Earned Value Management for EVERY Project

Earned Value Management (EVM) is the most powerful project management tool ever. It is called project management with the lights on. Unfortunately it is often not used, because it is not well understood, and takes some time to set up.
This tip explains without getting into too many details what EVM is, how to set it up, what the advantages and disadvantages are and that EVM can be used on EVERY project.
EVM is a project management tool to keep track of the progress of your project. Conventional methods use the schedule to report progress. EVM looks at the monetary value of what was realized at a given time during the project. The monetary value of what was realized is called the earned value (EV). This EV is then compared to the monetary value of what was planned to be realized at that time. The monetary value of what was planned to be realized at that time is called the planned value (PV). The EV is also compared to the actual cost (AC) made on the project at that time.
The easiest way to set up your EVM is to use scheduling software with EVM capability. You can set it up yourself or you can ask the scheduler on your team to do it for you. All you need is the schedule of the project and cost of the activities in the schedule. The scheduling software will then generate the planned value for your project.
The advantage of using EVM is that it shows you the monetary value what you have realized on the project, compared to what you had planned and what you have spent on the project. Conventional methods will show you schedule wise how you stand, but not money wise.
The disadvantage of EVM is that many people find it difficult to set up. My experience is that setting up EVM for the first time does take some time. But once you have it set up, you have a powerful tool that will generate one page overviews of your entire project and much more.
I once heard someone say that EVM is only for certain types of projects. Let’s see if that’s so:

1. Does EVERY project have a schedule?
2. Does EVERY project have a cost?

The answer to both questions is yes. So EVM can be used on EVERY project, since all you need to set up your EVM is a schedule and the cost of the activities.

Earned Value Management can be used on EVERY project.

Managing Multiple Projects

This blog is about managing multiple projects. There is lot of information available on how to manage multiple projects. But, most of the information available is about the methods and techniques to use when managing multiple projects. This blog is not about the procedures, but more about the strategy to use when managing multiple projects.

Project managers do not come cheap, so most of us have been assigned to manage several projects at the same time. But have we been properly trained to manage multiple projects? The answer is often no.

Some people compare managing multiple projects to a juggler. Is this a good comparison? How many balls can you juggle at one time? What if one ball stagnates? When juggling balls, they all move with the same speed. Not so with multiple projects.

When managing multiple projects, you can better see yourself as a HELICOPTER PILOT. You need to manage your helicopter-view in order to keep control of all your projects. The more projects you have, the higher you have to fly. If one project stagnates, you have to fly lower over that project until it starts to move forward again. When managing your helicopter view, make sure you do not “land” at one of the projects. By doing that you will lose control over the other projects.

Some may ask, what is the maximum amount of projects you can handle at one time? The answer depends on the amount of assistance you have. I have managed a total of 15 projects over a 4 year period with the assistance of several project leaders. With proper assistance, you can delegate and fly higher.

The key to successful management of multiple projects, is managing your HELICOPTER-VIEW!!

Finding a Job as a Project Manager

During these times of economic recession finding a job is easier said than done. The job market is tight, even for project managers.Here are some pointers that might help.

 

Sell Yourself

To sell yourself as a project manager on the job market, you have to find ways to separate yourself from the pack. Businesses are looking for project managers who can identify and develop economically sound business cases. To convince a company that you can help them meet their business goals, you have to bring knowledge and experience to the table.

 

Prepare Yourself

You have to convince them that you have experience with a project management methodology to handle the complete life cycle, from project initiation to closing. During project initiation you must be able to identify profitable business cases.You should be knowledgable in Return on Investment (ROI) and Net Present Value (NPV) methods.

Prepare yourself to explain your knowledge of scheduling and budget development for the planning phase of a project. Knowing something about Earned Value Management (EVM) is a great asset when in the execution phase of a project. You do not have to be an expert is all of these areas, but you have to be able to convince the company that you can handle all of them. If you are not familiar with these techniques, you can contact me.

I always tell people it is good to have a "Short Story". The short story is about the key points of a project you recently did. You prepare this short story in advance, and you tell it during your interview with the company. Having a "short story" shows that you have relevant experience.

Make sure that your cover letter shows how you can improve the profitability of the company. Use sentences with action words. Here are some examples: experienced project manager, with demonstrated skills in handling the complete project life cycle. Consistent application of a proven project management methodology, resulting in completing projects within schedule and budget, translating into significant company savings. Findinng a job as a project manager is like a project. It has to be properly planned.

 

Help Offered

The above might sound overwhelming, especially for someone with little or no experience. If you need any help, contact me, and I will help you with your specific case.

 

The Value of PMP Certification

I think that having and maintaining your PMP certificate is very valuable to your career as a project manager. The main reason I say this is because to maintain your PMP certificate, you have to earn your PDU’s. Earnig your PDU’s keeps you up to date in all areas of project management. Being up to date in all areas of project management is what distinguises you as a professional from just a practitioner.
Many people question the value of the PMP certificate, because getting your PMP in itself, does not make you a professional project manager. Which certificate makes you a professional? None! Only when you continue to develop yourself and get experience in your field, you become a professional. The PMP certificate combined with the PDU system does provide a framework for becoming a Project Management Professional.

Also keep in mind that certification is valued different in different countries. I have worked in a Dutch country where post-graduate certification in general was not recognized, so there was no return on investment for me to get and maintain my PMP. However, I have been a member of PMI since 1996, and use the PMBok guide on a regular basis. All the project management courses I teach are aligned with the PMBok. I also help project managers prepare themselves for the PMP exam. That is the way I am kept up to date on what is going on with the PMP certification.

Update on Selling Project Management Presentation

A few months ago I made a sample presention at your request to help you sell your project management services. I also made some notes to go along with that presentation. This presentation was a more general presentation for selling project management services.
Seeing that many of you do IT-projects, I decided to make a new presentation that is more easily adapted for selling IT-services. I have also updated the notes that go with the presentation.
The intention of these presentations is to help you sell your services. The notes explain you how to quantify the econmoic value of your services. How to show a company the ROI of investing in your services.
You can have your free copy of the presentation and the notes to go with it by contacting me via this website or directly at victor@victorhuntconsulting.com.

Project Management Consulting

The purpose of this website is to provide information on selling and delivering project management services. The idea is to do this by means of blogs, white papers, eBooks, and regular email and other media.

The following overview will give you an idea of the area we will be covering. The field of project management consulting can be divided into 2 phases.

The first phase is selling project management. In this phase you are trying to get a contract with a potential client.
The second phase is delivering the project management services, once you have a contract.
The first phase, selling project management, can be further divided into two smaller phases.
To get the contract you have to present yourself to the client and show how you can deliver added value for that client. In order to do that, you must know some details of the client’s business. This phase can be called the planning phase. Once the planning phase is completed, you are ready to make your presentation to the client and get your contract.

Once you have a contract, you have to move to the second phase: using project management knowledge and skills to deliver the services you promised.

So in summary you can see project management consulting as divided into the following phases:

Project Management Consulting Overview

I know that many of you are starting project management consultants. One of the first things you need to do as a starting consultant is to set your hourly rate. I have written a short step by step white paper on “How to Set Hourly Rates for Your Consultancy”.
Just fill in your name and email address in the box on the side of this page to receive this white paper and to get access to my 30+ years of experience in project management. The best way to benefit from my experience is to interact with me on a regular basis. I can only help you if I know what questions you have. We can
interact through this blog or by clicking on “Contact Victor” on this website or by email.