After Critical Path Method (CPM), Earned Value Management (EVM) is probably the most important and needed project management tool. In Engineering, Construction and Project Management (ECPM) world where the need to deliver project with the budget and timeframe is increasing forever, it will not be an exaggeration to say that EVM knowledge is a must have tool for all the ECPM professional – this is in spite of the fact that if you work for Project controls and Project Management department or not.
Every day, every project faces questions from internal and external stakeholders like: Is project on schedule? How much money we have spent till date? Is project is still within the budget? If it not on budget, how much is budget overrun? Can we recover from current budget overrun? How much we need to spend more to complete the project? If not on schedule, how much we are behind? If project scope is managed effectively?
Here Earned value management (EVM) comes to help us. Earned value management can be defined as:
“Earned value management (EVM), or Earned value project/performance management (EVPM) is a project management technique for measuring project performance and progress in an objective manner.” Ref Wikipedia.
This is a project management technique that measures the project performance in combination of all the triple constraints of scope, time and cost. Those who are already aware of the EVM concepts and those who are new, EVM is a simple concept. It uses schedule performance index, schedule variance, and cost performance index, cost variance to ascertain project performance. We will not discuss EVM in detail here. However, if you are interested to learn EVM concept you may view our 40 min long lecture here.
The second question is, Is understanding EVM concept is enough? More elaborately if the project management team knows how EVM works, does this guarantee project success or meeting the project objectives. This may not be always true. The project management team does not only requires very good understanding of EVM concept but they also need good knowledge and training on how to implement EVM at projects. Here comes the concept of Earned Value Management System (EVMS). This is a broader knowledge area which not only talks about the mathematics and formulas of earned value management but also includes setting up systems and processes for implementation of earned value management in a project and/or an enterprise environment.
Earned Value Professional (EVP) is the hallmark of your knowledge and experience that you know ins and outs of EVM, and as well as how to implement it. EVP certification has been awarded by AACE International since 2005. Being an AACE certification ensures a high quality standard.
The intent of this certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of earned value management criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualifications. The Competency Model used to develop the EVP certification is based on the current version of American National Standards Institute/Electronic Industries Alliance Standard 748, Earned Value Management Systems (ANSI/EIA-748-current version).
How to be a certified Earned Value Professional (EVP)
Now let's talk about how to be a certified EVP. Let's start with exam format. Since November 2012 EVP exam is done via computer based testing (CBT). Test consists of 120 questions, including a memo. The exam duration is Five hours and it is a continuous exam. There are no breaks and the timer cannot be paused. Memo writing is also on the screen and keyboard using a simple text editor.
To become a EVP, an overall passing score of 70% must be achieved.
Needless to say that the exam is comprehensive and needs good preparation. Following books and references are recommended:
1. EVP Exam Study Guide by AACE International.
2. ANSI Standard 748A or 748B
3. NDIA Intent Guide
4. PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)
5. Earned Value Project Management; Fleming and Koppelman, Project Management Institute
If you're already a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Cost Engineering Consultant (CCEC) the exam will be relatively easier for you. You must also understand ANSI 748A standard carefully and master the terminologies explained in the standard. You may expect several questions based on it.
One of the most frequently asked question on EVP certification is on memo. Let's briefly talk about it. Generally, the memo tests your ability to analyze project performance data, calculate earned value indices and variances, and make recommendation on project performance. One must not worry much about memo. As long as you understand the EVM concepts and have implemented in a real-life project scenarios the memo is not going to be a tougher task.
Cost and Time plan
Generally a window of 2 to 3 month preparation with 1 to 2 hour study per day can be reasonable. But again it greatly depends on your prior knowledge and experience with earned value management.
Below is that minimum cost of preparation and taking the certification exam:
1. ANSI 748A or 748B: $ 72 Can be purchased from ANSI website on the link here.
2. NDIA Intent Guide: Free. Can be downloaded from National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) website on the link here.
3. EVP Exam Study Guide by AACE International: $45.00 for AACE International members and $55.00 for non-members. Can be purchased from AACE International website on the link here.
4. Cost of Certification Exam: US$500 for AACE Members, and US$625 for Non-Members.
With the figure above the overall cost of EVP certification comes around $750, which is a worth professional investment.
In my opinion knowledge of earned value management is must for all the professionals working in ECPM industry. And if you want to excel your career growth in project controls, cost engineering and contract administration then you must consider this certification.
However a certification is not the end, probably it is the beginning. I get lot of mails from around the globe seeking advice on what certification one should choose. Generally, the individuals are too quick on relating the certification with their professional success. However, we must understand that getting career opportunities and professional growth is driven by how we as a professional benefit to the growth of the organization we work for. Therefore, it is not the certification that is of prime importance, but how effectively we implement the knowledge we learned from the certification to the best benefit of the employer we work for.