Don't surprise OMB with a falsified EVM

When hauled before lawmakers eager to vent frustration over federal mismanagement of information technology projects, having a curative for their complaints at the ready makes all the difference.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

The Office of Management and Budget, cow-towing to congressional pressure, gave agencies until Dec. 31 to create a mandatory plan for using earned value management (EVM) to assess major IT projects, reports GovExec.com.

Project managers use EVMs to evaluate a project's progress measured against its estimated cost and schedule, and allows managers to effectively spot trouble before it gets out of control. The problem comes when a project doesn't meet expectations and managers try to cover it up.

"When a project veers off course, managers will receive help, not opprobrium," says Charles Havekost, chief information officer of the Health and Human Services Department. If it turns out a manager has been lying, "The negative implications of that to someone's credibility and career are such that it's not what they should do."

Most project managers don't know how to use EVM effectively, however. In a recent survey of senior agency managers commissioned by Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Primavera Systems Inc., which happens to sell EVM software, roughly half the respondents said their agencies were unfamiliar with or lacked personnel trained in EVM.

OMB is putting the pressure on agencies to be more efficient in IT project management including more in-depth training on EVM's. 

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