EPA shares earned-value management lessons

EPA shares earned-value management lessons

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that its organizations need to increase and refine their skills in using earned-value management methods. EPA shared this and other lessons from its experiences in implementing an earned-value management system last year in a document released Friday by the CIO Council.

Earned-value management measures the value of work on a project, "what you got for what it cost," said Anne Mangiafico, capital planning and investment control process team lead in EPA's Office of Environmental Information, IT Policy and Planning Division. The management technique, which the Office of Management and Budget requires in developing Exhibit 300 business cases, integrates cost, schedule and technical performance measures in order to monitor and control project resources and compare results with one set of metrics.

Although OMB requires earned-valued methods only with resources and milestones in development, modernization and enhancement activities, EPA recommended that agencies use it for operations and maintenance also, because many projects have a mixed lifecycle. Using a common approach across all system lifecycle phases provides managers with a more complete picture of the health of the entire project, not just certain segments of the project, the report said.

Increasing the project reporting consistency, such with as a standard reporting template and quarterly review cycle, improves earned-value data for analysis, EPA said. Graphical depictions of data, such as bull's-eye charts and traffic-light coding, provide faster recognition of trends, problem areas and successes. Improved guidance materials and routine quarterly training of employees responsible for earned-value segments will also advance the process.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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