So you’ve decided to implement Earned Value Management at your company? Congratulations! It’s a great way to manage cost and get accurate project reports. You’ll benefit from improved project delivery, greater management oversight and reduced project risk – and who doesn’t want all that? For some companies, there is no choice if they want to bid for government contracts as cost management and EVM principles have become mandated in the bid process.
However, launching an EVM system can seem daunting. There are so many things to think about, not least the changes to working practices for the project managers and what seems like a complete new language! Before you get that far, consider what needs to be in place to make your EVM deployment a success. Without these 3 pre-requisites you won’t be able to achieve the benefits you had hoped for, so it is worth making sure that these are in place before your EVM project progresses.
1. Skills And Training
Before you go too far with your EVM deployment you should make sure that your team members have the right skills to make it a success. Too many implementations (of all kinds) fail because the staff expected to do the work don’t have the training or support required to adopt the new ways of working. Don’t forget that it’s also beneficial to train the executives who will be reading earned value reports or hearing new terminology that they may not be familiar with. An overview course is perfect to highlight the essential role that senior management plays in EVM and to ensure buy-in for the deployment overall.
Earned value management training is essential, and it’s an ongoing commitment. You’ll need to make sure that you have the support in place to train up new members of the team as they join the department and that existing staff have the opportunity to refresh their skills as time goes on.
2. Policies And Procedures
Ideally, your company should put in place the policies and procedures to support EVM at the same time as deploying an EVM software tool. That could mean rewriting your project management processes or methods, or coming up with new policies to ensure that EVM is adopted and integrated effectively into the way you run projects. The portfolio management office can take the lead here and build any changes into existing policies, or, of course, develop new ones as required.
Another area to consider is in the job descriptions of project team members and portfolio office employees. How will their roles change? You could also build EVM targets into their annual objectives and make using EVM and reporting in that way part of the appraisal process.
3. Appropriate Tools
You can’t expect your EVM deployment to work unless you have the appropriate technology in place to support the roll out. Choosing a suitable tool is likely to be one of the first things that you work on but it goes beyond simply selecting a product. You then have to install and configure it so that it works in your environment without being over-engineered or unwieldy.
Select a product that is suitable for your business and that gives you the features you want in a configurable manner. If you are unsure about what would work best in your environment or industry, get some independent advice – don’t rely on polished sales presentations to make your decision. Once it is installed you can start creating user accounts and supporting the project team members to get orientated with the system. You’ll need system-specific training as well and it is worth having a few employees with advanced skills so that the others can ask them for help if it’s needed.
Remember, a one-size fits all approach is unlikely to work, so whatever you do you will have to tailor it accordingly for your organization. Contrary to popular belief, EVM is scalable and you will be able to make it work for you regardless of the size of your business or the projects you are working on. You simply have to take a pragmatic approach and ensure that all the groundwork is in place before embarking on a full-scale launch. When everything is properly aligned and you have management buy-in, skilled staff, policies and suitable tools, you’ll be able to go ahead with your EVM launch with the confidence that it will be successful.