Federal agencies are under considerable pressure from Congress, oversight bodies and watchdog groups to spend their appropriated funds wisely and efficiently. During the execution of any project, however, cost overruns and delays are common, leading to higher costs and less effective or timely solutions.
The Agile Earned Value Management (A-EVM) approach to project management is a potential solution to mitigate those risks. A-EVM provides effective scope variance analysis, comprehensive performance reporting, and predictability that help keep programs on time and on budget.
Unlike traditional EVM, in A-EVM, we use Agile framework artifacts as inputs to the values in traditional EVM calculations. We express value delivery in traditional EVM metrics. CGI experts translate traditional Project Management Institute (PMI) Earned Value Management concepts to fit an Agile Delivery Framework.
Five key characteristics of A-EVM
In the publication “Agile and Earned Value Management: A Program Manager’s Desk Guide,” the Department of Defense has encouraged the following characteristics to mitigate risk and keep costs low in acquisitions:
- Flexibility: Tailoring program strategies and oversight
- Responsiveness: Ensuring rapid integration of advanced technologies
- Innovation: Adopting practices that reduce cost and cycle time
- Discipline: Using program baseline parameters as control objectives
- Effective Management: Decentralizing acquisitions and project management as much as possible
Why use Agile EVM?
Of particular importance is that A-EVM draws from its Agile roots to leverage the “iteration” or “program increment time boxes” to track the completion of committed scope instead of the traditional PMI release that sets boundaries of discrete segments of work called “epics” or “features.” With A-EVM, managers can calculate capacity based on the team’s composition and other factors, and factor in cost data to estimate the duration and cost of the project. With this approach, project managers are now empowered to provide management with the necessary tools and data to analyze project costs, schedule, and performance in real-time throughout the project. Agile metrics are used to calculate and determine the real-time performance of a project. This allows for flexibility and fluidity to continuously adapt as requirements expand or contract over time with shifting priorities. However, as priorities change, team capacity remains constant to continue delivering based on historical velocity. In doing so, Agile teams can quickly pivot and adjust resources to meet an agency’s needs and priorities.
A-EVM is an approach to project management that can keep initiatives on time and on budget despite shifting circumstances. For more on how A-EVM benefits agencies, read our white paper.