Earned Value & Earned Schedule

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This subject looks at Earned Value Management (EVM) and/or Earned Value Analysis (EVA), which in conjunction with Earned Schedule, has proven itself to be one of the most effective performance measurement and feedback tools for managing projects.

Topics included in Earned Value & Earned Schedule:

- Earned Value & Earned Schedule Overview
- Earned Value Processes
- Earned Schedule
- EV & ES Resources and Training
- The VIPER Experience
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- EVM Training options
- EVM Software Tools
- PMBOK Cost Management
- The history of Earned Value and Cost Controls
- Work Performance Management

Earned Value & Earned Schedule Overview

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a performance management system focused on measuring the performance of the people assigned to manage specific work packages, control accounts, and the overall project. It has proven itself to be one of the most effective performance measurement and feedback tools for the management projects, and is often referred to as 'management with the lights on' because it helps objectively and succinctly identify where a project is and where it is going.

EVM is a relatively new technique developed in the 1960s. It was based on PERT COST, which in turn was developed from the PERT TIME scheduling system. EVM also drew on the well-established practice of cost engineering, but with a focus on performance management, see more on the History of Earned Value Management.

The terms Earned Value Management (EVM) and Earned Value Analysis (EVA) are used interchangeably by different authorities. Semantically EVA includes the data gathering, calculations, and analysis used to provide the information needed for EVM, and EVM is the process of manage the ongoing work of a project. However, most standards and references seem to select one name of the other and use it for the full suite of control activities needed to implement an EV system. EVM as used on this page applies equally to EVM and EVA.

This page is focused on the practical implementation of EVM based on ISO 21508 and its Australian implementation as AS 4817:2019. We offer three interlinked components:

  1. The range of free resources set out below.
  2. Easy EVM book and Excel worksheet, click through to see more and buy.
  3. A range of training courses designed to augment Easy EVM, that can be delivered virtually world-wide, or in-person in Australia, see more.

EVM Concepts

The EV methodology incorporates project scope, schedule, and costs and uses the fundamental principle that patterns and trends in the past can be good predictors of the future. Timely and targeted feedback can enable project managers to identify problems early and make adjustments that can keep a project on time and on budget by closing the loop in the classic business formula, 'Plan, Do, Check, Act'.

EVM uses the information derived from the schedule and the cost management function to aid in the overall control of the project (ie, using money as a performance metric), it involves:

  • Allocating management responsibility for the work via a WBS
  • Determining the planned value of work to be performed in each time period for each WBS element
  • Measuring the actual value of work performed in each time period
  • Measuring the actual costs of performing the work accomplished
  • Using established formulae to understand the current performance and the projected outcomes for the project.

EVMEVM can play a crucial role in answering management questions that are critical to the success of every project, such as:

  • Are we ahead of or behind schedule?
  • How efficiently are we using our time?
  • When is the project likely to be completed?
  • Are we under or over our budget?
  • What is the remaining work likely to cost?
  • What is the entire project likely to cost?
  • How much will we be under or over budget?

The project manager can use the EVM methodology to help identify:

  • Where problems are occurring
  • Whether the problems are critical or not
  • What it will take to get the project back on track.

Easy EVMEasy EVM is an introduction to implementing EVM in an organization based on ISO 21508: Earned Value Management in Project and Programme Management. Its purpose is to provide practical guidance to people, and organizations, involved in either implementing an earned value management system, or using information created by an earned value management system.  See more.

EVM Overview

A well designed earned value management system (EVMS) adds a number of effective practices in the areas of project planning and control that are related to the goal of measuring, analyzing, forecasting, and reporting on the performance of the project's management team, based on cost and schedule performance data. The information generated is intended for evaluation and action by the project team, managers and other key stakeholders. The foundations are a well defined WBS linked to a realistic cost plan and schedule, but an EVMS is not an extension of the schedule, or the project cost management system. EVM is a performance management system that operates at the management control account level. 

Art: The Purpose of Earned Value Management. This article describes the objectives of an effective EVMS and distinguishes EVM from other financial, cost and schedule tools used to control projects.

Art: Earned Value Management Six things people don’t get!  This article defines the primary benefits of running an EVMS, and how EVM interacts with, but is different to, cost control (accounting) systems and scheduling software. The significance of a robust WBS and WBS Dictionary is highlighted.
For more on the WBS dictionary click to download an overview of the WBS Dictionary
(extracted from Sections 2.2.7 and 5.7 of Easy EVM). 

Art: Earned Value - An Introduction to Earned Value Performance Management. This article provides a basic overview of the workings of 'Earned Value Management' that is consistent with ISO 21508, and describes how EVM assists in the effective management of projects.

Prs: EVM – it’s not as hard as you think. Using Earned Value Management (EVM) to improve project governance and controls is not as hard as you think! This presentation looks at establishing, operating, and running an EVMS, based on Australian Standard AS4817:2019 (the Australian adoption of ISO 21508), using simple tools. It briefly covers:
- Understanding EVM, what it is, and what it is not 
- Defining the key elements and objectives of EVM, and
- The creation, and use of EVM on a small bridge project.

Prs: Governing and Leading Projects using Earned Value Management (EVM). Good management and good governance requires good information. When implemented effectively EVM is a robust, practical system focused on assessing and supporting the managers of a project. Based on the framework in ISO 21508, this presentation provides an overview of the 11 steps needed to implement EVM effectively.

Prs: Controlling Agile. A review of the decisions, questions and options for effectively integrating project controls and EVM with an 'agile' product delivery methodology.

Art: The CPI Stability Myth. Research has found CPI stability is not a ‘given’ at the 20% or any other stage of a project; and it rarely exists on small commercial projects. EVM is a better predictor of cost outcomes than other options (and using Earned Schedule time outcomes - see below), but all predictions are based on an assumption nothing changes. A negative CPI is a call to action, not a disaster.

Art: Earned Value Confusion = No Value. Using a variety of different acronyms to define the same variable damages the credibility of EV globally.

Work Performance Management is an allied technique designed for use on simpler projects where management has decided not to use EVM. See more.


Earned Value Processes

Art: Practical EVM. An effective Earned Value Management System (EVMS) is a performance management system designed to assist the performance of the project’s management team at predefined control points within the overall structure of the project’s management and control systems. This article outlines the fundamental requirements needed to start developing an EVM culture in an organization using the Easy EVM Workbook.

Art: Sizing Work Packages. The core element at the center of an EVM management system is the work packages; to be useful, they need to be sized appropriately. This article defines the parameters for practical work packages - they are larger then most people think!

WP: Earned Value Formulae. A summary of the basic values and formulae used in Earned Value calculations.

Easy EVM Workbook.

Easy EVM Workbook

The Easy EVM Workbook is a simple spreadsheet that performs the calculations needed to apply EVM to normal projects (download the instructions for use). It is designed to process the data for a single update. After each update is complete, you save a copy of the spreadsheet ready for the next update and then edit / add the new information at the appropriate time. See more.

Easy EVMEasy EVM is a guide to implementing EVM in an organization using the Easy EVM Workbook, or a more sophisticated tool. Both Easy EVM, and the Workbook are based on ISO 21508: Earned Value Management in Project and Programme Management. Their purpose is to provide practical guidance to people, and organizations, involved in either implementing an earned value management system, or using information created by an earned value management system.  See more.

WP: Understanding the use of TCPI in EVM. The TCPI is the only EV metric that can provide a consistent measure of the likelihood of achieving a target total cost.

Art: Three Steps to Validate a Variance. Variances are to be expected, but before taking action to bring performance back into alignment with the plan, it is a really good idea to make sure the variance you are seeing in the control systems is real and significant.


Earned Schedule

Earned Schedule

March 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication by Walt Lipke of his seminal paper Schedule is Different, in the March 2003 edition of The Measurable News, introducing Earned Schedule to the world. To celebrate this milestone Mosaic is supporting a free webinar that will be available to everyone with an interest in Earned Schedule (ES), world-wide. For more information see: https://www.pgcs.org.au/library1/2023-es-special-event/.

It is derived from, and is an extension to, EVM that uses normal EVM data. But, in contrast to the cost-based indicators from EVM, the ES schedule performance indicators are time-based, and provide a status and predictive ability for schedule outcomes, analogous to the facility for cost status and cost predictions when using traditional EVM.

ES ConceptEarned Schedule (ES) is a breakthrough analytical technique that resolves two longstanding problems:

  1. The inability of Earned Value Management (EVM) to predict the project completion date. EVM calculates schedule variance in terms of monetary value (or other metric used to measure performance in the EVM model). Knowing you are $70,000 behind plan (EV - PV), or the SPI is 0.769 cannot be translated into an expected completion date. A secondary problem is SPI will always revert to 1.0 at completion. ES converts the EVM data into time units and uses this to predict the project completion date.
  2. ES provides an assessment of the likely project completion date based on the productivity achieved to date. The major weakness in the CPM methodology is an assumption future work will occur as planned; while this is a useful management approach (see Why Critical Path Scheduling (CPM) is Wildly Optimistic below), the predicted end date is likely to be optimistic, the ES calculation more realistic.

Art: Earned Schedule. A brief introduction to Earned Schedule.

Art: Predicting project completion. Earned Schedule and the 'P-Factor' - improving forecast completion estimates.

PP: Earned Schedule - the First 20 Years. The concept of Earned Schedule (ES) was introduced to the EVM community In 2003, by the publication by Walt Lipke of Schedule is Different. Earned Schedule resolved the long-standing dilemma of the EVM schedule indicators providing false information for late performing projects, provides the ability to predict project completion dates with more accuracy then CPM, and is the bridge for performing meaningful schedule analysis from the EVM data. It uses the same data as traditional EVM, but shifts the calculations from the cost axis to the time axis. This paper identifies the developments in ES and the quest for an accurate way to predict likely project completion dates. Download the original PMWJ version of this paper.

PP: Why Critical Path Scheduling (CPM) is Wildly Optimistic. CPM tends towards an optimistic representation of the project’s completion date. Used appropriately, this can be a performance motivator. However, prudent management also requires an accurate prediction of the completion date. The ‘critical path’ methodology developed in an environment of certainty. This paper suggests that when dealing with major projects in the modern age, the projected end date calculated by CPM tends to be widely optimistic. However, through the prism of complexity, in particular CRPR, and/or motivational theory this is not necessarily a bad thing. The factors that drive CPM towards an optimistic initial assessment include psychological biases, single point estimates, and limitations of the CPM modelling process (including a factor previously identified as PERT Merge Bias). As work progresses, these initial biases are compounded by the inability of CPM to adjust future predictions based on performance to date. Some of the solutions developed from EV theory such as ‘Earned Schedule’ provide a partial answer but are also limited. From the perspective of CRPR and motivation theory, having an optimistic schedule can be beneficial. The challenge is fitting an optimistic scheduling process within the constraints of an organizational governance structure that requires an accurate prediction of the likely completion date and traditional contracts that demand a ‘contract schedule’ and include significant sanctions if the CPM schedule predictions prove incorrect.

Work Performance Management is an allied technique designed for use on simpler projects where management has decided not to use EVM and ES. See more.

The official site for Earned Schedule (including the ES calculators) is at:



EV & ES Resources and Training


Easy EVMEasy EVM is a self-paced course, supported by Mosaic Project Services Pty Ltd. The purpose of this ‘course-in-a-book’ is to provide practical guidance to people, and organizations, involved in either implementing an earned value management system, or using information created by an earned value management system. It provides guidance on concepts, responsibilities, integration, and processes, for the implementation and use of earned value management based on ISO 21508: Earned Value Management in Project and Programme Management. Easy EVM, and ISO21508, are compatible with PMI's The Standard for Earned Value Management (ANSI/PMI 19-006-2019), and is a suitable study resource for the EVM component of the PMI-SP and PMP exams.

$35.00 AUD (Plus GST, Australian customers only). Size: 240 pages, 100 questions, file size 14 Mb.

Open the Book2Look preview to see the full table of contents, sample pages, and sample questions & answers. Open Book2Look preview

 Easy EVM Workbook.

Easy EVM WorkbookThe Easy EVM Workbook is a simple spreadsheet that performs the calculations needed to apply EVM to normal projects (download the instructions for use). It is designed to process the data for a single update. After each update is complete, you save a copy of the spreadsheet ready for the next update and then edit / add the new information at the appropriate time. See more.

Free Earned Schedule Master Class
Developed by Walt Lipke, hosted by PGCS: Click through to register.

EVMStandard for Earned Value Management
The PMI's The Standard for Earned Value Management expands on the earned value information in the PMBOK® Guide and is applicable across many Knowledge Areas and Process Groups. This practice standard is intended for anyone who wants to better develop their project management tool set and know how to potentially improve project performance through the use of earned value. The standard expands the available resources on the use of EVM for medium and smaller projects, whilst still being relevant for larger projects, provides insight and detailed explanations of the basic elements and processes of EVM, and demonstrates how to scale EVM to fit varying project sizes and situations. The PMI Practice Standard for Earned Value Management is available free of charge to PMI members as a non-printing PDF, see: https://www.pmi.org


GAO GuideDownload the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.



GAO GuideDownload the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Schedule Assessment Guide.



DOD-EVMIGDownload the U.S. DoD Earned Value Implementation Guide.  This guide is based on the implementation of EVM systems based on the 32 Guidelines contained in the Electronic Industries Alliance Standard-748 EVMS (EIA-748).  This approach to EVM developed in the 1960s and has largely been superseded by the performance based approach incorporated in ISO 21508 and the PMI Practice Standard for Earned Value Management.

  DCMA 14 Point Earned Value Management System (EVMS) Program Analysis Pamphlet (PAP), DCMA-EA PAM 200.1, October 2012. This EVMSPAP was developed as a primary reference for EVMS Specialists to properly generate EVM metrics, graphs, tables, and presentations supporting the creation of the Program Assessment Report (PAR). It outlines EVM key components spanning the integrated business management systems and the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS). Section 4 includes the last published version of the DCMA 14 Point Schedule Metrics.

EIA-748-D Standard for Earned Value Management Systems – dated August 2018. A copy of the standard may be purchased from Tech America (www.techamerica.org). EIA-748-D contains a set of 32 guidelines that define the requirements that an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) must meet and is the governing document for its application.

Integrated Program Management Data and Analysis Report (IPMDAR). The IPMDAR contains data for measuring contract execution progress on Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition contracts and may be valuable in developing project controls specifications in a wider environment. The IPMDAR's primary purpose is to reflect current contract performance status and the forecast of future contract performance. Its Data Item Description (DID) contains the format, content requirements, and intended use of information for the data deliverable resulting from the work task described in the solicitation. Download the 2020 IPMDAR

ISO Standards (with Australian adoptions)

- ISO 21508:2018 Earned value management in project and programme management
  (AS 4817:2019 Earned value management in project and programme management [modified])

- ISO 21511:2018 – Work breakdown structures for project and programme management
  (AS ISO 21511:2022)


Earned Value Training

Earned Value Management for Business. This series of workshops are designed to provide executives and practitioners with an understanding of the power of using Earned Value as an effective control and monitoring technique to deliver added value and insight from their overall project control process. The approach adopted is to assume everyone uses some form of software for EV, therefore rote learning of the formulae is pointless. What’s needed is an appreciation of the terms used and the value of the information created by the tools. Workshops are available in half-day, one-day and two-day formats, either as virtual presentations (world-wide), or face-to-face in Australia: view course details.


The VIPER Experience  

VIPER F111VIPER was a fully-fledged, commercial project control system that uses Earned Value as its core progress reporting system. It was designed to optimize repetitive project cycles (in this case, aircraft maintenance and repair programs) in a data rich environment.

The challenge solved by VIPER remains, business and project communities are facing a number of contradictory pressures:

  • The downsizing and deskilling of their work forces, particularly in the technical support and middle management areas
  • The increase in litigation and lack of tolerance towards any delays, processing errors and/or omissions
  • The need to be ever more efficient with reduced project budgets and shorter timeframes
  • The increasing complexity of many projects and project systems.

The combination of these factors creates pressures on business systems (with particular reference to project control systems) to deliver enhanced efficiency and process integrity whilst minimizing risks.

During the heyday of project management software development (in the 1970s and 80s), it was normal for businesses to employ project and senior schedulers in permanent well-paid positions and to maintain staffing continuity within their businesses technical and administrative areas. This structure allowed staff to develop deep domain knowledge and to know, just by looking, when something was incorrect or missing (as well as having the resources to correct the problem). In the leaner, meaner environment of the 21st century, these luxuries are no longer possible. Systems need to be designed with the prudential checks and balances that experienced staff used to be able to provide, incorporated as an intrinsic part of their overall processes (as well as being super efficient).

ADF C130 HerculesThe VIPER system was used to manage and schedule aircraft deep level maintenance programs for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and a number of commercial businesses; it was retired when the aircraft it was customized to manage reached the end of their ADF life. VIPER integrates maintenance data, timesheet data, hangar floor reports and project scheduling using a number of data integration, management and automated capture processes, which in effect created an 'expert' system. VIPER generated cost savings in excess of 30% to the ADF deep level maintenance programs. The approach embodied in VIPER allows project control systems to be designed utilizing the most effective components (Scheduling, MRP, Timesheet, Data management, Accounting, etc) and then to integrate the data capture, information flows and analysis to ensure prudential processes are mandated whilst optimizing the overall efficiency of the business unit.

The evolution of VIPER also provided valuable insights into the way carefully structured information flows can influence business outcomes. These lessons learned are applicable to many process and are discussed in detail at the conclusion of the paper.

PP: The VIPER Experience. This paper analyses the evolution of VIPER as an aircraft maintenance management system over 10 years. It focuses on the use of Earned Value data and other project information as an agent of change and the benefits of automated and integrated management systems.

Managing external contractors

Managers working in a business environment where key processes have been outsourced are battling to retain control over projects they are responsible for delivering or funding. The key issue they confront is their lack of direct authority to control the destiny of the project. This is caused in part by their lack of visibility of many key commercial processes and in part by the outsourcing model itself. Many levers previously used by project managers to control vendors working on their projects (eg hiring/firing authority, options for future work, payment provisions, knowledge of contracted rates, etc) have been taken away from the project managers working within the ‘client business’ and subsumed into an overall ‘outsource’ agreement.

To succeed in this environment, project managers need to use new techniques to regain effective control of their projects. One of the most effective is to harness the power of Earned Value Analysis to create a high level of visibility (particularly early in the project) and to use the persuasive power created by the regular reporting processes to regain control. Understanding trends and trend analysis is a key part of this process. This process must be implemented with a blend of psychology and technology to obtain the maximum benefit and should focus on helping the vendors become effective and profitable. In an outsourced environment, the clients project managers can only achieve success by making their outsourcing partner successful.

PP: Earned Value Business Management - Using EV to Manage Outsourced Contracts. The practical application of EVM to the management of external contractors and suppliers.



Useful External Web-links & Resources

Earned ScheduleEarned Schedule Site - The official site for Earned Schedule (including the ES calculators): http://www.earnedschedule.com/


MyCPMCollege of Performance Management - The premiere organization for earned value management and control: http://www.mycpm.org/

PGCS For papers on EVM and ES presented at the PGCS Annual Symposium see:


Easy EVM

EVM Work Sheet

Easy CPM

Stakeholder Work Sheet

Risk Register

Work Performance Management

Stakeholder Work Sheet

Easy EVM

Easy CPM

Easy Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder on a Page

Risk Management Plan

EVM Work Sheet

Easy EVM

Easy CPM

Work Performance Management

Easy EVM

EVM Work Sheet

Stakeholder on a Page

Risk Management Plan

Work Performance Management