EVM Training and Certification: Investing in Excellence

June 11, 2024
EVM Training and Certification: Investing in Excellence

Whether you are looking to further your project management career or are a program manager staffing your project control team, proficiency in Earned Value Management (EVM) best practices are crucial. The skill levels of project personnel have a direct impact on the quality of a project’s schedule and cost data and the ability to use that data to make informed decisions to ensure the project’s success. Equally important is management’s commitment to implementing and proactively maintaining an effective Earned Value Management System (EVMS) that can be scaled for use on any project.

Contractors often establish an EVMS self-surveillance or self-governance process to routinely observe and measure how project personnel implement the EVMS on projects. A by-product of an effective self-governance process is it demonstrates management’s commitment to a best in class EVMS and the important role the project management team plays in implementing the EVMS.

A commitment to excellence translates into better project performance. A highly proficient team that has taken ownership in the system as well as a personal interest in the project’s success ensures the long-term sustainability of the EVMS. It also fosters an environment that encourages project personnel to improve their skill levels with proven training and mentoring techniques.

Boosting Your Project Management Career

Whether on your own initiative or encouraged by your employer, obtaining a professional certification in project management, cost management, or earned value management can help you stand out in a competitive job market as well as enhance your career. It demonstrates a level of commitment to improving your skills and that you possess a certain level of expertise. This is particularly important for those starting out in their career as a means to broaden their knowledge base as they gain real-world experience on the job.

Common certifications include the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) that provides a well-rounded perspective of the profession. The Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) International also offers targeted certifications including their Certified Cost Professional (CCP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP). Similar to other professional organizations, PMI and ACCE International encourage those who have earned their certifications to actively maintain them. Maintaining a professional certification demonstrates a commitment to continuously improving their knowledge base by completing additional training or attending seminars and conferences to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Professional Development Units (PDUs).

For those control account managers (CAMs) or earned value specialists that want to enhance their EVM expertise as well as to further distinguish themselves from their peers is to obtain advanced industry certifications such as those offered by Humphreys & Associates (H&A). H&A offers two fast paced and intensive certification programs designed to hone analytical skills and technical EVM proficiency. This includes the H&A:

  • CAM Certification. This course is ideal for anyone already a part of a project management team. The course work spans the five EVMS guideline process areas in the EIA-748-D Standard for EVMS: 1) Organization, 2) Planning, Scheduling and Budgeting, 3) Accounting Considerations, 4) Analysis and Management Reports, and 5) Revisions and Data Maintenance. Risk and opportunity management topics are also incorporated with an emphasis on data quality, integrity, and traceability. Throughout the course work, EVM best practices and the use of EVMS data are highlighted along with insights, methods, and approaches that result in better management and decision making.
  • Project Controls/Analyst (PC/A) Certification. This intensive workshop focuses on analyzing problems and determining appropriate actions to resolve them. It is intended to build upon a student’s basic EVM skills with wide-ranging advanced EVM and project analysis coursework to develop insightful analytical skills in various areas of project controls.

Commitment to Continuous Learning

From a corporate point of view, providing continuous learning opportunities helps to retain employees. There are also other benefits to the company. A commitment to increasing the proficiency levels of project personnel often translates into better project outcomes when management is actively engaged and promotes excellence in project execution and EVM best practices. They have learned from experience that engaged and proficient project personnel produce and maintain high quality schedule and cost data.

Highly proficient project personnel have the knowledge base, experience, and expertise needed to produce realistic performance measurement baselines (PMBs) as well as maintain credible estimates to complete (ETCs) and estimates at completion (EACs). They are able to manage the project’s work effort with less stress because they are not expending energy camouflaging unpleasant surprises or realized risks they didn’t anticipate.

A successful approach one company used was to leverage the H&A Virtual Learning Lab (VLL) courses as part of their continuous learning approach.


“Several years ago, we made the strategic decision to invest in the H&A Scheduling and EVMS Virtual Learning Lab modules, which have since become the cornerstone of our in-house training program. These modules offer a comprehensive and exhaustive guide to Program Management, catering to a wide range of professions involved in the development and maintenance of Integrated Master Schedules (IMSs) and using Earned Value to plan, track, analyze, and report program performance. This audience includes Program Managers, Finance Analysts, Scheduling Analysts, Business Managers, and Control Account Managers (CAMs).”

– Director, Program Process & Services, A&D Contractor


Benefits of Online Training

Some of the benefits of leveraging the H&A online training for continuous learning initiatives include:

  • Students can learn from the experts at their own pace. Online training is an effective way for motivated students to fit the learning process into their work schedule. The student is more engaged as the content is broken up into modules for short, focused time spans to learn new topics or to refresh their knowledge.
  • It accelerates the learning process. Online training makes it easy for more people to become proficient in EVMS at less cost. The online training provides a solid foundation to build upon for a complete training and learning approach.
  • Ability to quickly measure results. Quiz scores and exams can be used to track course progress and produce certificates of completion.
  • It eliminates training development, maintenance, and instruction costs. The online content is available on demand and is up to date with the latest industry trends and government requirements.

The H&A online training courses are equivalent to a three day workshop with over 21 hours of instruction. They include hands-on case studies, exercises, and examples. Students gain immediate feedback with scored quizzes and exams to test knowledge levels. They also earn PMI or AACE International course credits (CEUs or PDUs).

Targeted Training for Continuous EVMS Improvement

With an effective EVMS self-governance process in place, contractors can provide best practice guidance and support to project personnel that encourages early correction and quick resolution of implementation issues. An effective strategy H&A often helps contractors to implement is to conduct targeted training to address an EVMS, process, output, or tool issue they have identified.

An example of a common self-identified process issue is project personnel are not following best practices for actively maintaining their level of effort (LOE) work packages. With all the other activities going on for a project, it is easy to put LOE work effort on “auto pilot.” The result is that LOE tasks may incur actual costs with no earned value or earned value is claimed with no actual costs. These are data issues that will trip the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and DOE EVMS test metrics that could have been avoided. Targeted process training can help project personnel understand what they need to do to ensure upcoming LOE tasks accurately reflect the planned or forecast period of performance and time phased resource requirements.

Another example of a common self-identified output issue is that project personnel don’t know how to write clear and specific root cause, impact, and corrective action narratives for Variance Analysis Reports (VARs). Targeted training with examples, case studies, and hands-on exercises help to increase the student’s analytical skills and learn what is required to produce a useful VAR.

Some of the benefits of working with an industry authority in EVMS such as H&A that offers a variety of targeted training workshops include:

  • The ability to quickly conduct training and mentoring to address identified EVMS issues as part of the corrective action plan. The contractor must be able to demonstrate that the issue has been resolved and project personnel understand their role in the process.
  • Reducing the time to produce targeted training materials as well as to provide context as to why resolving the issue is important. The H&A training materials include case studies and hands-on exercises to reinforce the learning process using real-world examples.
  • Simplifying the process of producing and maintaining training materials as H&A training materials are available for license. H&A training materials are actively maintained and reflect current requirements as well as best practices. Clients often incorporate details from their EVM System Description, process, and procedures as well as toolset outputs.

Tips for Success

With every training class or workshop, project personnel gain a better understanding of expected best practices and why it matters. Training provides an opportunity to highlight their role in the success of every project. Project personnel need to have the knowledge and motivation to do things right. Successful training strategies often include:

  • Ensuring new project managers and CAMs have a good foundation in EVM concepts and why EVM is essential for project visibility and control. Have a plan in place to ensure this happens. For example, H&A routinely conducts EVM training at a large DOE laboratory for this specific purpose.

    The Deputy Manager for EVMS, Project Management Resource Center at the laboratory had this to say about the H&A training: “The training H&A provided at our site has definitely kick-started and helped out new CAMs and PMs get familiar very quickly with the concepts and practices of EVM.”
  • Establishing a standard scheduling and EVM training curriculum that combines the EVM System Description documented process and procedures people are expected to follow along with how to use the schedule, cost, analysis, and risk toolsets of choice to perform their day-to-day tasks. The goal is to highlight best practices and methods to ensure quality schedule and cost data are produced and maintained. Conduct routine refresher as well as advanced workshops to encourage continuous learning and communication between team members as well as hone analytical skills. Involving recognized subject matter experts and toolset power users is a good way to provide hands-on mentoring to more junior personnel.
  • Leverage the self-governance process to identify targeted training that may be needed. Provide guidance and support to project personnel to help them improve their skill levels. This is essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of a best in class EVMS.


About the Author

As President and CEO of Humphreys & Associates, Gary C. Humphreys has provided technical support in all phases of project management to clients in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Holland, Mexico, Norway, Sweden and other countries. As both a Team Member and Review Team Director, he has assisted, evaluated and directed review teams leading to over 150 successful system acceptances. Gary was one of the seven team members that created the EIA-748 Standard for EVMS. H&A is the gold standard in scheduling and EVM training. Visit our web site at www.humhreys-assoc.com or call us today at (714) 685-1730 to get started.