Emerging Trends in IPM

Posted by Megan Cacioppo on January 3, 2018

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Historically, Integrated Program Management (IPM) and Earned Value Management (EVM) were synonymous. However, today’s shifting environment for government contractors requires a new definition of IPM – one where EVM is actually a subset of IPM, when required.

Emerging Trends in IPM

Discover the changes coming in 2018 (and beyond)

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But before we get into greater detail on that front, let’s take a look at some of the environmental factors government contractors are facing today.

  • Funding uncertainty. Delayed awards, bid protests and shrinking agency budgets have been par for the course for the past few years, leading many contractors to experience slow growth and increased competition. 
  • Diversification. Speaking of competition, contractors are being forced to diversify into “hot,” commercial and international markets to drive new business. • Increased scrutiny. Contractors are seeing increased comparison of performance between their contracts, and between the contractors themselves. Government customers are also demanding a shorter time frame to generate positive results. 
  • EVM v. LPTA. There is a distinct conflict between investing in mature project management processes (i.e. EVM) and the increasing trend towards lowest price, technically acceptable. 
  • Agile Methodologies. Agile methodologies are firmly entrenched in government software development projects; however, a deep understanding of the methodologies and standards for Agile implementation are significantly lagging behind. 
  • The Rise of the Millennials. More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials. Millennials tend to be “plugged in” at all times and community-oriented – both of which are shifting the way project management has historically been done.

The “New” IPM

The truth is, the “new” IPM is still being defined. However, there are numerous groups like the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and College of Performance Management (CPM) that are helping to shape and build a consensus around the new definition. All of this is being driven by the factors above that have led to the need to integrate across traditional function domains like business development, systems engineering, finance and project management; the need to integrate the business systems that support these functional domains; and the need to enable the next generation of project management professionals with a desire for increased collaboration and real-time communication.

And while EVM was historically intended to solve these needs, it is falling short due to its reputation of being complex, its inability to be tailored for different project needs, and its 100% focus on compliance with practices driven by subjective interpretations.

The new IPM must be integrated, easy to implement and scalable, as well as able to support a roll up to the portfolio level vs. individual projects and programs. It must also support the next generation of Practitioners.

During a recent webcast, Dave Scott, Managing Director of Project Controls at BDO, dove into much greater detail on IPM vs. EVM and the shifting landscape for government contractors that is driving these “new” solutions. You can watch the on-demand webcast here.

How would you define the new IPM?