Not every superhero was born with a super natural ability to fight crime or perform amazing stunts. In fact, some superheroes were merely humans that had learned to use tools and technology to their advantage. A perfect example of such a hero was Batman also known as “the Dark Knight”.

Bruce Wayne was a billionaire philanthropist who also held the secret identify of Batman. Unlike many other well-known superheroes, Batman was neither born with nor did he obtain any special superpowers. Instead, Batman made use of his intellect, technology, and physical prowess to fight the various villains plaguing Gotham City.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Batman’s costume was the utility belt. Included in the utility belt was choking gas and the famous “batarang”. The utility belt was one of Batman’s greatest weapons for fighting crime. Equally important to any Project Manager are the tools possessed to ensure project success. A powerful tool for measuring project performance and predicting future outcomes is the use of Earned Value Management (EVM).

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management methodology used to track project performance as well as forecast future project performance. EVM integrates the scope baseline, schedule baseline and cost to provide useful performance measurements.

Among the performance measurements is Variance Analysis. Used correctly, variance analysis can report how the project is currently tracking in terms of schedule and cost. The results of variance analysis allows a project manager to perform root cause analysis and make adjustments before the project has gone too far off course.

In addition EVM can be used for forecasting the project’s future performance. Imagine being able to go to the project sponsor early and report the project is projected to over spend by 10% if action is not taken soon. The conversation would be difficult to have with a sponsor but in contrast would be far better than going at the end of the project and reporting the project did over spend by 10% but no notification was provided.

EVM is relatively easy to calculate and can be tracked using a simple spreadsheet tool such as Microsoft Excel. Check out the slides above that walk through EVM calculations and reporting. Adding EVM to your project management tool belt will empower you to fight project villains like cost overrun.

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