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A simple interactive example of a progress report based on the Earned Value method (part 1)

Keeping track of project performance based on the Earned Value method

Project Performance Graph
The following is a simple interactive example of a progress graphic report based on the Earned Value method. This method uses an extra variable that represents the actual cost of the work done at a given point. This data is compared with the earned value to measure the performance of a project in terms of cost and schedule, with respect to the contract, baseline or initial agreement of the work to be done. So, it's possible, at any given point, to compare how much actual work has been completed against how much is expected to be completed. 

For information on this topic see Earned Value Management and my previous posts A Simple Method for Keeping Track of Project Performance using the Earned Value Method and Multiple Projects Performance Analysis using the Earned Value Method.  More information can be found in any project management related material.

The example consists of undertaking and completing 10 "equal" components in 10 working days with a budgeted cost of  $10,000.00, based on a fixed price contract. Hence, the project has the following initial agreements:
  • estimated time duration = 10 days
  • estimated budget = $ 10,000 
  • equal components means that all components take an equal amount of time and money to build
To see how the project is performing, use the form below to input the elapsed time to date, number of components produced to date the actual cost (n.b., data is bounded by initial agreement ). So, it's possible, at any given point, to compare how much actual work has been completed against how much is expected to be completed. Moreover, the variance calculations shows the situation of the project, that is, if the project is running ahead or behind schedule and if it's under or over budget.

Input Data

Output Data Graph
This is a simple output graph illustrating cost and schedule variance against time. This chart can be customized and enriched with more details to suit specific purposes and further analyze each single case at a given point of time.
(CV = Cost Variance: a positive value means the project is running under budget, a negative value means over budget (spending more than what is planned for) and a zero means the situation is on track.
SV = Schedule Variance: a positive value means the project is running ahead of schedule (producing more than what is expected), a negative value means behind schedule and a zero means the situation is on track.)

(refresh rate every 10 seconds)

Another example of a responsive output graph linked to the above Input Data form is the  cost and schedule performance index.
  • CPI (Cost Performance Index): greater than 1 means under budget; less than 1 means over budget.
  • SPI (Schedule Performance Index): greater than 1 means ahead schedule; less than 1 means behind schedule.
In general, ideally, performance index greater than 1 means good and less than 1 means bad. But, each single case must be analyzed to get a better understanding of the situation at a given point in the project timeline, because greater than 1 might not necessarily mean good.

In this example, there is no relationship between the predecessor and successor instance within the graph, hence, each case is to be treated as a singular case. But, in a real project network diagram where all relationships between tasks have been set to place, snapshots of various patterns can be created. This will give the opportunity to recognize, at a glance, each single case, i.e., the state of the project's situation at a given point (within that part of the project timeline that has been achieved).

(Please read the "N.B." note inside the above Input Data form)

(refresh rate every 10 seconds)

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