Earned Value (EV) Management Model for Small Software Development Projects

Proceedings for the 2001 Software Technology Conference (STC). Salt Lake City, UT. April 17, 2001

16 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2015

See all articles by Jeffrey Ray

Jeffrey Ray

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); Swiss Management Center (SMC) University

Sandra Sanderson

Navy Mission Planning, PMA233

Date Written: April 17, 2001


This paper describes an approach for implementing earned value (EV) management tracking on small software development projects. Small projects are difficult EV applications because work must be tracked down at the task level so it can be costed out and used as a basis for the budgeted and scheduled work plan. Small projects are very dynamic and establishing a baseline plan down to the task level can be futile when outside factors such as changing requirements, funding profiles, and staffing levels would require that the baseline plan be constantly updated and re-baselined. In some cases, such as a small software development effort, it is not worth the effort to plan the project down to the level of project control required to develop cost-loaded schedules of tasks. An EV approach is discussed below where percent complete credit for work performed is granted based on achieving key milestones, as opposed to a project manager’s assessment of how much each additional task has been completed. By eliminating the need to track progress down at the detailed task level this weighted milestone EV model recommended below can accommodate differences between how work is planned, and actually carried out, without requiring updating of the baseline plan. In retrospect, it makes sense to track progress according to the last milestone that has been achieved. After successfully completing a milestone, the first action project management takes is to start planning how to complete the deliverables for the next key milestone event. Since the work planning and execution revolves around achieving milestone events, they are the likely focus of any EV model that attempts to rise out of the specific details of preparing and maintaining resource and cost loaded schedules. This paper provides a description of such an EV model, one that tracks work progress according to milestones achieved, and also provides insight concerning how to implement the model.

Keywords: Weighted milestone method, decision gates, status reporting, EV, EVM, earned value, measurement, earned value management, status reporting, tracking, small projects, small software development efforts, achieving milestones, milestone events, BCWP, BCWS, ACWP, effort, milestone events

JEL Classification: C60, C88, D81, H80, J22, M11

Suggested Citation

Ray, Jeffrey and Sanderson, Sandra, Earned Value (EV) Management Model for Small Software Development Projects (April 17, 2001). Proceedings for the 2001 Software Technology Conference (STC). Salt Lake City, UT. April 17, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108506

Jeffrey Ray (Contact Author)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) ( email )

1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
United States
(410) 455-2537 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.umbc.edu/se/

Swiss Management Center (SMC) University ( email )

Balz Zimmermannstrasse 7
6302 Zug
Zurich, CH-8302
+41 (0)41 500 16 22 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.swissmc.ch

Sandra Sanderson

Navy Mission Planning, PMA233 ( email )

47123 Buse Road
Building 2272 Suite 540
Patuxent River, MD 20670
United States

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