Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Have you earned value today?

There are many ways to track progress on projects - see "Don't burn out - burndown" for example. Burndown is particularly useful in agile projects with timeboxes where the targets are set at quite short notice - month by month for example. Earned Value (EV) analysis on the other hand is a great technique for tracking progress against a stable plan (ultra-agile teams go and read that burndown article instead of this one - stable plans are a luxury you rarely see!).

With EV tracking the value of completing tasks is calculated from its originally planned cost. There are some disadvantages of this - not least that the whole method relies on having the well-estimated plan to start from - however its advantage is that efficiency of execution can be measured day by day on the project.There are two relevant measures of efficiency that EV analysis provide: cost efficiency (how much better or worse you are doing than the baseline plan with regards the cost of the tasks you have delivered so far); and schedule efficiency (how much more or less value you have delivered at this point in time compared to the baseline plan).


xProcess supports EV analysis in the Executive Dashboards client (see screenshot). The Executive Dashboards provide an overview of multiple projects (or just one project if you like) so it's an ideal place to look at these efficiency levels in different projects. We may revisit how to use the views provided in later blog entries so watch this space.
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