CIO Council releases guidance on EVM plans

The CIO Council released guidance earlier this week aimed at helping agencies develop an earned-value management program for major IT projects, as the Dec. 31 deadline approaches for agencies to come up with an EVM implementation plan.

According to the council, the framework is a template agencies can use in order to meet the Office of Management and Budget-imposed deadline.

'It is not intended to be all-inclusive, but rather to provide key components as determined through review of existing EVM policies ' [and] to assist agencies in developing their EVM policies' as required by OMB, the guidance stated.

EVM is a process that measures the value of work on a project against its costs. In theory, it should allow project managers to track almost in real time money spent on a project and measure that cost against timelines and deadlines.

OMB directed agencies to develop a model EVM policy by Dec. 31, and will make compliance a part of the President's Management Agenda (PMA) scorecard under the e-government category.

'The implementation of an earned-value management system ensures that cost, schedule and technical aspects of the contract are truly integrated and estimated, and actual progress of the project can be identified,' according to the guidance.

The guidance urges agencies to develop EVM plans that reference public laws such as the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994.

Agencies should also draft plans that draw from OMB policies such as Circular A-11, which outlines a process for program management, and Memorandum M-04-24, which details the PMA e-government initiative.

The guidance comes after a recent report by EVM software developer Primavera Systems Inc. of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., found that many agencies will struggle to meet the upcoming milestone because many agency senior managers have not embraced the concept.

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