Agile and earned value - a white paper

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Posted by APM on 5th Nov 2013

There are numerous articles about earned value and Agile freely available on the internet. The purpose of this white paper (which can be downloaded at the foot of this page)is to synthesise this information by giving worked examples and drawing on personal experience.

This white paper isproduced by the APM Planning, Monitoring and Control SIG. It represents the thoughts of the author and the group and not necessarily the views of APM. It is intended to stimulate discussion on this subject and feedback on the contents of the paper should be sent to pmcsig@apm.org.uk

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a good practice approach used for the planning, management and control of projects and programmes. It is a project management technique which measures cost and schedule against a baseline. The result is a simple set of metrics providing early warnings of performance issues, allowing for timely and appropriate adjustments. The information generated helps to keep the project team focused on making progress.

Agile software development methods have been shown to be effective in software development, giving faster results with higher quality, and meeting changing business needs. There are some misconceptions that EVM techniques are too difficult to implement effectively on an Agile project, and that EVM could not easily cope with changing requirements. Many authors have shown this not to be the case, adopting hybrid theories and giving them interesting names like AgileEVM.

This paper will discuss the EVM techniques which have been adopted to provide the benefits of traditional EVM in Agile projects.

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The future of agile

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Agile has a lot to offer the wider enterprise, and we could perhaps see a time when the whole of an organisation is run on agile principles. Since this will not be about projects or programmes, I believe the emphasis will be on behaviours and structures as opposed to processes and tools.

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