Category Archives: EVM & ES

Earned Value Management and Earned Schedule

CPI Stability Myth

As part of an on-going project to publish a history of EVM (target August 2022) I’m reviewing a lot of resources accumulated over a number of years. One of the first outputs is an update to our paper The CPI Stability Myth – this review and update draws on a number of new resources to show where the research is applicable, where the 20% stability myth does not apply.

Download from:

It’s a wrap! Over $15,000 donated to UNICEF

Project Managers 4 The World, Charity Event on April 27 & 28, 2022: 24 hours talk around the clock in support of children and families from Ukraine is over.  The event was a great success thanks to Patric Eid, Oliver F. Lehmann, and a panel of 24 speakers from around the world:

I am proud to have been a part of this unique, 100% volunteer event.

My presentation was: Governing and Leading Projects using Earned Value Management (EVM). Good management and good governance require good information. When implemented effectively EVM is a robust, practical system focused on assessing and supporting the managers of a project. Based on the framework in ISO 21508, this presentation will provide an overview of the 11 steps needed to implement EVM effectively.

The presentation (PDF) can be downloaded from:

There’s no fee or registration to download the paper, but please take a minute and donate to UNICEF’s work with children in Ukraine:

Practical EVM

Introducing Earned Value Management (EVM) into an organization needs a staged approach. There is a need for new tools, new processes, and a management culture change to make use of the new information.  Implemented properly, EVM is far more than a simple ‘add-on’ to either the scheduling tool or the cost management tools. Both of these systems are still needed, to support the added value created by a practical Earned Value Management System (EVMS). An effective EVMS is a performance management system designed to assess and assist the performance of the project’s management team.

Our latest article Practical EVM, looks at using the Easy EVM Workbook as a low cost, practical stepping stone on the journey towards creating the management culture and systems needed to take advantage of a fully-featured EVM software tool.

Download the Practical EVM article:

See more on Earned Value Management:

The Origins of Cost Engineering

The latest paper in our series on the origins of project controls has been published in the March edition of Project Management World Journal.

This paper traces the origins of accounting, through cost accounting, to cost engineering. Download the full paper from:

This is the part of a series of papers looking at the origins of the structures underpinning Earned Value Management (EVM):

  1. The History of Scheduling (these papers are stand-alone, but the schedule is a key support to EVM)
  2. The Origins of WBS & Management Charts
  3. The Origins of Cost Engineering
  4. The Origins of EVM (full update planned for mid-year)

As always, we are happy to receive feedback and additional information to help improve this history resource which is freely available to everyone:  

Sizing EVM Work Packages

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:

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:

Scheduling Core Papers Updated

We’ve been working on a series of books:
Easy EVM is published: See more on the book
Easy CPM is a work in progress, publication later this year
Easy SHM will follow in 2022.

As part of the development of Easy CPM as course-in-a-book which is designed to act as a reference and practice guide for people implementing CPM scheduling after they have learned to use the CPM scheduling software of their choice. We have updated Mosaic’s ‘core scheduling papers‘; these are:
A Guide to Scheduling Good Practice
Attributes of a Scheduler
Dynamic Scheduling
Links, Lags & Ladders
Schedule Float
Schedule Levels
Schedule Calculations

These updated papers are available to download and use free of charge under a Creative Commons 3.0 license: Download the papers from

Easy EVM Published

Easy EVM – Implementing Earned Value Management using ISO 21508:2018 is the first of a short series of books we are working on.

Easy EVM is a self-paced course-in-a-book, supported by Mosaic Project Services Pty Ltd. As part of the course, all trainees working through the materials are welcome to email Mosaic with any questions or requests for additional information they may have at any time. We will attempt to answer all emails within 24 Hrs of receipt. The book also designed to act as a reference and practice guide for people implementing EVM, and contains numerous links to additional resources.

The purpose of this ‘course-in-a-book’ is to provide practical guidance to people, and organizations, involved in either implementing an earned value management system, or using information created by an earned value management system. It provides guidance on concepts, responsibilities, integration, and processes, for the implementation and use of earned value management based on ISO 21508: Earned Value Management in Project and Programme Management; obtaining a copy of the International Standard is recommended, but not essential, to make effective use of this course.

Easy EVM, and ISO21508, are compatible with PMI’s The Standard for Earned Value Management (ANSI/PMI 19-006-2019).

The book is divided into five sections, each section includes guidance on an aspect of EVM, references, and a set of 20 questions; with the answers in Section 6. Open the Book2Look preview to see the full table of contents, sample pages, and sample questions & answers.

Or click through to the Mosaic website to buy your copy.

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide Updated

The venerable Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide (Cost Guide) has been updated for the first time since 2009!  Published in March, the 2020 version of the Cost Guide has been significantly improved.

Some of the changes include:

  • Better alignment of best practices, cost estimate characteristics, and cost estimating steps
  • Clarification of some of the best practices and their related criteria
  • Additional content in technical appendixes and revision or deletion of others
  • Update case studies and references to USA government legislation and rules
  • Modernization of the Cost Guide’s format and graphics.

The Cost Guide defines the four characteristics of a good estimate: comprehensive, well documented, accurate, and credible. It also incorporates 18 best practices and shows how the best practices align to the four characteristics. Additionally, it introduces the 12 steps of the cost estimating process that produce reliable estimates, and shows how the best practices align with the 12 steps.

Earned Value Management (EVM) remains central to the Cost Guide’s approach to managing the delivery of a project once the estimate is approved.

As with the previous version, the Guide can be downloaded free of charge from:

For more on cost management see:

Who Created the WBS?????

Current mythology is that the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) was developed as part of the PERT program within the US Navy in 1957/58.  I’m not so sure……..  Similar types of chart were around for up to 100 year before the PERT program started:

  • Organization Charts were developed in 1854 but not too widely used (the example shown is from 1917).
  • Cost breakdown charts were in use from 1909 at least (if not sooner).
  • Process diagrams and flow charts were publicized by the Gilbreth’s in 1921.

What I’m looking for is evidence that this type of hierarchical chart focused on work to be accomplished was developed prior to 1957; or alternatively confirmation that the PERT team initiated the idea and the NASA/DoD/PERT-COST people standardized the idea.

A summary of my findings and images of the charts are at:

Any feedback or input will be welcome.   Over to you……

Project Management history has been a long term interest of mine, for all of my papers see: