Monthly Archives: December 2021

EVM – Six things’ people don’t get!

Feedback from the publication of Easy EVM has highlighted how little most managers and project controls people understand about the methodology. In one respect, this is surprising given its some 55 years since Earned Value Management (EVM) was introduced in its current form. Although, given the almost impenetrable sequence of acronyms used by EVM expert’s to explain things, maybe this lack of general appreciation of the power of EVM is understandable.

Six of the biggest gaps in understanding are:

  • EVM is a performance management system based on measuring the value of work performed, its sole purpose is to facilitate better management decision making
  • EVM is NOT a financial accounting system, project cost control tool, or an incentive payment system, but does need information from the project’s accounts
  • EVM is NOT a scheduling system, but does need information from the scheduling tool
  • The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and WBS Dictionary is the heart of the EVMS
  • EVM is a lot more than simple ‘S-Curves’
  • EVM requires traceability and auditability

Implementing an EVM system requires appropriate tools, one of the biggest mistakes being to try running an EVMS in a scheduling tool – this is a recipe for disaster! The schedule is focused on time, the EVMS on value, these are very different measures of performance and need different systems to operate effectively.

These six points are expanded in our latest published article: Earned Value Management – Six things’ people don’t get! (click to download)

One of my objectives in writing Easy EVM was to cut through much of the unnecessary complexity and provide a straightforward guide to the value of using EVM on larger projects, see:

The origins of the WBS

My latest project management history paper on ‘the origins of the WBS’ has been published in the December issue of PM World Journal:

There’s still a few gaps in the timeline but it seems the concept of the WBS (if not the term) has its origins in the development of scientific management in the early 1900s. Download the latest version of this paper including a few additions from:

This paper is part of a journey to work out where the ideas of Earned Value originated. The next step is to trace the origins of cost engineering. In the meantime, any information regarding the use of WBS pre WW2, particularly in the UK / Europe will be appreciated.

The full set of papers on the history of project controls can be downloaded from:

Who invented calculus?

One of the books I’ve read this year was ‘Great Feuds in Mathematics’ (see: and one of the top ten ‘feuds’ was between Newton (of ‘apple’ fame) and Leibniz over who invented calculus.

I’ve just been watching a YouTube video showing the original letters involved in the dispute from around 1670 – some 550 years ago. It seems no matter where you document something, there’s a high probability of it turning up at an inconvenient moment….. The answer to the dispute, Newton was first, but the notation developed by Leibniz is the one students of calculus still use:–erHStqA

Every Decision is a Risk!

When a decision maker has to choose between a number of viable alternatives with the selection of the best option being influenced by information (usually insufficient) and preferences founded on values and ethics, the decision involves uncertainty and therefor incorporates an element of risk. No process can guarantee a good outcome from every decision, but working through the pragmatic process outlined in this article can help increase the probability of an acceptable outcome.

Download the article from:

For more on decision making see: