Editor's Note: Due to the popularity of the blog and changes to the marketplace, this blog has been updated. Please find the July 2017 version by Michael Breuker at Selecting Earned Value Management (EVM) Tools.
Pinnacle has seen that most companies selecting EVM tools are doing so based on their need to satisfy Federal Agency contractual requirements for EVM. Others are positioning themselves to move up to a higher tier of Federal Agency contracts and they desire a stronger positioning for responses to RFPs with EVMS requirements. There are other companies who are selecting EVM tools to improve their program management capabilities.
All of these organizations will benefit from a structured process for selecting their EVMS tools. Often this type of measured process for selecting a product is not used. Tools are purchased, and an IT oriented software implementation approach is taken and then after a time, the user community determines that the products do not meet their requirements.
The first step in selecting an EVM tool is to gain an understanding of the concepts of Earned Value and the EIA Guidelines for EVMS. The next step is understanding the needs of your user community. After that you can begin the EVM tool selection process.The software components of an EVMS typically include:
Several of these components already exist in organizations. In most cases an Accounting or General Ledger System already exists. Pinnacle has been involved in advising a few customers to bring in a more robust Accounting system, but that is not typical in EVMS Implementations.
Another software component that is often in place is the Scheduling Engine. Frequently this will be Microsoft Project, Project Server or Primavera. Pinnacle’s experience is that when a Scheduling Engine (PM tool) is in place, it is best to leave it in place. Users tend to have strong attachments to these tools.
When determining what type of EVMS you need it can be very helpful to segment the types of EVMS Products on the market. You may wish to consider a Best of Breed or a Single Vendor solution.
When choosing EVM tools, organizations want to simplify the integration of the software components of their EVMS. An intuitively obvious approach would be to buy all the components from a single vendor.
A word of caution; in the software world acquisition is very common. EVMS tools from a single vendor may not be integrated any better than tools from separate vendors. This and the preference many organizations have for their current Scheduling Engine / PM systems, might lead you to choose a Best of Breed approach.
EVMS Scheduling Engines
Pinnacle has reviewed over 40 Project Management / Scheduling Engines in the last year. The list below contains the most typical Scheduling Engines seen in EVM systems.
EVMS Cost Engines
Pinnacle’s perception is that the first 3 products listed below dominate the market. All 3 are fairly recent acquisitions by Deltek and Primavera. There are pros and cons for each of the tools. Most of the decision criteria will be based on an organizations current EVM / PM capabilities, existing EVM and PM tool infrastructure, and your current and future EVM goals.
EVMS Reporting Engines
wInsight is the dominant EVM reporting product on the market. Many Federal Agencies use it to interpret a supplier’s EVM data. It is also used by DCMA, the group that reviews and validates the DoD’s and other Agencies suppliers.
This makes wInsight a typical choice for companies that want to go beyond the standard reports produced from the Cost Engines or distribute EV reporting and analysis capabilities throughout the organization.
There a number of integration considerations that affect product selection. Most of them will involve the Cost Engines. Understanding your needs for integration before selecting a tool is a critical piece of your selection process. To understand your integration needs, look at your Cost Engines capabilities and also at a number of other EVM components. These include integration with:
Pinnacle has defined a number of steps to help you document your EVM tool selection requirements and EVM Implementation plans. The following links to other articles describe these.
Pinnacle does not re-sell software. If you are selecting tools for your EVMS and you want an impartial partner, we welcome the chance to discuss our experience and perspective with you.
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