The Earned Schedule (ES) is a rather recent methodology.
It was first introduced in 2003 and it is a method of analysis that extends and completes the benefits of the Earned Value Management.
Currently, the Earned Schedule method is used globally in projects of any type and size.
This method is taught in academics, is included in project management manuals and standards dictated by the PMI and is also a research topic at the university.
Not only theory but also practice. It is now widely demonstrated that the ES is useful for project managers for the analysis and control of project performance.
Why is the Earned Schedule born?
Everything is born and takes its cue from the EVM (Earned Value Management) method that offers the project manager and other stakeholders the possibility to visualize the actual costs of the project during its entire life cycle. This, as it is easy to deduce, allows a more effective management of the project itself.
In its original form, the EVM was used to evaluate project performance and predict the cost of the project upon completion.
Normally, project control is established at the level of the work package or the cost report.
In fact, however, this control, although helps in cost management, does not contribute to the control of implementation times. EVM data indeed are not generally used to estimate the time needed to complete a task, a work package or a project or to predict the completion date.
This can lead the project manager to make bad decisions about the Project in general.
It is precisely to fill this gap that the concept of Earned Schedule (ES) is born.
In fact, the ES can transform EVM metrics into time or duration metrics in order to improve the evaluation of the project planning performance and to predict the duration required for its completion.
When combined with an appropriate analysis, this approach can improve the understanding of the estimated time for the Project completion. It can also provide further insights that allow to make better decisions about project planning and other related parameters.
So let’s see more in detail what it is.
Measure and indicators of the Earned Schedule
The idea of Earned Schedule is similar to the concept of Earned Value (EV). However, instead of using the costs to measure project performance, the reference unit is time.
If we consider the projects that are late, in fact, using the Earned Value, we will have unrealistic indicators. The obtained values will, in a misleading way, make the state of the project look better than it actually is.
The problem lies in the fact that the Earned Value is a value indicator and not a scheduling indicator.
Therefore, the fundamental concept of the ES is to determine the moment, in terms of time, in which the planned work should have corresponded to the value of the work carried out at that precise moment.
The formula of the Earned Schedule
Where C is the number of intervals in which EV is equal to or greater than PV and I is the share of the intervals after PV.
In the researches carried out, the question asked was whether the ES is a better method of predicting the duration of the final project than the EVM methods.
The answer is that the ES is way better than any other method related to Earned Value Management.
Of all the methods and data sets studied, the ES is referred to as the best duration prediction method of a project.
For sure, this method is useful for project managers when they have to make decisions in order to meet delivery dates.
While the Earned Value provides an estimate of when the project is likely to end, the Earned Schedule produces an understanding of the probability of completion in precise moments over time.
The ES can also provide useful information to the project manager and analysts and is not difficult to calculate.
Of course, additional work is needed, but it is not as time-consuming as a complete bottom-up review of the entire project program.
EVM and ES have been integrated with statistical confidence limits in order to obtain probable results for the final cost and duration of the project.
The results of this work have shown that the proposed approach is sufficiently reliable for the general application of the forecasting method, both in terms of cost and duration.
Moreover, it is shown that the ES approach can be applied effectively no matther what the type of work or the extent of the cost and duration of the project.
Big deviations between the project status and the forecasts usually attract the attention of management and translate into corrective actions. Small deviations are usually not taken into account.
By quantifying and highlighting these deviations, it is possible to bring the focus of management on projects or work packages that require more attention.
As a result, these tools support the effective management of projects and improve the management of the portfolio of business projects.
Consistent use of these techniques that predict project outcomes provides an optimal approach to project reviews, increases confidence in project delivarables as time progresses, and improves management’s ability to take corrective action and appropriate decisions.
In conclusion, we can say that the EVM is a powerful methodology that helps project managers and other stakeholders managing projects and programs more effectively.
By integrating it with the ES method, it is possible to produce valid indicators and reliable predictions on the duration of the project.
The research found out that, compared to other methods based on the EVM, the ES produces the best predictions on the duration of the project.
The Earned Schedule method has a lot to offer to the project manager in order to help him drive and control his project from the beginning to the end.
Have you ever had the opportunity to apply the Earned Schedule to one of your projects? What are your observations? Write them in the comments.