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The EVM Newsletter™ #58                                                  July 2014


The July EVM Newsletter is earlier in the month than the last two monthly issues. Is this a trend? Is my SPI improving? Or is it the realization that if I didn't get it out now there would be no July issue. Internet on a cruise ship is so costly that it drove my schedule to early completion. Let's see if I can keep this up.


Do you have Progress Assist Visit (PAV) coming up? Have you been through a PAV? The lead story is about a client's recent experience with a PAV.


As promised last month we have a book review this month. It's a book about project communications. We all need communication and the better the communication the better the project environment. But what is better? More, less; more detail, less detail; more often, less often; email, text messages, phone calls? The book tries to help answer these questions.


This months quote is Hey, it's my Newsletter. But I said it and someone said I was right, so here it is.


Do you have cost and schedule variances? I hope so. If not, your EVMS is not working because no one is that good or lucky. But are all variances created equal? Is 5% or 10% always the "significant variances" that need to be addressed in variance analysis? The July Tidbit discusses this.




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Once again, we jump into the four letter versus two letter word issue. Maybe three letters is the compromise position.


We close with an unrelated story originating in Earp, CA, population; a few hundred. Unrelated, except that the story would not be a story without the help of our past customers and clients.


By the way, full URLs are always shown along with links. Some subscribers are prevented from clicking on links so they have the full URL to paste into their browsers. 


You can help make the EVM 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 




A Progress Assist Visit (PAV) Experinece

Are you or your organization facing a PAV? Planning and preparation can pay off. (PAV preparation is one of the services we provide). 


A progress assistance visit (PAV) is conducted by the validating agency as part of preparing a contractor for an EVMS ANSI 748 validation review. The visit is a check on how the contractor is progressing toward an ANSI 748 EVMS and identifies what items might need to be addressed prior to the formal validation review. This provides the contractor valuable feedback so that the likelihood of a successful validation review is increased.


One outcome of a PAV are corrective actions requests (CARs) that document shortfalls in the EVMS relative to ANSI 748. If these are addressed prior to the validation review then they should not appear again and the EVMS will be validated.


We had worked with our client to help them meet their US civilian agency's ANSI 748 expectations. The contractor had their $50M contract but their EVMS was not achieving the agency's goals. We worked with the contractor on their system description, forms, processes, and conducting training. We helped with work package planning and control account plans. We reviewed CPRs. We met with the agency, listened, and heard their issues.


Once their EVMS System Description was found ANSI 748 compliant a PAV was scheduled and performed by the agency. Data traces were performed, CAMs and PMs interviewed, CPRs and IMS reviewed. And then we got the outbrief and PAV report.


There would be no validation review team visit. Was this bad news? Was this good news?


There were no CARs. After implementing some additional minor documentation their EVMS would be validated! There would be no second visit. We think this is about a good an outcome as one can hope for.



 BLOCK5Four Letter Words about EVM

EVM began with four letter words. BCWP, BCWS, ACWP. These terms are found in the earliest of the US government EVM guidance documents. Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled, Budgeted Cost of Work Performed, Actual Cost of Work Performed.


No one really had a problem with the last one, ACWP. Actual cost of work performed is.... the actual cost of work performed. The other two required some mental gymnastics.


In our households and in finance a budget is what we set aside to spend on something. Then we buy it. What we have spent is the cost of the item. The cost is likely different than the budget, and hopefully less.


So what is "budgeted cost"? Is it a budget? Is it a cost? It can't be both, can it? It's an oxymoron. No wonder people trying to understand EVM are confused by the traditional terms. Once the terms are understood they are a more accurate term that the two letter terms (PV, EV, and AC) that have replaced them. BCWS is really the "budgeted cost of work scheduled" {to be performed}.  BCWP is really the "budgeted cost of work {that has been} performed.


But PV, EV, and AC work better for most people. Planned Value, Earned value, Actual Cost. No oxymorons. But they don't explain EVM in the detail of BCWS, BCWP, and ACWP.  If two letters are too few and four too many, how about three?


How about Budget for Work Scheduled (BWS), Budget for Work Completed (BWC), and Cost of Work Completed (CWC). I don't expect to change the status quo but it's something to think about when you say BCWP and people look at you strangely. 




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Book Review


Reinventing Communication, Mark Phillips, Gower Press, ISBN 978-1-4724-1100-6


Mark Phillips' book, Reinventing Communication addresses perhaps the most key ingredient of project success - communication. Regardless of the type of project or industry, communication is how the project team expresses their needs, requirements, data, expectations, progress, costs, expected outcomes, and just about everything else.


Mark begins by showing how project communication can determine the project's outcome. He then describes how one can design a communications plan including who gets what information, in what manner (email, telephone, in person), and how often, and to what detail.


Mark has looked at project communication as a science. Plan the project communication and measure it and see if the communication plan is being followed. If not, correct it. If it is but the results are not as planned revise the plan. A plan, do, check, act cycle. He borrows from earned value management the concept of having a communications baseline built upon the plan and variances to show if the plan is being followed.


The book has numerous case studies and a checklist to use communication as a performance management tool. It is an interesting discussion on a too often ignored ingredient of project success.


I did find the organization of the book a bit odd. The book begins with a Glossary of 22 terms that Mark uses precisely later in the book. Drudging through the Glossary to get to the Introduction was laborious and of course the definitions were long forgotten when I ran into the terms later in the book. My preference would have been to have the term in footnotes on the page where it was first used.


His approach to quantifying communication takes advantage of today's digital communications. It's easy to look a quantities and frequencies of emails, text message, and the like. Not so easily with phone calls and face to face office discussions. Measuring these would be a challenge.


Also, like EVM, the project manager or customer has to be convinced that adding resources to the project to plan, measure, and report on variances will provide useful information. Measuring cost and schedule performance, already numeric, would be easier than measuring communication, and perhaps more convincing. Also, you need to measure carefully. We tend to get what we measure.


Nevertheless, the criticality of communication to project success is well known. Ideas are needed on how to do this better and it starts with planning and measuring. Mark's book provides ideas for serious consideration.



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Quotable Quote

"Engineers love to measure, just don't ask them to measure progress." 



 Ray W. Stratton, PMP, EVM

EVM World 2014



BLOCK4Tidbit #58, All Variances are Not Created Equal

How critical is the critical path? Critical! It's how we know what really drives the project completion date. The trouble with EVM is that it is ignorant of the critical path. While it's true that ALL the work must eventually be done, it must also be done in the correct order according to the project schedule.


How critical are the non-critical paths? Not critical until they are so late in finishing that they become part of the critical path. But until that time they have float represented by Late Start date minus Early Start date, for example.


Adding to this complication is that most schedules show only Early Start and Early Finish dates for non-critical tasks, not the "Late" dates. We create our EVM Performance Measurement Baseline from these "Early" dates resulting in a PMB that shows all work at its early start and finish dates when the non-critical task may still finish before the Late Finish dates with no impact to the project.


So being 5% off plan on the critical path is critical, but it's probably not for non-critical tasks since they have float and are baselined on only early start dates.


Why not flag the critical tasks in our baseline so that we can apply a tight tolerance (5% ?) to those tasks, and a looser tolerance (15%) to non-critical tasks? This will focus our attention on the variances we really need to look at. All variances are not equal.


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Management Technologies Products & Services 
EVPrep and EVM Workshops

EVPrep 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).


"Ray, your course is excellent preparation for the EVP Certification test. Your questions were comprehensive like the test and somewhat harder (more complex) than the real test. Your preparation course especially helped with the memo."

Jeff Kottmyer



Do you have an  EVP FAQ?  

(Link :


Does our EVPrep workshop and/or EVP Study Guide really help with the EVP exam?



Using these data and data from AACE regarding yearly totals of EVP exams taken and exams passed we did some statistical analysis.


Yes, our EVPrep products are effective in increasing the likelihood of passing the EVP exam.


Earned Value Experience (CAM) Workshop



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.


Where Can I Find More Tidbits?


Where can you go to find old EVM Newsletter Tidbits?



Since August of 2009 each EVM Newsletter has included a tidbit to help make EVM work better, be less costly, or more accurate, or timelier. 


All the Tidbits are available via a link 




( lists each topic or theme. The link is on all our web pages as well. 



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Conferences and Events


9th ICEC World Congress

WHEN: 20-22 October 2014

WHERE: Milano Italy




PMI Global Congress 2014 - North America

WHEN: 26-28 October 2014

WHERE: Phoenix, Arizona, USA


AACE International Conference

WHEN: 12-13 November 2014 (Yes 2014)

WHERE: Bangkok Thailand


PMO Symposium

WHEN:16-19 November 2014

WHERE: Miami, Florida, USA



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BLOCK9Solving a Problem in Earp, California, You Helped 

 There is a problem in Earp CA and our customers helped us address it.


Earp CA is a cluster of homes on the California side of the Colorado River across from Parker AZ (pop, 3,000). Earp has about 200 households, a main street, and few stores. Dylan, age 6 months and his young parents live in Earp. (Yes it's named after Wyatt E.) 


When Dylan was born prematurely in Parker AZ 90% of his small intestine was outside his body. He had breathing problems too. He survived after an emergency airlift to Phoenix and is now six months old and thriving. His diminished lung capacity and birth trauma left him with brain damage in addition to follow up surgeries. The specialists he needs are at the Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in San Bernardino CA, over three hours away by car. That's a long trip for Mom and infant, and money is an issue too. Mom and the infant tried to make the trip once but the old car and infant's needs made it almost a 6 hour trip through the CA desert.


As an Angel Flight West (AFW) pilot I saw their need for travel on the AFW website. Pilots flying for AFW use their planes, their skills, and their money. Using some of the revenue we get from helping our clients, training, and selling EVP materials, I grabbed my plane flew Dylan and his mom from San Bernadino back to Parker to get mom and infant back home. (Another pilot flew them to Loma Linda two days before.) They slept the whole way and were home in an hour. With aircraft operating costs of $150 or more per hour the revenue we get from our customers helps us make the two hour round trip and get Dylan the specialized help he needs. 


Thank you to our past clients and customers.


I try to do 4-6 AFW missions a year. This one-minute video gives you a better idea of how our customers help support our volunteer effort to get rural citizens the medical specialist they need.

Never Far Away, one minute vidwo
Never Far Away, one minute vidwo


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Copyright 2014, Management Technologies 


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The CAM^Exam, and The Earned Value Experience are trademarks of Management Technologies.


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 are marks of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, International. (AACEŽ).



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