interested in an on-site workshop? Send an e-mail with your your address and the number of attendees to receive a quote.

"Occupy xxx" and "xxx Springs" Everywhere

 

2011 saw a lot of unhappy people in streets. Not going to make a political statement here but is this part of a never ending story?

  

"Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?

G'mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger.

Atreyu: What is the Nothing?

G'mork: It's the emptiness that's left. It's like despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.

Atreyu: But why?

G'mork: Because people who have no hopes are easy to control; and whoever has the control... has the power!"

 

The Never Ending Story (German: Die unendliche Geschichte) is a 1984 German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name written by Michael Ende.

 

The Neverending Story Trailer
The Neverending Story

 

 
 
 
Upcoming EVM and PM Conferences 
        
   
NASA PM Challenge 2012
WHEN: 22-23 February 2012
WHERE: Orlando, FL
EVM World 2012
WHEN: 30 May 2012 - June 2 2012
WHERE: Naples, FL
MORE INFO: CPM
 

AACE Annual Meeting 2012

WHEN: 8-11 July 2012 

WHERE:Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, Texas
MORE INFO: AACE, International  
  
Do you have news to share? Send your news item and we'll review it for posting in a future EVM Newsletter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ray Stratton, PMP, EVP
Management Technologies

Copyright 2012, Management Technologies
 

The EVM Newsletter, EVPrep, The Earned Value Management Maturity Model, EVM3, EzEVM, and The Earned Value Experience are trademarks of Management Technologies.

 

The Earned Value Professional , EVP, and the AEP logo are marks of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, International. (AACE®).

 

The PMP, PMBOK, PMI, and R.E.P. , and the Registered Education Provider logo are
registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.