Microsoft Project provides nearly everything needed to mange projects of small to large sized. But one thing missing is a good set of charts. These missing charts include all the pictures needed for Earned Value. My favorite one is the Bulls Eye Chart.
Decision Edge is the place to go for these charts.
The purpose of the Bulls Eye chart is to show in one place the evolution of CPI and SPI for the Earned Value numbers coming from the project.
Why Do Earned Value for IT Projects?
Earned Value and IT Governance go hand in hand. One could make the case that IT Governance starts with Earned Value. Here's why...
Managing IT projects needs to connect the invested effort w ith produced value. In the normal (meaning naive) approach, only budget performance is tracked. This means that only cost variance can be seen. "We planned to spend this much and spent that much." This is useful to the cost accountants, but not very to the project managers.
What is needed is information about how much "value" was produced for the cost spent. This is the role of Budgeted Cost for Work Performance (BCWP or PV).
In the absence of the BCWP numbers the project performance is simply a level of effort. What ever was spent - in or out of budget - represents the value produced. This is really risky business in any enterprise IT project - especially one connected with corporate performance.
For projects not connected with enterprise - internal department projects, simple development projects or to be some what pushy "toy projects" - the governance performance oversight is probably not needed. But this works only if the powers to be (stakeholders) are willing to let the development group spend their money in the absence of any direct accountability.
The case of XP or Scrum is based on the customer being directly involved in the decision making process. But in many cases the "customer" is simply not connected in ways needed for these processes to deliver their full value.
So once the it is realized that connecting expense with delivered value is Mandatory for enterprise IT projects, Earned Value is the next step. In fact the CobiT guide and the current VAL IT both sponsored by ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association ) and the IT Governance Institute .
For anyone looking to make this connection Earned Value and the associated charts on project performance will be a starting point.