A while back I sent in a question to The Project Management Podcast and Controlling Chaos regarding how Critical Chain scheduling and Earned Value Management had ever been used together. Cornelius brought on Allan Elder in Episode 57 of the PM Podcast and addressed the question, however the answer was as I suspected, and I wasn’t happy with it. Basically using them together is really just keeping a different set of books, one to manage the project (CC buffer management) and one to report the project to external stakeholders who want to see EVM metrics.
I’ve started throwing some ideas down on paper regarding how the methodology I like (Critical Chain) can be used in a more streamlined way with earned value. I’ve got a lot of research left to do on both in order to get something somewhat coherent, but I think I’ve got the basic concept down and I’ve even got some formulas already. It’s basically a way to use the Critical Chain buffer utilization to directly yield EVM metrics without having to go back and re-baseline the schedule in the traditional Critical Path format. From what I understand the software packages that do this conversion go about it that way. I really don’t know if those outputs are useful or not however. A Critical Chain project is run in a fundamentally different way than a traditional critical path project, and if you don’t take those differences into account the EVM outputs won’t be very useful.
My goal is to provide a method to calculate real-time EVM metrics in a way that is useful to both external stakeholders and the project team. EVM is so entrenched, and one of the major reasons (in my opinion) that Critical Chain meets with resistance is because EVM doesn’t make any sense with it. Automatically, you’re left with a huge percentage of projects that can’t use Critical Chain.
As I research and come up with new ideas, I’ll keep this blog updated.