Project Duration Forecasting

I've had a subscription to a trade rag called CrossTalk (The Journal of Defense Software Engineering) for a few years now. I've read the articles but none really got my attention and kept it. In the December 2008 issue, there is an article about comparing Earned Value Management Methods to Earned Schedule. It was written by Walt Lipke of the Oklahoma City Chapter of PMI. Now that I'm working on a very large government project, this article really sparked my interest. If you're working in a government PMO or on a government project, I recommend you give it a read. The author did a really good job of using real project data and also did an excellent job comparing EVM methods to the Earned Schedule (ES) prediction technique.

If you're new to Earned Value Management or still studying for your PMP, this may make your head hurt a little. If PVcum, EVcum, and BAC are in your daily vocabulary, you'll enjoy it. Article Link

Earned Value Management (EVM)...the basics

Should all projects or programs utilize Earned Value Management? Short answer: No Long answer: The industry standard for project control systems described in American National Standards Institute (ANSI) EIA-748, Earned Value Management Systems, must be implemented on all projects with a total project cost (TPC) greater than $20M for control of project performance during the project execution phase.

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a systematic approach to the integration and measurement of cost, schedule, and technical (scope) accomplishments on a project or task. It provides both the contractee and contractor(s) the ability to objectively examine detailed schedule information, critical program and technical milestones, and cost data.

In layman's terms, it quantifies the estimated value of the work actually accomplished.

Using Project Management Templates

At my last engagement, there was a lack of matured documented process.  I'm all about process. If you have good process, quality results will follow.   People sometimes don't understand that if a documented process does not provide value to the project, you should not do it.  Consistently use proven templates, processes, and methodologies to refine your project management approach. Templates are mere tools in a toolbox.  Again, only use the ones that provide value to the project.  I once had a Product Manager voice her frustration because she was told to complete ALL of the project templates in the repository, after the project was in a later phase.  My response was to weigh the cost (time) of completing the templates against the benefits gained by them.  The benefits are traditionally lower risk or higher customer satisfaction.  In this case, it was neither.  If anything, there should have been Lessons Learned or Postmortem document that would have identified the gaps or overlaps of the documentation.

To assist readers of my blog, I'm going to start uploading templates I've used at previous engagements.  They are free of change and will fall under public domain.  You'll find them by selecting Free PM Templates or locating the link in the right navigation menu.

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

I pride myself in the fact that I'm a very honest and hard working manager.  I define the Huether Triple Constraint as Passion, Commitment, and Skill.  I'm passionate about what I do, I'm committed to the organizations I work for, and I rely on my skills and the skills of others to be successful. As part of commitment, ethics and professional conduct should always be considered.  One of the questions I always ask myself before making a leadership decision is "Is this good for the project and our organization?"  No, I don't work for Initech and this isn't Office Space.  This is a valid question and there will be several questions on the exam that deal with ethics and professional conduct.

I recommend reading the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Even if you don't take the PMP, every good project manager will learn from it.