The world of Earned Value Management (EVM) seems to be awash with different EVMS reviews. Your organization has to successfully prepare for, show up to and actively participate in all of them in order to demonstrate compliance and understanding. Your Earned Value Management System (EVMS) will be tested, as well as your team’s ability to operate, maintain it, and interpret the results.
If you are new to EVM, the culture of EVMS reviews might seem challenging and alien, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all part of the governance model of using earned value management for project performance measurement and tracking.
In this article, we’ll review (see what we did there?) three common types of EVMS reviews you can expect to take part in during a client engagement: the EVM certification review, the Integrated Baseline Review and a compliance review.
EVM Certification Review
The first step in your journey to winning business from agencies that mandate EVM is to get your system certified so you can demonstrate you can meet their compliance requirements. In fact, you can include the steps you will take to implement a compliant system in your proposal response, so you may have already won the contract and are now facing down the certification review to prove that you have implemented a compliant EVMS.
The first thing to consider is whether the whole team has a full understanding of the process and what’s going to happen during the review. Understanding the steps can significantly reduce anxiety and help you prepare more effectively for the kinds of things the auditors will want to see and hear about.
Reviews assess your processes and procedures against government-approved guidelines. You should also expect the auditors to talk to a number of staff to ensure they can explain how the EVMS works and evidence that they are using earned value metrics and reports to actively manage the project. You can expect a review to include:
- A look at documentation, like process flowcharts, process documents and procedure manuals
- Software set up
- Integration of cost and schedule tools
- Interviews with key staff.
The process of earning EVM certification may involve several reviews. You might hear these called Progress Assessment Reviews which are designed to assess your progress as you continue your journey towards meeting the requirements of certification.
Ultimate, the end goal is to provide the evidence to show you have an EVMS that meets the guidelines and is compliant with the standards required.
Integrated Baseline Review
Once you’ve been engaged on a project, the Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) is the first major review you’ll face. It’s a major milestone on your implementation calendar and shows that you are able to deliver on the requirements for the contract.
Typically, the IBR happens between 90 and 180 days after the contract has been awarded, and that doesn’t leave you much time at all to prepare your baseline for assessment.
The IBR is a process that reviews a number of different documents, all of which must be consistent: you need to tell the same story with each part of your system. You’ll need to work with the review team to agree on the agenda and then prepare a package of information for presentation that includes the program schedule and risk reports amongst other things.
The purpose of the IBR is to show that you understand the contract requirements and can meet them in a way that integrates the cost, schedule and technical requirements. The review also looks at your configuration management system and the approach to managing the work overall.
It’s not just a document review: the assessment team will also talk to Control Account Managers (CAMs) to ensure they have a good understanding of the process and what they are expected to do. They need to be prepped and ready to answer questions in a way that promotes confidence in your systems, people and processes.
CAMs are not the only group who will get involved in the review: it’s not a high-level business conversation, so expect to get into the details with technical experts from all the relevant disciplines.
The IBR is designed to be a collaborative experience that aims to bring confidence to all the stakeholders. It should affirm the program’s performance management baseline and confirm that the scope can be delivered on time and on budget, and will be done so in a way that is controlled at all times.
A compliance review is simply an assessment that confirms you are meeting the obligations laid out in the guidelines and in the contract. The audit team will go over your current processes, procedures and systems with a view to establishing that they still meet the requirements. Anything that is flagged as a discrepancy will be reported to you so that your team can take action to address the problem and return the system to full compliance.
The agenda for the review will probably be agreed with you in advance so you will know the kinds of things that you will have to provide. Expect to prepare documentation and system access, as well as making key staff members available to explain what they do. Reviews often require input from various levels of management because they look at whether the concepts of EVM are used throughout the organization for performance management and decision making.
Whatever EVMS reviews you are preparing for, it’s a good idea to include mock interviews as part of your plans. These ‘rehearsals’ can make sure the team know what to expect during their real interviews and that they can articulately present what they are doing to give the auditors the full picture. This avoids the situation where you are compliant and do have a fully functioning system, but can’t adequately explain it or what you do, so the organization fails to impress during the audit.
That’s why we recommend and support clients with mock interviews as part of our Earned Value Management services. Find out more about how we can help you get confidently ready for a review. Call us now (703) 910-2600.