Whether a program is being performed in accordance with a contractual Earned Value Management (EVM) ANSI-748 requirement or just good program management practice, a number of basics should exist. The list below is certainly not meant to be definitive nor does it take you into the all the detail required for a full ANSI-748 compliant program plan.
1. Develop a Statement Of Work
A definitive Statement of Work is required (SOW) which comes from the client.
2. Create Work Breakdown Structure
The Work Breakdown Structure is a logical breakdown of the statement of work allowing you to assign responsibilities to your team.
This is normally accomplished via the use of a visual aide such as a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) diagram following the principles of MIL-STD-881.
When the WBS is extended to the lowest level that intersects with your project execution team or Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS), it then becomes the Contract Work Breakdown Structure (CWBS) that’s tailored specifically for the contract. This intersection establishes the control accounts which will subsequently divided into detailed Work Packages (WP’s) and documented in the Work Authorization documents and the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS).
A detailed explanation can then be developed for each of the CWBS elements intersecting with your OBS. This results in the CWBS Dictionary that integrates with the Contract Statement of Work (SOW).
3. Develop the Summary Master Schedule
A logical sequence of key deliverables required to satisfy the SOW and key Contract objectives or deliverables needs to be developed and organized in a chronological manner. This results in an end product called a Summary Master Schedule or is commonly referred to as a Program Master Schedule.
4. Create Detailed Schedules
Companies then develop lower levels of detailed tasks and effort. This Master Schedule has tasks identified in a sequential manner that are logically connected and that result in a comprehensive critical path network.
The CWBS may be expanded to accommodate any additional tasks identified as required. This supports the Master Schedule objectives and the intermediate level schedules. The SOW is updated to reflect the internal tasks required.
While the development of Master/Intermediate/Detail schedules and the resulting logical network may be developed using tools independent of the scheduling tool, this is not recommended.
5. Assign Resources
Enough information should now be available to determine the resources required to accomplish the tasks. These resources include Labor, Material and Other Direct Costs (ODC).
Many programs assign resources at the Control Account level. Some do assign resources down to the detail levels identified on the Intermediate/Detailed schedules although this requires much more effort to maintain. They should also be traceable to the detailed Statement of Work/CWBS Dictionary. These elements should also be traceable back to the original or updated estimate in order to validate the planned application on the Contract.
Additionally, all subcontracts need to be identified, along with a method to measure their performance.
At this point, the result is termed as a Performance Measurement Baseline that is used to support an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) or good program management practice.
6. Associate Actual Costs
It is important to be able to associate actual costs incurred with both the program plan and with the original/updated estimate. This is valuable to measure costs incurred for the program being performed in order to compare it to planned costs. It is also useful for follow-on program plans in terms of parametric estimate comparisons to see if the plan passes a basic reasonableness test.
Each Control Account must have a cost collection code uniquely associated with it. A cost collection code cannot be shared between two Control Accounts. It is important that there are no instances of a single cost charge number being used to summarize more than one Control Account. Ordinarily Labor, Material and ODC will have a separate element code assigned in order to differentiate them within a single cost charge number.
7. Create a Baseline and Change Management Process
As with all plans, it’s reasonable to assume that there will be changes that need to be incorporated throughout the performance of the Contract.
Establish a Baseline Change Management process to monitor and cost the impact of each change. Baseline changes are authorized through Baseline (or Budget) Change Request (BCR) process.
Programs use their change management and configuration management boards to control changes to the PMB.
While this all sounds pretty fundamental, to yield a viable program plan represents the culmination of a lot of work. Once in place, a credible program plan can be used to manage and report project execution to both internal management and the customer.