February 2013
The EVM Newsletter™
from Management Technologies
Highlights in this Issue
Getting EV Correct
Avoiding Heroics
On-Line EVPrep Study Guide
What Does EVM Really Cost?
Risk and Change
Software Challenges
Tidbit:Going Bananas
Are We Getting Dumber and Dumber?
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Getting the Most Accurate Earned Value

 From an AACE email...


"AACE International will offer a webinar entitled 'Techniques for Choosing and Implementing the Most Appropriate Earned Value Technique for Objective Performance Measurement' March 21 at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time."


The presenters for the 75-minute webinar will be Kimberly Meyer, EVP, and Kimberly Hunter, EVP



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 EVM World 

EVM World registration is now open.


In addition to the AGILE+EVM track, there are tracks on Earned Schedule, US Government topics, and Finding Opportunities. Of course CPM's training will be done each morning, plus vendors tool tracks, workshops, and exhibitors.


This is your last chance to go to EVM World and see Naples FL too. Beginning in 2014 EVM World will move about.


In 2014 EVM World will be held in San Antonio TX.


In 2015 it's in New Orleans.


Quotable Quote
"The superior pilot (project manager) uses superior judgment to avoid abnormal or emergency situations that would require the exercise of superior piloting (project mangement) skills. 

Forward to a friend 


Did you find this newsletter interesting?

Forward it to a friend!



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AACE Approved Education  Provider

 R.E.P. logo

PMI Registered Education Provider


Constant Contact All Star Award (2nd year)

(Less than 5% of Constant Contact customers are
All Stars.)



On-Line Interactive EVP Study Guide Just As Popular

Since its introduction late last year the on-line interactive version of our EVP Exam Study Guide is proving as popular as the bound and downloadable versions.


For "connected" individuals the on-line version provides an interactive experience via an internet browser, without loss of any Study Guide content.  


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The Cost of Doing EVM

Dollar sign 

What is the cost of doing EVM?


I get asked that. Your customer may ask you. Your boss who questions the value of EVM might ask you.


One of the challenges is separating the cost of EVM from the costs of doing what EVM requires but should be done anyway. While EVM can drive good practices, the good practices should be done anyway.


For example, you need a well thought out schedule with links, etc. But even without EVM requirements, a sound schedule is a good idea. So I would exclude the costs of building a good schedule from EVM costs but your client/boss may not agree. So what are the unique EVM costs?


Here's my guess ...



I claim that anything else that is done to perform EVM should be done anyway and is not part of the cost of doing EVM. It's just the cost of managing a project well. 


You might not agree with my list, but there are project planning and control tasks that should be done anyway. Make up your list. Consider it when asked "What does EVM really cost?"


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Lessons Learned 
Risk and Change

Risk Management and Change Management are two activities project managers should undertake. But a lesson learned is that they are related and perhaps almost the same activity.


"Change" is a project risk and should be addressed in the risk management efforts.


But "Risks" are items which change our plans and so are part of change management.


A lesson learned is that these two activities should be linked. Any change is a risk, and any risk that materializes changes the plan.



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Welcome to the February 2013 EVM Newsletter. me2011


This issue highlights some of the planned events for EVM World including a track of six presentations on implementing AGILE and EVM on projects. A separate track addresses earned schedule progress and results after ten years since its initiation.


Why are software development projects (IT) so hard, late, and over budget? A 2004 handout at the PMI Orange County dinner might provide some reasons.


Does the learning curve go down - not up?  Too often most of what we've done before takes longer and more money each time we do a similar task in spite of having previous experience. Why? Maybe human nature is the problem. If so, are we stuck with this?


Tidbit #41 provides an idea on why an SPI of less than one might really be OK and an SPI greater than one might not be OK. It's about bananas.


The next EVPrep workshop is scheduled for April 10-11 in Reston. Two additional workshops have been scheduled. One in San Diego (June 20-12), and one in Naples FL immediately following EVM World (make it a weekend for the family in FL!). Salt Lake City (June 12-13) remains on the schedule as well.



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The month's quote is borrowed, again, from the aviation pilot community. The parallels between flying a plane and running a project is just too rich an area to avoid. (See ProjectsatWork).


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


Ray Stratton, PMP, EVP 



AGILE+EVM Track at EVM World 

I am pleased to be the track chair for EVM World's AGILE+EVMagile  track. Six sessions are planned starting with what is agile and ending with a panel discussion with the track speakers. The track will cover:


  • What is agile?
  • Implementing Agile
  • Methods to apply EVM to Agile development
  • How to apply Agile to EVM mandated projects
  • US OMB guidance on Agile and EVM
  • Panel Discussion

If you attend any of the track sessions stop and say "hi".



Why is Software so Hard? 

At a 2004 PMI Orange County dinner meeting I saw a one pagedifferent   handout* on why software is different. I thought it was right on then and I think it still is. If you are involved in software development (IT, real-time DOD, ERP deployment, etc.) you might find this interesting. Here are the reasons given on why software is so tough to manage and get right.

  • Software is irregular, intangible, and invisible. It cannot be experienced in the physical world or follow the laws of nature.
  • Real progress relies on indirect evidence of progress.
  • There is little agreed upon guidance or standard process compared to civil, mechanical, electrical and other engineering fields. There are no handbooks, tables, or formulas. 
  • No two parts or systems are alike. Experience on the last project may not be applicable. 
  • Software construction often requires innovation.  
  • The myth that software is malleable. You can't always just change the code without unexpected side effects.       
  • Software construction is human-intensive. (See the related topic below on getting "Getting Dumber...".)
  • Software application horizons expand with hardware capabilities.
  • Software solutions require unusual rigor .
  • Scaling up the system causes a nonlinear increase in complexity.

The full article is found on our page of article links.   


* Hadar Ziv and Craig D. Wilson. Unique Challenges of Software Project Management. In PMI Milestones (Project Management Institute - Orange County Chapter), Volume 18, Number 4, Page 5, April 2004


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Tidbit #41, "Yes! We Have No Bananas"  


If you are equal to or greater than a certain age you recognize the title of this article from an old Caribbean song.


In EVM we have no "bananas" but maybe we should. The EVM community usually refers to the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) as an S-curve due to its general shape. This general shape comes from our "time phased" budget which in turn shows how we plan resources. Projects start slow, get into their 'stride', and then taper off as work is completed and resources released. The result is an "S" curve.


The duration of the project and its S-curve duration are dependent upon the critical path. But the overall shape is determined by both critical path and non-critical path work. In a recent EVM Newsletter we discussed how the PMB S-curve has different shapes depending on whether early start/end dates or late start/end dates are used for non-critical path tasks.


Non-critical work is ... non-critical until it becomes part of the critical path when the entire float is used up. Can we have a PMB that shows both shapes? I found a mention of "Banana Curves". They are the result of showing both early start and late start PMBs on the same chart. Of course the PMB endpoints are the same, but throughout the middle portion there is a vertical distance between the two lines on any given date. The higher line is the PMB when using early start dates and the lower line from using late start dates. There you have it. A "banana" shape.


In theory if your EV (Earned Value) data points lie between these two PMBs you are probably OK. Perhaps if we replace the PMB with a pair of PMBs (banana curves) and monitor project performance we would get less excited if we have a negative SV using the higher PMB. We would still have a positive SV with respect to the lower PMB.


Of course, as with any EVM data, we must always look at the critical path. We must make sure that the EV is also the result of doing the critical path work.


On the downside, calling the concept "banana curves" is just giving those who question EVM's utility a reason to call it "monkey business".



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EVPrep™ and EVM Workshops

The following workshops are planned for one or more of the following locations:

  • Reston, VA
  • Naples, FL (following EVM World)
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Diego

Earned Value Experience (CAM) Workshop (14 PDUs)


You'll experience creating an earned value management baseline, determining earned value from project status, calculating 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.


Locations and Dates


View the Earned Value Experience 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. 


EVPrep Exam Prep Workshop (14 PDUs)


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.


Locations and Dates 


This is twelve hours of mock EVP exam and discussions of correct and incorrect answers.


Do you have an EVP FAQ

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.


Upcoming EVM and PM Conferences


PMI Australia Conference

When: 18-19 March 2013

Where: Frankfurt, Germany

More Info: Project Zone 


PM Global Gov and Controls Symposium

When: 9-10 April 2013

Where: Canberra, Australia

More Info: http://wired.ivvy.com/event/GCSM13/ 


APM Scotland Conference

WHEN: 17 April 2013

WHERE: Edinburgh, Scotland



PMI Project Zone Conference

When: 1-3 May 2013

Where: Sydney, NWS, Australia

More Info: PMI Australia


EVM WORLD 2013 (Registration is open.)

(Focused tracks on Earned Schedule, US Gov't, and Agile+EVM)

WHEN: 29-31 May 2013

WHERE: Naples, FL



AACE International's Annual Meeting

WHEN: 30 June - 3 July 2013

WHERE: Marriott Wardman Park, Washington DC



PM Oz 2013

WHEN: 17-18 September 2013

WHERE: Melborne, Victoria, Australia



IPMA World Congress

WHEN: 30 September - 3 October 2013

WHERE: Dubrovnik, Croatia

MORE INFO: IPMC World Congress 


Integrated Program Management Conference

WHEN: 18-20 November 2013

WHERE: Bethesda, MD



EVM Europe 2013

WHEN: 3-4 December 2013 (Changed)

WHERE: University of Ghent, Belgium



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 Getting Dumber, Project by Project

Usually people get better and more efficient at performing tasks when they have done them before, thus generatingdoh   a positive learning curve. But it doesn't seem to apply to projects. As organizations and individuals we tend to work in one area of business where we have experience and credibility. Yet each time we are asked "how long" and "how much" the estimate often increases. Why is this?


Let's consider task duration since cost is usually proportional. We scheduled ten weeks for a task but used twelve to complete it. So the next time we have a similar task we convince the boss or customer that we need to allow fourteen weeks. That way we'll finish early and look good. But we take sixteen weeks. Why aren't we getting better at doing this work?


It has to do with human nature. Two "laws" often come into play, Parkinson's Law and Student Syndrome. Parkinson's Law (1955) says "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." "Student Syndrome" is a condition where people do not fully work on a task until the last possible moment before a deadline. (When you knew in February that a college term paper was due on June 10, when did you finally work on it in earnest? June 8th?) Want proof? Look at the date of past EVM Newsletters. Each month they are a few days later in the month. (Shame on me.)


Is there hope? Perhaps but it's hard to change human nature and harder to change old ways. What if the discussion about how long the task would went like this?


"How long do I have to work on this task? Ten weeks? Twelve weeks?" {See the negotiation starting?}


"Just do it as quickly as possible."


"No, how much time do I have?" {I need to be able to apply the "laws"}.


"As I said, just do it as quickly as possible".


So the work gets done in the shortest time possible because without a scheduled end date Parkinson's Law and Student Syndrome are defeated. This concept is core to critical chain management. If you only have a target end date for the project and time buffers, but perform the critical chain work as quickly as possible the project will take the least time to complete.


Research "Critical Chain" for the whole story. It might be hard to apply, but otherwise we might just be appearing dumber and dumber.


 (Yes, applying EVM is tough in critical chain processes.)


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Do you have news to share?  Send your news item and we'll review it for posting in a future EVM Newsletter.
Ray Stratton, PMP, EVP
Management Technologies

Copyright 2013, Management Technologies  

The EVM Newsletter, EVPrep, The Earned Value Management Maturity Model, EVM3, EzEVM,
The CAM Exam, 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. (AACEŽ).


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


EVM World is a
registered trademark of the College of Performance Management, Inc.