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The Use and Benefits of Earned Value

The Use and Benefits of Earned Value

by Ruthanne Schulte, PMP

We all know about the three monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil. As project managers, our goals are to control our projects, be sure they come in on budget, and avoid any cost overruns. In order to do this, we must ignore the advice of the three monkeys. We need to see the potential for cost overruns, hear about the risks, and speak about the likelihood of failure before it actually occurs or we run out of budget.

Budget versus actual costs. Project ahead of schedule versus project behind schedule. Being told not to worry versus spending sleepless nights worrying. These factors have been used to manage projects in the past, yet can they alone describe the real health of a project? In a word, no. An earned value management tool is a valuable partner when determining the answers to these and many other questions about the ongoing state of a project. Earned value fills the need when project success and the success of the company hang in the balance in this fast-paced, budget-conscious 21st century.

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