March 2013
The EVM Newsletter™
from Management Technologies
Highlights in this Issue
EVP Pass Rate Jumps
EVM World Celebrates ES
Video, You Might Like EVM
Weber's Law
Agile Track at EVM World
Int'l Project Controls Org.
Tidbit: Root Causes
Making Engineers into PMs
Management Technologies Services 


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EVP Pass Rates Jumps in 2012
 chart, upward


According to AACE in 2010 the EVP pass rate was 46%.


In 2011 it was 56%.


Last year it was 88%.


It is not possible to determine a specific factor for the recent increase in the passing rate. The exam is now computer based so using statistics poor questions can be identified and eliminated.


One other factor is the number of applicants who are retaking the exam. Some of these candidates might have first failed in a previous year thus skew the results.


The average pass for all AACE certifications is about 66%, but the EVP is running 88%.


We like to think our EVPrep Study Guide and EVPrep workshop have played a part too but there is insufficient data to back up this claim. (LinkedIn "EVP Study Group" members have said nice things though.) To our knowledge the EVP is the only AACE certification with an independent two-day preparation workshop and an independent study guide. So far over 600 Study Guides have been sold since 2008.


There are about 460 current, active EVPs.



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 EVM World Celebrates Ten Years of Earned Schedule 

EVM World registration is now open.


This year is the tenth year anniversary of Walt Lipke's work in creating the Earned Schedule method of EVM data analysis. An ES track at EVM World will highlight presentations on the past and present use of ES. Walt will also be a keynote speaker at the event.


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
"Open charge numbers collect costs."
heard at 2011 IPMC
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Constant Contact All Star Award (3nd year)

(Less than 10% of Constant Contact customers are
All Stars.)




The EVM Newsletter has been awarded Constant Contact's 2012 All Star Award.


According to Constant Contact "Your efforts last year to reach your customers and engage with them were exemplary. This status is an annual designation that only 10% of our customers achieve for their use of Constant Contact products. The standards for becoming an All Star this year were tougher than ever, and that you managed to do it for consecutive years is quite an accomplishment."


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If You Try It, You Might Just LIke It.


Octopus meal

Sometimes an undeserved bad reputation causes people to avoid something new.


Do you know people who have never tried EVM, but are sure they don't want it or need it?


It's kind of like how people view "Dr. Pepper". (No it does not have prune juice.) There are people who have heard about "Dr. Pepper" and just know they won't like it so they won't try it.


Same with some people and EVM. In this one minute video you can replace "Dr. Pepper" with "EVM" and it still works. And it stars one of my favorite actresses before she did movies, TV, and live stage. 


Dr Pepper Commercial
Dr Pepper Commercial

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Weber's Law and Thresholds



You are blindfolded. At what point would you detect someone adding water to a cup you are holding. One drop, one ounce, one-half the cup's volume? The answer is your 'discrimination threshold" and it follows Webers Law .


The Law states that the discrimination threshold depends on the intensity of the baseline sensation, not the absolute change. So if you are holding a ½ cup of water then the amount of water that is needed to detect the change is different that if you are holding 2 cups of water.


The relationship between stimulus and perception is logarithmic. Weber's Law is likely part of focusing our mental energy so that we don't have to address every little change in our environment.


Pressure on your skin requires a 16% change for you to detect it. A 10% change will not be noticed. Sound intensity (volume) needs about a 10% change, but pitch needs only about a 0.3% change (perhaps evolved to distinguish voices). Length of a line? 1%


At what point does the SV or CV get your attention?  In EVM variance thresholds define "significant" variances.


We can set variances any way we wish. They can vary over time, be based upon investment to date (ACWP, AC) or any other factors.


Thresholds can get tighter over time as risks are behind us and trends established. Like Weber's Law we want to know the significant changes, but don't need to constantly process every variance.




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Welcome to the March 2013 EVM Newsletter. me2011


We have included details of the upcoming May EVM WORLD conference in Naples. A track on Agile and EVM is highlighted in our news.  


The Earned Value Experience™ workshop will be conducted in Reston VA on 8-9 April. This workshop is for CAMs, PM, and others who want hands-on experience in applying EVM. Attendees will leave ready to apply EVM on the job. A simple version of the EzEVM Excel workbook template is provided. Registration closes 3 April.


Our EVPrep™ workshop will be conducted in Reston on 10-11 April. This workshop helps prepare attendees for the 5 hour EVP exam. Attend the workshop and save $125 on the exam fee. Registration closes 3 April.


"Planning Planet" is a recent discovery of ours. It's primarily an Eastern Hemisphere project controls organization. That makes interesting to the EVM Community. More below.


This year is the tenth year anniversary of Walt Lipke's work in creating the Earned Schedule method of EVM data analysis. An ES track at EVM World will highlight presentations on the past and present use of ES. Walt will also be a keynote speaker at the event.


Kids and adults get preconceived ideas about the untried - and then don't try things that might actually be good. EVM is one of these things. So is the "Dr. Pepper" beverage. There is a video on trying the unknown that works for both drinks and EVM.


Our March Tidbit (#42) is about writing variance analysis and a technique that might make sure the root cause is brought forward.


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Have you ever been frustrated while working with engineers as a PM or EVM focal point? We have tried to address why this might be so.


Also.... AACE EVP Exam pass rate has shot up and a number of reasons are suggested. And how Weber's Law might help define variance thresholds.


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 

Agile Development still has a planned budget and coagilempletion date. The Agile+EVM Track is a series of presentations on how and where EVM fits into Agile Development.


EVM has traditionally been applied to waterfall type development with fixed scope and fixed technical requirements. Agile development continuously reviews both scope and technical requirements to keep pace with the customer's evolving environment.


How can EVM apply to agile development? How can agile development embrace EVM? The AGILE+EVM track will address these questions. It will begin with "What is agile?" and end with a panel discussion and audience discussions with the presenters."


I am pleased to be the track chair for EVM World's AGILE+EVM  track. Six sessions are planned 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".



Planning Planet 

Planning Planet is a non-profit, global organization focused on project planning and controls. Isn't that what EVM is all about?  One can't do EVM without having done planning well, monitoring cost and schedule, and executing control when needed.


"Bringing recognition to the project controls profession" is their slogan.


It boasts a new member every 73 minutes (computed dynamically, your result will differ). A search of their discussion forum using "earned value" found over 200 pages of 6-8 hits per page. Find out more and join if you have interest. Planning Planet is largely EU based with interests in the Middle East and elsewhere. If you are in these areas or interested in possible engagements in these areas you might want to check them out. 



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Tidbit #42, "Finding your Roots"  


Variance is a good thing.


It means our EVMS is working and giving us real data. No one is playing with the data to get Cost  Variance (CV) and Schedule Variance (SV) to be zero.


A variance analysis is required in most contracts when the variance exceeds some predefined negotiated threshold.  Whether you are the Control Account Manager (CAM) addressing the variance or the PM who needs to know the cause, getting to the root cause is the goal.


"I have a negative CV because I spent too much" is not a root cause, only a restatement of fact. "I have a negative SV because those engineers took longer than planned." Again, no useful information.


A very long time ago I watched a US Dept of State ¾" video tape training program on working within other global cultures. The speaker was trying to explain how to identify the cultural things we do. When confronted by someone doing what you think is odd you can ask them, "Why do you do that?"


"My Dad did it."


"Why did he do it?"


"I guess his Dad or Mom did it."



"I don't know."


Bang, you have run into a cultural habit. Ask "why" at least three times.


Asking "Why" three times can help get us to the root cause of a variance. "Why do you have a negative cost variance?" "Because I had to pay for more senior engineers". "Why?" "Because my original team was stuck." "Why?" "Because they were not familiar with the required technology." There is the root cause. Thank you.



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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: 


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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 Bring Me a Different PM!

A while ago Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) was standing up a Program Management Office (PMO). They asked  the engineering workforce "Who wants to be a project manager?" A good percent of their hands went up and they were trained in PM basics and made PMs.


Two years later management tossed 60% of them back into engineering. Yes, there is Gates, and Jobs, and ... but the Wright Brothers never made a cent building airplanes, save one contract with the US Army.


Engineers generally don't have business sense. It's not just about features and cool things. Sooner or later you have to build it. As famously quoted, "There comes a time in the life of all projects when you have to just shoot the engineers and move into production."


Here's a possible engineer-turned-PM attitude. "I have a technical problem there must be a technically elaborate solution." Or. "I have a cost problem. There must be a technically elaborate solution." Or. "I have schedule problem. There must be a technically elaborate solution."


Being a PM is a shift in mind set. That is why virtually all MS Degrees in Program Management come out of the "school" or "college" of Business. Imagine that, a project run on business principles.


t's why engineers often can't make this shift and they fail as PMs. Business is risk adverse; engineers like cutting edge stuff. You can't blame them. An engineer needs and wants state of the art experience on their resume. That is why most attempts to reuse prior subassemblies and products never materialize. There is no "up side" for an engineer in reusing technology.


For the PM using cutting edge technology represents a risk, an avoidable risk if reuse is possible. Two different attitudes trying to work together. It's no wonder many engineers have little use for PMs who ask for unknowable answers to "when will it be working?"


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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. (AACE®).


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


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