Here’s What You Can Expect From The EVMS Certification Process
So, you’re ready to get your Earned Value Management System certified? Fantastic! Whether you’ve already secured a contract that requires EVMS compliance, or you are just starting your journey of working on those kinds of programs, certification is the benchmark you need to achieve.
An EVMS is the foundation for efficient, effective, project performance management, and the certification process gives you the chance to prove that your system meets the standards required.
But what does that process look like? Well, different government agencies and organizations may take different approaches but there is a broad ‘path’ that most processes follow. In this article, we’ll explain the typical certification process to give you an idea of what to expect when it’s your turn.
There are six steps:
- The initial visit
- A pre-review assessment
- An on-site assessment
- A follow up review
- Surveillance – this part happens after certification but is still important!
1. The initial visit
Once you have your EVMS in place, the process begins. It starts with an initial meeting between the relevant parties: the person or people from the agency who will do the certifying, and your own team.
The objective for this meeting is to set expectations for what is to come. You’ll discuss and agree the scope of the review and the next steps. The review team will lay out what data is required and what documents they will expect to see. You’ll also need to work together on an interview timetable because many of the key employees will be interviewed during the assessment.
There might be a couple more meetings or conversations before you move to the next step, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that your organization is ready to proceed.
2. The pre-review assessment
Next up, you’ll be asked to submit information to the review team so they can look it over before the assessment.
This is likely to be a selection of documents including the EVMS description, supporting procedures and processes, the work breakdown structure for the program and a whole lot more. Hopefully, you’ll have all this to hand, but it pays to get expert support to prepare and submit the pack. Incorrect or missing data will add time to your review process and put more strain on your staff.
Once the review team have the information they asked for, they will review it all against the ANSI/EIA-748 guidelines and any other relevant guidance and policies. They are looking to make sure that as well as being compliant ‘on paper’, the system produces integrated data feeds that are internally consistent – another reason why many firms secure external consultancy support for their reviews. Running consistency checks and looking for common errors before submission saves a lot of time post-review and minimizes the amount of corrective action your team will have to take.
3. The on-site assessment
Having reviewed the system output, next comes the human aspects of the assessment. This is where the review team will meet and interview key stakeholders. You’ll need to make sure your team is well-briefed, able to answer the questions, has access to any supporting information and can truly showcase the good work you are doing at implementing and using earned value within the program.
Control account managers, project controls staff, people involved in contractor management and project management professionals could all be interviewed: the exact schedule for your team will have been agreed in advance.
The on-site assessment isn’t just talk. Your team will be expected to demo the system and show the reviewers how it is used, so they need to be confident in the driving seat!
This step forms the bulk of the review and it can be an intensive experience. You’ll receive information and reports from the review team and you will have to interpret and act on those.
4. The follow up review
The follow up review happens after you have had time to act on the report findings. If you received any Corrective Action Requests, you will be expected to submit evidence to show that you have taken the remedial actions required to sort out whatever problem the review team identified.
There might be more interviews at this point too, so again, staff should be briefed on what to expect so the review goes smoothly.
Congratulations! You achieved certification. You’ll get a final report and a certification letter that becomes your ‘evidence’. This letter will include what follow up and surveillance requirements you have to follow, because receiving certification is just the first part of your ongoing compliance effort.
Finally, you will have to evidence that you are maintaining compliance and are following the surveillance requirements. That could include things like submitting copies of updated documents to the review team where these are material to the operation of the EVMS.
Surveillance reviews are typically once a year and serve to prove that you haven’t let standards slip. They provide the agency or certifying authority with confidence that the system is still fit for purpose and producing integrated data to support project performance.
Overall, the EVMS certification process can be time-consuming and a bit stressful for some organizations. That’s why many firms decide to bring in expert help. Companies like Ten Six can guide you through the process and leave you to focus on the work of delivering your client projects. Don’t get us wrong: you’ll still need to be involved, but at least we can ease the burden of the thinking process and project management of the whole certification experience for you.
Whether you are going it alone or being supported by people who have done it a hundred times before, ultimately the goal is to achieve certification and prove to your clients you can manage project performance in a robust and measurable way.