Learn 6 required project scheduling practices that you need to follow in Microsoft Project in order to track Earned Value… which should help you to automatically calculate a multitude of Earned Value metrics, automatically generate Earned Value performance reports, satisfy your customer or stakeholder requirements for tracking Earned Value on your project, and identify project timeline or cost performance issues early… allowing you enough time to recover before the end of the project.
On large or complex projects, it’s easy for things to get out of hand from a timeline, work effort, or cost perspective, so you often can’t afford to wait until the end of the project to determine how the project has been performing… only to find out that the project is off-track… and you don’t have enough time left to get things back on track. Although there are multiple techniques to track the performance of a project, one of the more sophisticated techniques is called Earned Value.
Earned Value Management is a sophisticated set of practices that many experienced Project Managers and Project Schedulers use to measure the performance of large or complex projects. Although it is quite common in the worlds of government contracting, construction, and aerospace, most Project Managers are not exposed to it… much less required to use it. This technique allows you to measure your current progress at any point along the project timeline… and compare that with the progress that you SHOULD have made by that point in the project… and if your actual progress doesn’t match your planned progress at that point, you should hopefully have enough time to recover before it’s too late.
Although Earned Value is a fairly sophisticated technique for measuring project performance, you don’t need to feel intimidated by it… because Microsoft Project does a lot of the heavy lifting for you… as long as you have six project scheduling practices in place:
- Properly-structured project schedule… built from a well-defined DBS/WBS, following best practice standards.
- Resources properly assigned to all tasks with realistic allocations.
- Resources with hourly rates set.
- Baseline saved at the beginning of the project… before work has begun.
- Progress being tracked regularly and accurately.
- Project Status Date is correctly set to reflect the date of last progress entry.
If you have these six project scheduling practices in place for your project, then you should be able to:
- Enable Microsoft Project to automatically calculate a multitude of Earned Value metrics for you.
- Automatically generate Earned Value performance reports using Microsoft Project.
- Satisfy your customer or stakeholder requirements for tracking Earned Value on your project.
- Identify project timeline or cost performance issues early… allowing you enough time to recover before the end of the project.
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