Adding Value to Earned Value Analysis

Vanhoucke, M. and A. Shtub, PM World Today , Vol. XIII, Issue I, January 2011


The non-repetitive nature of projects leads to uncertainty that is present to some degree in every project. Our limited ability to accurately forecast future values of parameters that are used as input to plan projects affect every project. Due to uncertainty and the resulting risk, project planning is in fact a starting point in the project management process that consists of planning, monitoring and control. Risk management techniques are also used in project management for the very same reason. Understanding the dynamic, stochastic nature of projects and the tools and techniques that can help us cope with this environment is the focus of this paper.
In this paper we discuss some ideas, tools and techniques that may help project managers cope with uncertainty. We focus our discussion on two new ways to teach students and practitioners the Earned Value concept, which is discussed in the PMBOK and is supported by many of the commercial project management software packages: the Project Team Builder (PTB) and ProTrack’s Assistant. PTB is a training tool that won the PMI product of the year award for 2008. ProTrack’s Assistant is an automatic tool added on the ProTrack software tool that integrates lessons learned from an Earned Value research study awarded by the IPMA research 2008 award.
Keywords: Earned value, project uncertainty, project risk, training, project monitoring, project control.