Many project managers look to Earned Value Management (EVM) values to predict whether or not their project will complete on time. Recently, the Baseline Execution Index (BEI) has been popularized as a schedule completion early warning metric. Let’s discuss.
The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) developed a 14-point assessment for gauging the quality or soundness of schedules. The theory goes that the integrity of a schedule is a critical factor in proving a project’s possibility of success. The 14-point assessment ensures a well-built schedule.
The last metric in the 14-point assessment is the Baseline Execution Index. The BEI is simply the ratio of the number of tasks completed to the number of tasks that should have been completed by the status date. A BEI > 1 is favorable and a BEI < 1 is unfavorable.
This article introduces the BEI as a ‘Canary in the mine’ or schedule completion early warning metric.
One of the project manager’s major duties is to monitor schedule progress and make appropriate schedule adjustments to keep the project on schedule. The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is an earned value management metric that helps project managers extrapolate their project’s schedule completion situation. The SPI metric divides earned value by planned value (EV/PV) to determine how close the earned value is to that what was planned at this particular point in the project lifecycle: the ideal being of course 1, but less than that is unfavorable.
However, recent studies have indicated that the BEI provides an earlier schedule completion warning metric. The BEI is like the ‘canary in the mine’. Again, the BEI is the ratio of the number of tasks completed to the number of tasks that should have been completed by the status date.
A BEI > 1 is good and a BEI < 1 is not so good. If tasks are not completing as scheduled than something is wrong with the schedule. The BEI is a means of measuring task completion issues. If tasks are not completing as scheduled a BEI < 1 warns the project manager that the schedule is heading off course and needs attention.
It is unfortunate that neither Primavera P6 Professional nor Microsoft Project have BEI variables. What one can do in Primavera P6 Professional is filter and count all activities that have a baseline-to-finish_date variance equal to or greater than zero. This number would then be divided by the total number of all activities with a planned finish date less than or equal to the status date or data date. It is surmised that the only way to achieve a BEI > 1 is to perform activities out of sequence and early.
A project manager’s major duty is to monitor schedule progress, and make adjustments to keep the project on time. The earlier a project manager can spot and diagnose a schedule diverting from the plan the better.
Recent studies indicate that the BEI provides an early warning detection for schedules in danger of missing their deadline. A variable for BEI does not exist in Primavera P6 nor Microsoft Project. Schedulers will have to rely on variance variables and filters to sum both numerator and denominator in the BEI ratio. Still the early warning the BEI ratio provides when a schedule is becoming ‘unhinged’ may be well worth the effort required to compute its value.