Week 4 Reading
PMBOK Guide 6th Ed.
Review Sections 4.5, 5.6, 6.6, and 7.4 as needed
Gray & Larson 7th Ed.
Progress and Performance Evaluation (pp. 481 – 486)
Gray & Larson 8th Ed.
Progress and Performance Evaluation (pp. 498- 503)
Read the following articles (attached):
“The Value Earned with Earned Value” by Joseph Griffin
“Pros and Cons of Earned Value Management on Agile Projects” by Gartner (Matt Light)
“On the Road: Alternate Routes to Earned Value Management” by Gartner (Matt Light)
Week 4 Discussion – Balancing details in performance reporting
Primary Post: By Wednesday: In performance reporting, we often need to find a balance between too much information and too little detail. Some of us may love looking at the numbers and understanding them, while others just want to get to the bottom line. This is often complicated by the fact that we have both types of persons reading performance reports on many of our projects. How should we be thinking about and drafting our performance reports to balance the amount of detail (both in terms of calculations and in terms of project technical specifics) given to try to meet the differing needs and desires? How does earned value add value in performance reporting? Also, are there other parts of a project plan (think about the knowledge areas) that might help inform our report writing strategy?
Please note, you will not be able to see your peer posts until you complete your initial post first.
Week 4 Discussion Forum Grading Guidelines:
We will have a minimum of one discussion question for each week of class. You must meet the following posting requirements to be eligible to receive credit.
Initial Response to Discussion Question(s) must be posted by midnight (EST), Wednesday
A minimum of two responses to fellow students must be posted on separate days by midnight (EST) Sunday. This will earn you a grade of B. You must exceed the minimum to earn full credit.
You must post a minimum of three days for the possibility of receiving full credit
Simply meeting the posting requirements does not guarantee full credit; please see grading rubric in syllabus for description of how all assignments will be assessed
Balancing details in performance reporting
The goal of performance reporting is to understand and share significant components of a project that may be useful or detrimental to its progress. The purpose of performance evaluations is to be able to provide correct information and solve significant concerns. This information is always requested by stakeholders, who need it to make crucial project decisions. When there is a high level of stakeholder interest in a project, it is likely that the performance reports will need to provide additional details about the project. If the stakeholder understands technical aspects of the project, such information should be included in the reports.
Earned value adds value to a project by providing numerical data that compares the project’s actual performance to what was originally expected. Earned value analysis gives six variations that speak directly to project performance. These are their names: Cost Variance (CV) represents the difference between the budgeted and actual cost of work performed. Schedule Variance (SV) indicates if we are under or over budget, as well as whether we are ahead or behind schedule for the project, Estimate at completion (EAC) is a projection for the overall cost required to complete a project, and Estimate to Complete (ETC) is the expected cost required to complete all parts of work. We also employ the Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and Cost Performance Index (CPI), which simply illustrate whether or not a project’s costs are being used efficiently.
When employed in a project, earned value analysis is fantastic, but it does not inform us what steps must be made to remedy the problem. As a project manager, you must understand that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to project success. We must employ numerous instruments to compensate for the shortcomings of one tool. Root cause analysis is a tool that I would employ. Simply because it informs us of the problem in a situation as well as how to address it.
Earned value management systems . Project Management Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2022, from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/earned-value-management-systems-analysis-8026
This weeks discussion questions reflects me perfectly! I am the type of person that appreciates having all the detail I need to complete the work required without being burdened by too much information that I need to filter through. I think that individuals who are able to create documents and reports with this balance have a special talent because it is easy to feel the need to add more detail to elaborate on a point or detail where in return the important information will not get buried in a mountain of secondary detail.
How should we draft performance reports:
In my opinion we should draft performance reports by following these steps:
1. Start by gathering all the NEED to have data and detail. Make sure that these points are very clear and with explanations on their contribution to the project. Having these highlighted will make it easier for a project manager to build the performance report around the important data rather than have it buried.
2. Gather all the supporting detail needed to ensure that the readers are able to understand the
3. Draft the performance report using the detail/data brainstormed and ensure to organize it in a manner where it is easily accessible for users to find what they are looking for without having to go through the whole document.
When it comes to balancing the specific needs of the report, I think it is important to stat off by thoroughly analyzing the audience that will be reading the report and coming up with a plan on the best way to communicate the detail to them. For example, as someone who is not very passionate about calculations and numbers, I would love to have a report that will deliver the same data and level of detail without the dreadful amount of calculations by using other creative tools and methods to display what is needed. I think it is important to be able to understand the needs and desires of the audience and find a middle ground that will incorporate all the data in a way that can be digested and understood easily, so that nothing is overlooked.
How does earned value add value in performance reporting?
Earn Value adds to performance reporting by allowing project managers to see where the project is currently at in terms of its planned performance vs. its actual performance. This will then allow them to come up with interventions on a needs basis if the project is not at the desired level, or not on track to being completed within the required timeframe/budget.
Project plan phase and report writing strategy?
In my opinion, other areas of project planning that could help inform our report writing strategy would be the project scope and integration management. I think that these would be a very appropriate areas that will require a similar approach as a performance report. Although they require a lot more detail, it is crucial that these reports are easily accessible and understood by the people their target audience. The language and communication style should be taken into account and the important data, such as the time frame and budget, or example, should not be buried in pages of additional secondary and supporting detail.
Let me know what you guys think!
Treasury Bond Secretariat. (2008, May). Performance reporting principles . Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/grants/pdf/performance_reporting_guide.pdfLinks to an external site.
Watt, A., & Watt, A. (2014, August 14). 2. Project Management Overview. Project Management 2nd Edition. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/chapter/chapter-2-what-is-a-project-project-management/
Reporting the project performance is one of the more challenging tasks for project managers. Jones (2017) affirms that reporting should be invigorating, challenging, and serve specific goals. Creating and presenting reports is not just reproducing the same information gleaned. The report’s content will depend on factors such as audience, intent, availability of data, and stakeholder needs. Accordingly, the report’s level of details and length are determined based on the audience who will review and assess the information. Typically, high-level executives focus on the overall results for the project’s key elements and the proposed solutions to overcome the reported issues. On the other hand, technical reviewers might require more details on specific issues and in-deep root cause analysis. For Ehrenberg (1982), the critical element for drafting an effective report is to think of the reader’s interests and the information they expect to receive.
Furthermore, Earned Value (EV) constitutes a practical instrument for assessing project performance and control. One of the most valuable features of EV is the simplicity of having an overall reading of the project’s key components (time and cost), especially for creating concise reports. Czarnigowska et al. (2011) affirm that utilizing a few rates, EV allows the manager to extrapolate current trends on the project outcome.
As per my professional experience in the construction industry, most projects I worked for employed EV as a standard tool for reporting weekly advancements. However, EV needs to be complemented with other performance assessment tools for a better understanding of results.
Furthermore, the project communications management plan is another relevant input to consider when creating the work performance reports writing strategy. The Project Management Institute [PMI] (2017) includes the work performance reports as an output of the Monitoring and Controlling process group within the Project Integration knowledge area.
Czarnigowska, A., Jaskowski, P., & Biruk, S. (2011). Project performance reporting and prediction: extensions of Earned value management. International Journal of Business and Management Studies, 3(1), 11-20.
Ehrenberg, A. S. C. (1982). Writing technical papers or reports. The American Statistician, 36(4), 326-329.
Jones, M. C. (2017). Reporting Results to Stakeholders. In Evaluating Organization Development (pp. 163-182). New York: Productivity Press.
Project Management Institute (2017). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide) (Sixth edition).