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The EVM Newsletter™ #63                                       December 2014

TopIt's here. Already! The end of 2014 and the last 2014 issue of The EVM Newsletter. Did the year go by quickly for you? How about your project milestones? Did the time to get the work completed seem compressed?


I am reminded of the statement on right side (US) view mirrors that "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are". It may also be true that "Milestones in the future are closer than they appear". And so it is that December seems far away in January and then, suddenly, it's December. (Student Syndrome.) When there are eighteen months to the first delivery it seems so far away, and then suddenly it's here.


We have another article about the recently completed IPM workshop in November. Katrina McFarland, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition) was the first keynote speaker. We've summarized her comments.



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This month's Tidbit is a bit long. What is the ideal duration of a Work Package? The tidbit attempts to answer this question. It's not two weeks, two months, or 80 staff hours.


How is a flight from Silicon Valley different than any other? We have some observations after having flown from there.


Who collects a lot of performance data? The US Government! Who uses all this data? Apparently not the US Government. A GAO report reports on the use of performance data within the US Government.


Happy Holidays and a great 2015 is wished for all.


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 




IPM 2014 Report #2, Better Buying Power

The IPM workshop's first keynote was Katrina McFarland, Assistant Secretary of Defense (acquisition (ASD (A)). Her address to the attendees highlighted three main areas; Better Buying Power (BBP), EVM, and industry interaction.


She reviewed BBP 1.0 which was about lessons learned. What are the best practices in acquisition reform

 - what has worked? "We are always unprepared for war, every war is different." she said. "Napoleonic warfare is out of date, there are no front lines anymore."


BBP 2.0 was two years later and moved to "critical thinking" and changes the way we think about acquisition.


BBP 3.0 is focused on technical superiority. Technology will be used as a discriminator in the selection of fixed price contractors (not just price). Products need to address trends, not predictions.


On EVM she said that DOD has limited tools available to know what they are getting for their money. EVM is one tool to address that. But EVM is tailorable and should be tailored. EVM is a tool for a basis of conversations.


"Industry interaction" is another initiative. Overly conservative concerns about conflict of interest have stifled conversations that would engage industry on concepts and military "wishes". Industry should be engaged by DOD more often and earlier, DOD should be watching industry just like industry watches DOD. 


Summaries of other presentations from IPM 2014 will be in future issues of The EVM Newsletter.


If you missed IPM look for it in early November 2015. Can't wait that long? Plan to attend CPM's EVM World 2015 in New Orleans 27-29 May.


Block2Lack of Performance in using Performance Data

The (US) Government Accountability Office has determined that US government wide compliance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act (GPRA) has declined. The exceptions were the Office of Personnel Management and the Labor Department. NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Veterans Affairs, and Energy departments lowered their use of performance data.


GAO looked for five leading practices that can use performance information in decision making.

  • aligning agency wide goals, objectives, and measures
  • improving the usefulness of performance information
  • developing the capacity to use performance information
  • demonstrating management commitment
  • communicating performance information frequently and effectively
 BLOCK5Tech Flight

Normally I fly from Southern California's Orange County (SNA) /John Wayne / Santa Ana Airport (pick one, it has an identity crisis). This month, due to attending a family event in the San Francisco Bay area, I used San Jose Airport (SJC), which boasts itself as "Silicon Valley's Airport".


Observations from my flight. More younger adult travelers. Lots of hand held technologies. Very few books and magazines opened. What is on all those screens?, software code, presentations, block diagrams. Not seen, games, movies, photos. Interesting, to me.


By the way, there has been a move to change the SNA airport identifier to JWA, but so far no success. It's been underway for 20 years.


Oh, more by the way, some of the passengers were younger than my American Airlines MD-80. Douglas Aircraft, who built the DC-9 (relabeled MD-80) put their metal data plates on the door frame. Mine said "Mfg. Date" XX-XX-83). Next time you're in an AA MD-80 take a look.


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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.


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



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BLOCK4Tidbit #63, More detail, less accuracy

In the last few years there has been a push to drive scheduled activities and work packages to some arbitrary duration of (a) 80 hours or less, (b) two months or less, (c) two weeks or less, or other rules. Well intended but with potential costs and consequences.


By limiting work packages to any of these or similar rules does allow the use of simplified EVM work in process measures (WIP) or EVM earned value techniques (EVTs). Typically these short work packages allow the use of 0%/100%, 50%/50%, or the generic X%/100-X%.


Did you start the work? Yes. Claim the first percentage of planned budget, No. You get zero.


Did you finish the work? Yes. Get the second percentage of planned budget, No? You get to just keep the starting value of BCWP (EV).


Here are some things to think about when trying to fit work into these short term span work packages.


Can you define and document what "start" means for each short term task? Is there tangible proof? Just thinking about the task on Friday's commute to work should not get you BCWP for starting the task that week.


For each short term task can you define what "done" means? Is there tangible proof?


If you had to "create" a tangible product to prove that the task has started or has completed you have created an artifact that is not required for the project. You may have just made work (increased scope).


Also, have you added more items to the schedule that will just require more time in planning and scheduling?  The CAM must budget each task and schedule it? Can you keep this detail up-to-date when contract modifications and baseline changes occur?


Finally, will your BCWS and BCWP be any more accurate as a result? If you apply a 50$%/50% rule you will get 50% credit for just starting, regardless of the real work done (somewhere above zero percent and less than one hundred percent). Perhaps with many short term tasks the averages workout to some reasonable approximation of the appropriate project-wide BCWP, but down at the CA level probably not. Now you likely have current period cost variances.


One potential problem with short timespan work packages is that the CAM and their team are then performing the work to EVM process needs, not the process used for the products to be produced. The CAM and team will likely push back and want to do the work as they have before. This is not the way to "sell" EVM to the work force.


A result of using forced short term work packages is that we've made the effort to determine BCWP near automatic. Did you start? Did you finish? But at what cost? It's better to find something in the CA to count and make the creation of those a measure of progress. Count how many are done, compute the percent of items complete, and use that percent in determining BCWS (during planning) and BCWP (in execution). Nothing to count? Here's a hint, look at the basis of estimate (BOE) in the proposal! In there you will find the basic element used to estimate the effort. Now use it to measure progress.


According to CPM IPM workshop keynoter Leanne Caret (Boeing Defense, Space & Security CFO and VP- Finance), "Only 20%-30 % of the workforce really knows how to set up a WP of the right size with the right measures and right milestones." As EVM Subject Matter Experts or CAMs you should help make sure the EVT/WIP measures are accurate, manageable, and cost effective.



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Conferences and Events

WHAT: Construction CPM Conference

WHEN: 12-17 January 2015

EVENTS: 12-13 AACE SoCal Education; 13-14 PMA Netpoint & GPM User Meeting; 14 Synchro User Meeting; 12-14 Vendor Training sessions; 15-17 Planning Planet User Meeting; 15-17 Construction CPM Conference sessions

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WHAT:  Project Governance and Controls Symposium 2015

WHEN:  6-7 May 2015

WHERE: UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra



WHAT:  EVM World 2015

WHEN:  27-29 May 2015

WHERE: New Orleans, LA






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Block10Google "base ops" and get "Google"
Google has agreed to a deal in which it will lease NASA's Moffett airfield for the next 60 years. As part of the lease, Google will take over operations of the airfield while the U.S. government retains ownership of the land.

According to a NASA press release, Planetary Ventures LLC, a shell organization operated by Google, will contribute $1.16 billion over the course of the lease, while reducing the government agency's maintenance and operation costs by $6.3 million annually.


According to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: "As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth," he says.


Once renovations are complete, Moffett's Hangar One will again be home to high-tech innovation as Planetary Ventures begins using the historic facility for research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies. Hangars Two and Three will be used for similar purposes. 


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