Choosing the Right Software for Your Earned Value Management System


Choosing the Right Software for Your Earned Value Management System

Determining project success is more than just about whether or not everything is going according to schedule and staying within budget. It’s also about whether the work itself is making the right amount of progress when compared to where you are in your project timeline and your anticipated spend to that point.Earned value management (EVM), also known as earned value analysis, is a well-regarded technique that provides these answers by tracking schedule, cost and scope performance throughout the project life cycle.

EVM relies on planned value, earned value and actual cost — three unique metrics that go into calculating the main project performance measures (includingschedule performance index (SPI) and cost performance index (CPI)). The right software can manage this EVM calculation process for you, using values you established during the estimating phase.


What should you look for in an earned value management system?

Since an EVM system relies on scheduling, cost and reporting components, you could opt for earned value management software that includes these as an out-of-the-box type of solution. Or you could try to combine individual point solutions into one integrated whole. But while these solutions may work for some companies, they won’t work for all. Why? Because each construction company is unique when it comes to EVM.

Therefore, it’s best to think beyond just schedule, cost and reporting components. With the variety of options in the construction software marketplace, you’ll want to give some thought to all desired or necessary functionalities when either comparing or creating the earned value management system that’s right for your projects. While not an exhaustive list, here are some key things to consider:

  • Does it have an alert system to flag items that are developing or at risk of causing cost or scheduling issues? These alerts are what notify you and other project team members when any of your earned value metrics deviate suddenly or fall outside of the operating range you set at the beginning of the project. It’s these alerts that give you the necessary heads up that something needs attention and possible course correction.
  • Does the system have the ability to scale up as the number of projects you take on increases? Can you monitor the EVM of several projects at once? If your construction company works with capital projects and other builds of a substantial nature (or plans to), you’ll need a fully integrated EVM system that can store and process the thousands of types of data those projects can generate, ranging from costs and timelines to tasks and craftspeople.
  • Is online access possible, and is there a mobile app? Think of who will be using reports and dashboards, for example, and where they’d have to access them from — everyone from contractors in the field monitoring progress, to executive suite professionals assessing overall performance within and across projects. On the back end, the data used in calculating all the EVM performance metrics might be entered by craftspeople on the job site and project managers in the back office. These considerations can help determine whether to opt for a hosted solution or a cloud-based one (the latter would likely incur a higher investment but could be offset by the value of the real-time metrics you need for your large critical projects).
  • If you’re using several point solutions as your EVM system, how well will they integrate with each other? The earned value management technique draws on the data from the scheduling and cost components to generate the project performance metrics, which are then shared through the reporting component. So they must all be able to speak to each other seamlessly to deliver EVM’s full value. Some may say it makes more sense that all point solutions should be from the same vendor. After all, it’s safe to assume they’d be designed to work with each other. But what if some of them are lacking key functionalities you need? You could be trading one deficiency for another. However, if a product from another vendor offers what you require and it integrates well with your other point solutions, there’s no reason you can’t assemble a carefully constructed system that works for your specific needs.
  • How easy is the system to use? While the calculations themselves are automatically performed by your EVM system, the system itself should be easy and intuitive enough to enter the inputs, interpret the outputs, drill down into more specifics as needed, and generate reports customized according to the level of detail needed by different recipients. Especially if it consists of point solutions from different vendors, find out if any formal or self-paced training for each component is provided.

As you’re considering earned value management software options, look to InEight’s Connected Analytics. It enables you to calculate and monitor your performance metrics and share them in real time with project team members for immediate progress updates and decision making. It can give you the project certainty you’re looking for. We’re happy to help you assess how Connected Analytics can work for you. Request your demo today.

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