A quarter century ago when I began teaching and consulting in project management, earned value tracking was a technique used by the US Department of Defense and its contractors and by almost no one else. That situation has changed considerably as earned value management is now being used in lots of organizations, and calculations that use earned value formulas are a big part of PMI’s PMP certification exam. (Note that earned value management is EVM and not EMV, which is expected monetary value!)

Unfortunately, whereas DoD contractors understood earned value well (some would say too well as they often showed that they knew how to “game” earned value metrics), the same cannot be said for many of the newcomers to the methodology. There are many misconceptions and many overly ambitious claims that try to make earned value management into some kind of panacea for organizations with troubled projects. And it’s not.