Achieving Best Practice for Earned Value Management
Costain achieves consistent best practice for earned value management through consultative L&D intervention.
Earned value is a highly effective way to measure ongoing project performance in real time, enabling you to determine success and make decisions based on the amount of work completed VS planned, the time taken and the costs incurred. But in order to get the real benefit of EVM, it is important that everyone across your business is utilising the methodology to the same high standard.
In the case of Costain, earned value was being used on some projects but not on others, being done well in places but less well in others. It was this inconsistency of approach that Costain wanted to address.
“We had quite a lot of earned value activity going on, but it was happening in various places in isolation,” says Phil Budden, Planning Technology Manager at Costain. “We had good practice in some places, but not consistently, and there were no ground rules or documentation for it. We wanted to define what we thought earned value good practice was and get that delivered consistently across the business."
The learning opportunity in this case came from the fact that certain areas of Costain were already using EVM effectively. Our approach, therefore, was to send one of our consultants into the business to visit a number of sites across the country, sitting with project teams to gain an understanding of existing practice. Our consultant then provided Costain with guidance on what he thought future best practice should look like, documented the necessary procedures, and ran workshops involving both commercial staff and planners so that they could agree on what best practice should be.
We then devised two training courses: the first course, for both planners and commercial staff, was on earned value theory and interpreting reports. The second course, for planners, was on using Primavera P6 to generate the outputs to an excel-based template report for presenting, based on all that information, standard SPI/CPI graphs and bubble charts.
It is important to note that this solution was largely a consultative one. This was essential, because in order to deliver training that actually provided long-term impact and value to Costain, we first needed to get inside their organisation to find out exactly how things were being done already, what the specific issues were, and where. Only then were we able to deliver training that genuinely reflected their individual business needs.
Thanks to TLD’s consultative approach, Costain has reported that best practice is growing in consistency across the organisation, enabling them to utilise the earned value methodology more effectively. This is exactly the result they were aiming for.
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