Following on from my last post EVM – Six things’ people don’t get! I’m seeing far too many examples of EVM systems that are set up to fail, either because the people doing the work think the WBS should reflect the project chart of accounts or the WBS should be part of the schedule. Both are a recipe for failure! However, like most people with a good understanding of EVM, and almost all of the books, in the first article I did not explain why this is the case.
Correcting this omission is the focus of my latest article EVM – Sizing Work Packages. This article shows why the basic requirement for a work package are that is it big enough to have a manager appointed with the authority to manage the full scope of the work (cost, time, quality, etc), and that it will be open long enough to allow management control to be exercised.
The example I used in Sizing Work Packages was a theoretical $15 million, 10-month project to design and construct a rail bridge. The schedule for this size of project would likely be in the region of 100 to 200+ activities (maybe more). While the project cost controls would likely contain around 50 to 150+ line items. In both of these controls tools this level of detail is needed for effective control. However, for the same project, an effective EVM system needs around 10 work packages laid out in a block diagram they would cover:
These ten work packages are of a sensible size, they are likely to align with a typical management structure, summary activities in the project schedule and the project cost system. Assuming the data transfer from these other systems is robust, the work packages are capable of being rigorously assessed and controlled using standard EVM metrics in a straightforward spreadsheet.
For more on Sizing Work Packages and pragmatic EVM, see Mosaic’s EVM and ES webpage: https://mosaicprojects.com.au/PMKI-SCH-040.php