Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ingredients for Successful Deployment of Earned-Value Management in projects

Culture Shift:

Culture shift is essential – every Project Team must understand the working of EVM model. Also, culture shift needs to be managed and supported well

Accurate Planning, scheduling and costing of work packages:

Besides accurate WBS, accurate planning, scheduling and proper costing of work packages(PV) at frequency points of measurement is the first step towards successful EVM Implementation. Costing to include all the costs that will be incurred (Direct, Indirect, Fixed and Variable costs covering all resources including human resources)

Accurate measurement of work completed:

It is absolutely essential to measure the work completed(earned back ie EV) at each task level and at the project level either in terms of % of work scheduled, or absolute $ value

All costs incurred must be recorded:

To get a true picture of all Costs incurred (AC) between two frequency of measurement points, all costs – Direct, Indirect, Fixed and Variable incurred at every task level must be recorded.

Replanning the work and redrawing the baseline at every change:

Replanning the work at every change is critical. Use of automated tools will ease out this process.

Frequency of Measurement of EVM values:

Frequency of measurement of PV, EV and AC is critical. It must be optimum suiting the duration of the project, neither low nor high.

Recording of all Costs Daily/appropriate frequency:

It is absolutely essential to record all project costs on a daily basis or at an appropriate frequency in line with the Frequency of measurement of EVM values

Earned Value Management will gain prominence

I have always been a strong believer in Earned Value Management as the “savior tool” for managing projects. As a tool, I consider EVM will gain prominence as it offers early warning signals by providing an integrated status of Scope, Time and Cost parameters. The imperative for harnessing the power of EVM would involve: Proper planning and estimation of work products, measuring accurately the amount of work completed and the total cost expended to achieve the work. Moreover, the benefits will be manifold when the understanding and implementation of EVM tools is not limited to upper management.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Project management can help during times of recession

A simple chat with my friend last evening made me prod, when he raised the question as to how Project Management can help during the current economic scenario. With so many thoughts going around, to me Project management lends the discipline of logical approach and the tools to balance the competing constraints of scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and manage risk to enhance the chances of success in meeting objectives… And this is more vital in times of recession. Thus, it is prudent to apply Project Management principles even to achieve routine objectives to ensure consistency in positive results, more so in turbulent times!

The need for Project Managers to look beyond Projects

I have often been asked, as a Project Manager what is the extra that one can do to ensure that they deliver the expected outcomes.

Well… it is difficult to answer this, especially when the times are tough and situations are unpredictable. But I personally believe that the one thing they need to do is look beyond their project. In fact, Project Managers need to wear the hat of program managers and not get restricted by their title. I feel they should start viewing themselves as program managers, and think, act, walk and talk like program managers even if they are managing a project. This way they will be able to ascend beyond the project and see what extra value can be provided to the stakeholders. Also, in the environment of a program, it helps to understand the “big picture” of the value creation while managing their part of the engagement, ie the project, effectively and efficiently.

When it comes to organizations they need to look beyond project management. Today when most organizations have started implementing an integrated project management effort to achieve business strategy but to remain competitive, organizations will need to generate more value for their customers and stakeholders. It is Program Management that can help them derive several benefits unavailable by managing projects individually…

Lastly, Project Managers need to understand the environment in which they operate, deal with the dependencies, the politics and power struggles and proactively generate more value for their stakeholders.