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IT Capital Planning FAQ

Q. What is the benefit of using Earned Value Management (EVM)?

A. EVM measures actual work accomplished compared to the authorized budget for that work and actual cost to do the work. In other words, EVM is useful for cost control, resource management, and production.

Q. Is EVM a substitute for Project Management?

A. No. EVM does, however, leverage project management (PM) planning and associated documents and information to enable timely awareness and effective management of project cost and schedule performance. When used in conjunction with other PM tools and practices, EVM provides objective evidence to demonstrate progress against agreed upon performance measurement baseline.

Q. What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

A. A WBS is a task oriented grouping of project elements which organizes and defines the total work scope of the project. It is the work to be executed by the project team in order to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

Q. What is the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB)?

A. The PMB defines the technical scope, schedule and cost of the initiative, and includes the schedule baseline (project schedule), and cost baseline (time phased budget) for accomplishing all elements of the defined work.

Q. What is the purpose of an "Integrated Baseline Review (IBR)"?

A. An IBR provides project management teams with a thorough understanding of the project plan and its risks. It ensures a mutual understanding of the PMB between Government and contractor. It also provides a mutual identification and understanding of project risks and the agreed plan of action to address those risks. An IBR should be performed within six months of contract award and when there is a major modification to the PMB.

Q. Can Earned Value Management be applied in a fixed price contract?

A. Yes. The nature of fixed price precludes cost variance – actual cost and earned value should always be the same, since the government pays only for work that is acceptable. But schedule variance can occur, and should be measured using EVM calculations.

Q. What is an "Operational Analysis"?

A. Operational analysis is a method of examining the ongoing performance of an operational initiative and measuring that performance against an established set of cost, schedule and performance parameters. Operational analysis should be performed annually, and the results used in the CPIC Select activity to determine initiative effectiveness and suitability for continued funding. Interim (e.g., quarterly) review of performance results support the CPIC Control function, including periodic management reviews throughout the year.

Q. What is an EVM Compliance Review?

A. An EVM compliance review is a set of materials and activities designed to ensure that the processes, procedures, systems and tools implemented to track and report EVM status of a initiative have been effectively implemented with existing project/program management processes to enable appropriate compliance with ANSI-748. GSA requires that EVM Compliance Reviews be conducted after contract award.

Q. What is a Post Implementation Review?

A. The post-implementation review is an evaluation tool used to assess the results of an investment program against baseline expectations several months after deployment at an operational site.

Q. Why Do We Conduct Post Implementation Reviews?

A. We conduct post implementation reviews to examine the differences between estimated and actual investment costs, schedules, benefits, performance and mission outcomes to answer the questions: “Did we get what we asked for?” and “Are we providing what the customer/user/stakeholder needs?” We answer these questions by assessing whether the investment is achieving its performance and benefit targets; whether it is meeting the service needs of customers; and whether the original business case is still valid. Results assist senior management in determining whether to continue, modify, or cancel operational programs.

Q. What Do We Do With Results of the Post-Implementation Reviews?

A. Results are reported to:(1) Information Technology Executive Council; (2) Business System Council and (3) key stakeholder organizations.

Q. Can We Tailor the Review?

A. Post-implementation reviews are always tailored to the size, complexity, and importance of an investment program or set of programs. Activities and costs are scaled appropriately, and may range from periodic surveys or focus group meetings with users of small, low-cost investment products to multiple site visits by a dedicated cross-functional team of users and stakeholders for large, complex, high-cost investment programs. In all cases, actual operational data from users must be gathered and assessed against performance targets.

Q. Who Performs the Review?

A. For a large, complex investment program, a cross-functional team consisting of key stakeholders, users, and technical experts plans and conducts the post-implementation review and reports results. For smaller investment programs, an appropriate mix and number of individuals commensurate with program size and cost perform the review. For very small investments, the post-implementation review may consist of the business manager polling or surveying users and reporting results.

Q. When Do We Conduct Post-Implementation Reviews?

A. We conduct post-implementation reviews 6 to 18 months after deployment at an operational site, once initial problems are worked out and users are generally familiar with the new capability. Timing is crucial and dependent on the status of the investment program. A review conducted too soon may fail to capture full benefits, while a review conducted too late may lose institutional knowledge about the investment, and recommendations may come too late to influence follow-on installations. Multiple post-implementation reviews may be required at multiple sites for complex investment programs and for those not achieving intended costs, benefits and performance.

IT Portfolio Frequently Asked Questions