|EVM Glossary of Terms
Refer to this list for definitions of essential earned value management
terms submitted by Project Controls practitioners from around the world.
Index: A-E | F-L | M-Q | R-Z
- A -
The formal process of accepting delivery of a product or a deliverable.
The smallest self-contained unit of work used to define the logic of a project.
In general, activities share the following characteristics: a definite duration,
logic relationships to other activities in a project, use resources such as people,
materials or facilities, and have an associated cost.
Identifying the specific activities that must be performed in order to produce project
Activity duration specifies the length of time (hours, days, weeks, months) that
it takes to complete an activity. This information is optional in the data entry
of an activity. Work flow (predecessor relationships) can be defined before durations
are assigned. Activities with zero durations are considered milestones (milestone
value of 1 to 94) or hammocks (milestone value of 95 to 99).
Activity Duration Estimating
Estimating the number of work periods that will be needed to complete the activity.
A file containing all data related to the definition of activities on a particular
A unique code identifying each activity in a project.
A network where activities are represented by a box or a node linked by dependencies.
See also Precedence Diagram Method.
The state of completion of an activity. A planned activity has not yet started.
A started activity is in progress. A finished activity is complete.
The cost actually incurred.
Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)
The sum of costs actually incurred in accomplishing the work performed.
Actual Direct Costs
Those costs specifically identified with a contract or project, based upon the contractor’s
cost identification and accumulation system. See also Direct Costs.
Actual dates are entered as the project progresses. These are the dates that activities
really started and finished as opposed to planned or projected dates.
Date on which an activity was completed.
Date on which an activity was started.
See Actual Cost of Work Performed.
Non-hierarchical project that uses the arrow-diagramming method.
Advanced Material Release (AMR)
A document used by organizations to initiate the purchase of long-lead-time or time-critical
materials prior to the final release of a design.
See Resource Allocation.
A resource that may be substituted as the requirement for an activity if the requested
resource is not available.
Approval to Proceed
Approval by the project board at initiation or prior to the beginning of the next
A function of some computer programs that allows versions of a plan to be archived.
Arrow Diagram Method (ADM)
One of two conventions used to represent an activity in a project. Also known as
Activity-on-Arrow or i/j method.
An activity for which the application sets the early dates as late as possible without
delaying the early dates of any successor.
An activity for which the application sets the early dates to be as soon as possible.
This is the default activity type in most project management systems.
Statements taken for granted or truth.
Authorized Unpriced Work (AUW)
Any scope changed for which authorization to proceed has been given, but for which
the estimated costs are not yet settled.
The effort which has been defined, plus that work for which authorization has been
given, but for which defined contract costs have not been agreed upon.
- B -
A procedure within time analysis to calculate the late start and late finish dates
of all activities in a project.
An organizational matrix where functions and projects have the same priority.
A view of project data that uses horizontal bars on a time scale to depict activity
information. Frequently called a Gantt chart.
A copy of the project schedule for a particular time (usually before the project
is started) that can be used for comparison with the current schedule.
Original planned start and finished dates for an activity. Used to compare with
current planned dates to determine any delays. Also used to calculate budgeted cost
of work scheduled for earned-valued analysis.
A customer review conducted to determine with a limited sampling that a contractor
is continuing to use the previously accepted performance system and is properly
implementing a baseline on the contract or option under review.
The baseline schedule is a fixed project schedule. It is the standard by which project
performance is measured. The current schedule is copied into the baseline.
Operations performed by the computer without the need for any user intervention.
Budget Cost of Work Performed.
Budget Cost of Work Scheduled.
The enhanced efficiency, economy and effectiveness of future business operations
to be delivered by a program.
An outline of the expected benefits of the program, the business operations affected
and current and target performance measures.
Combined with program management, Benefits Management is the process for planning,
managing, delivering and measuring the program benefits.
Benefits Management Plan
Specifies who is responsible for achieving the benefits set out in the benefit profiles
and how achievement of the benefits is to be measured, managed and monitored. The
Benefits Management Plan is part of the program definition.
Located in the program definition, the Benefits Profiles describe the planned benefits
to be realized by the program. The benefits profile also states where, when and
how they are to be realized.
Bottom Up Cost Estimating
This is the method of making estimates for every activity in the work breakdown
structure and summarizing them to provide a total project cost estimate.
The unstructured generation of ideas by a group of people.
A hierarchical structure by which project elements are broken down, or decomposed.
See also Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
The planned cost for an activity or project.
The cost anticipated at the start of a project.
Budget at Completion (BAC)
The sum total of the time-phased budget.
Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP)
A measure used in earned value management system that allows you to quantify the
overall progress of the project in monetary terms. BCWP is calculated by applying
a performance measurement factor to the planned cost. (By comparing BCWP with ACWP,
it is possible to determine if the project is under or over budget.) Another term
for BCWP is "earned value."
Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS)
The sum of the budgets for all planned work scheduled to be accomplished within
a given time period. This term is often used to designate the cumulative to-date
Budget elements are the same as resources -- the people, materials, or other entities
needed to do the work of the program. For example, Engineer, Technician, Travel,
and Pipe can all be budget elements. These budget elements can be validated against
a Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). Budget elements are typically assigned to
a work package, but can also be defined at the cost account level.
Time phased financial requirements.
The budget unit is the base unit for the calculation. For example, the Engineer
budget element might have a budget unit of hours. Since budget units are user defined,
they can be any appropriate unit of measure. For example, a budget unit might be
hours, dollars, linear feet, or tons.
Overhead expenses distributed over appropriate direct labor and/or material base.
Ensuring that actual costs and elapsed time is in line with plan costs and schedule
times and that the business case remains available.
Business Assurance Coordinator
A person in the project assurance team who is responsible for planning, monitoring
and reporting on all business assurance aspects of a project.
A document used to justify the commitment of resources to a project.
- C -
The Critical Path Method (Calculate Schedule) is a modeling process that defines
all the project's critical activities which must be completed on time. The Calc
tool bar button on the Gantt and PERT (found in most GUI-based PM software) windows
calculates the start and finish dates of activities in the project in two passes.
The first pass calculates early start and finish dates from the earliest start date
forward. The second pass calculates the late start and finish activities from the
latest finish date backwards. The difference between the pairs of start and finish
dates for each task is the float or slack time for the task (see FLOAT). Slack is
the amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the project completion
date. A great advantage of this method is the fine-tuning that can be done to accelerate
the project. Shorten various critical path activities, then check the schedule to
see how it is affected by the changes. By experimenting in this manner, the optimal
project schedule can be determined.
A file containing calendar information for one or more calendars.
A project calendar lists time intervals in which activities or resources can or
cannot be scheduled. A project usually has one default calendar for the normal work
week (Monday through Friday for example), but may have other calendars as well.
Each calendar can be customized with its own holidays and extra work days. Resources
and activities can be attached to any of the calendars that are defined.
A breakdown of the project budget. Case numbers can be subdivided only twice to
produce three levels: Case, Sub-Case, and Sub-Sub-Case.
Change Control Board (CCB)
A formally constituted group of stakeholders responsible for approving or rejecting
changes to the project baselines.
Change in Scope
See Scope Change.
Change requests may arise through changes in the business or issues in the project.
Change requests should be logged, assessed and agreed on before a commitment to
the project can be made. Changes may be needed to the scope, design, methods or
planned aspects of a project.
Chart of Accounts
Any numbering system, usually based on corporate chart of accounts of the primary
performing organization, used to monitor project costs by category.
A lower-level element in a hierarchical structure.
List of prioritized project work areas for a given case number and fiscal year as
part of a Dept. of Energy (DOE) Defense programs (DP) Sector Project Data Document
The completion of work on a project.
A file used in reporting that contains information associated with codes entered
on an activity record.
A binding financial obligation typically in the form of a purchase order. If commitments
are entered as a budget, a forecast using the method Retain EAC can show the open
Costs that will still be incurred even if the project is terminated.
The transmission of information so that the recipient understands what the sender
Determining project stakeholders’ communication and information needs.
The date calculated by which the project could finish following careful estimating.
A risk made up of a number of inter-related risks.
The systematic approach to the simultaneous, integrated design of products and their
related processes, such as manufacturing, testing and supporting.
The technical description needed to build, test, accept, operate install, maintain
and support a system.
A part a of configuration that has a set function and is designated for configuration
Responsible for administering configuration management. The configuration librarian
may be on a project team or have system responsibilities rather than project responsibilities.
The process of defining the configuration items in a system, controlling the release
and change of those items throughout the project, recording and reporting the status
of configuration items, and verifying the completeness of configuration items.
The ability to manage conflict effectively.
Applicable restrictions that will affect the scope of the project.
A type of resource that remains available until consumed (for example, a material).
A Contingency is the planned allotment of time and cost for unforeseeable elements
with a project. Including contingencies will increase the confidence of the overall
The development of a management plan that uses alternative strategies to ensure
project success if specified risk events occur.
A mutually binding agreement in which the contractor is obligated to provide services
or products and the buyer is obligated to provide payment for them. Contracts fall
into three categories: fixed price, cost reimbursable or unit price.
Contract Budget Base
The negotiated contract cost value plus the estimated value of authorized but unpriced
Settlement of a contract.
Contract Target Cost (CTC)
The negotiated costs for the original definitized contract and all contractual changes
that have been definitized, but excluding the estimated cost of any authorized,
unpriced changes. The CTC equals the value of the BAC plus management or contingency
Contract Target Price (CTP)
The negotiated estimated costs plus profit or fee.
Contract Work Breakdown Structure (CWBS)
A customer-prepared breakout or subdivision of a project typically down to level
three which subdivides the project into all its major hardware, software, and service
elements, integrates the customer and contractor effort, provides a framework for
the planning, control, and reporting.
Control and Coordination
Control is the process of developing targets and plans; measuring actual performance
and comparing it against planned performance and taking the steps to correct the
situation. Coordination is the act of ensuring that work is being carried out in
different organizations and places to fit together effectively in time, content
and cost in order to achieve the project objectives effectively.
Control charts display the results, over time, of a process. They are used to determine
if the process is in need of adjustment.
Control is the process of comparing actual performance with planned performance,
analyzing the differences, and taking the appropriate corrective action.
The early dates of an activity is controlled either by a target date on the activity
or, more normally, by one of the predecessor relationships. In the latter case,
the relationship is called the controlling relationship.
An organizational structure where the project leader reports to the functional manager
and doesn’t have authority over team members from other departments.
Changes made to bring future project performance into the plan.
Cost can be divided into internal and external expenses. External costs can be controlled
by contracts and budgets for each phase of a project and for each deliverable or
work product. Internal cost is the cost of project resources.
A cost account is usually defined as the intersection of the program's work breakdown
structure (WBS) and organizational breakdown structure (OBS). In effect, each cost
account defines what work is to be performed and who will perform it. Cost accounts
are the focal point for the integration of scope, cost, and schedule. Another term
for Cost Account is Control Account.
Cost Account Manager (CAM)
A member of a functional organization responsible for cost account performance,
and for the management of resources to accomplish such tasks.
Cost Account Plan (CAP)
The management control unit in which earned value performance measurement takes
Cost Benefit Analysis
The analysis of the potential costs and benefits of a project to allow comparison
of the returns from alternative forms of investment.
Cost Breakdown Structure
A hierarchical structure that rolls budgeted resources into elements of costs, typically
labor, materials and other direct costs.
Allocating cost estimates to individual project components.
Code assigned to activities that allow costs to be consolidated according to the
elements of a code structure.
Cost Control Point
The point within a program at which costs are entered and controlled. Frequently,
the cost control point for a program is either the cost account or the work package.
Cost Control System
Any system of keeping costs within the bounds of budgets or standards based upon
work actually performed. Cost Control is typically a level in the budget element
A graph plotted against a horizontal time scale and cumulative cost vertical scale.
A unit of costs to perform a task or to acquire an item. The cost estimated may
be a single value or a range of values.
The process of predicting the costs of a project.
Costs identified through the use of the accrued method of accounting or costs actually
paid. Costs include direct labor, direct materials, and all allowable indirect costs.
The effective financial control of the project through evaluating, estimating, budgeting,
monitoring, analyzing, forecasting and reporting the cost information.
Cost of Money
A form of indirect cost incurred by investing capital in facilities employed on
Cost of Quality
The cost of quality planning, control, assurance and rework.
The amount by which a contractor exceeds or expects to exceed the estimated costs,
and/or the final limitations (the ceiling) of a contract.
Cost Performance Report (CPR)
A monthly cost report generated by the performing contractor to reflect cost and
schedule status information for management.
Cost Plus Fixed Fee Contract (CPFF)
A type of contract where the buyer reimburses the seller for the seller’s allowable
costs plus a fixed fee.
Cost Plus Incentive Fee Contract (CPIFC)
A type of Contract where the buyer reimburses the seller for the seller's allowable
costs and the seller earnes a profit if defined criteria are met.
Cost Reimbursement Type Contracts
A category of contracts based on payments to a contractor for allowable estimated
costs, normally requiring only a "best efforts" performance standard from
the contractor. Risk for all growth over the estimated value rests with the project
Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria (C/SCSC)
Thiry-five defined standards which have been applied against private contractor
management control systems since 1967 in order to insure the government that cost
reimbursable and incentive type contracts are managed properly.
Cost/Schedule Planning and Control Specification (C/SPCS)
The United States Air Force inititative in the mid-1960's which later resulted in
Cost Schedule Status Report (C/SSR)
The low-end cost and schedule report generally imposed on smaller value contracts,
not warranting full C/SCSC.
Cost Performance Index (CPI)
Ratio of work accomplished versus work cost incurred for a specified time period.
The CPI is an efficiency rating for work accomplished for resources expended.
The difference between the budgeted and actual cost of work performed.
The process of reducing the time it takes to complete an activity by adding resources.
An activity is termed critical when it has zero or negative float.
Used in risk analysis, the criticality index represents the percentage of simulation
trails that resulted in the activity being placed on the critical path.
Series of consecutive activities that represent the longest path through the project.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
A technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which sequence of activities
has the least amount of scheduling flexibility. Early dates are figured by a forward
pass using a specific start date and late dates are figured by using a backward
starting from a completion date.
See Cost/Schedule Control Systems.
See Cost/Schedule Control System Criteria.
Any person who defines needs or wants, justifies or pays for part or the entire
project, or evaluates or uses the results.
The ending date in a reporting period.
See cost variance.
- D -
An activity or network which has either no predecessors or no successors. If neither,
referred to as an isolated activity.
The characteristic indicating whether a data item represents a number, date, character
In resource scheduling, inadequate availability of one or more resources may require
that the completion of an activity be delayed beyond the date on which it could
otherwise be completed. The delaying resource is the first resource on an activity
that causes the activity to be delayed.
The process by which authority and responsibility is distributed from Project Manager
A report or product that must be completed and delivered to ensure satisfaction
of contractual requirements.
A process where a consensus view is reached by consultation with experts. Often
used as an estimating technique.
Dependencies are relationships between products or tasks. For example, one product
may be made up of several other ‘dependent’ products or a task may not
begin until a ‘dependent’ task is complete. See also logical relationship.
Different types of links connecting activities in a precedence network.
Design and Development Phase
The time period in which production process and facility and production processes
are developed and designed.
See Detailed Resource Plan and Detailed Technical Plan.
Detailed Resource Plan
A plan implemented when it’s necessary to plan and control a certain major
activity within a stage. The plan sets costs and resource usage that correspond
to the detailed technical plan.
Detailed Technical Plan
A plan used to give a specific breakdown of major activities. It exists in all but
the smallest projects.
A network with no facilities to accommodate probabilistic dependencies. Precedence
networks are said to be deterministic.
Those costs (labor, material, and other direct costs) that can be consistently related
to work performed on a particular project. Direct costs are best contrasted with
indirect costs that cannot be identified to a specific project.
An activity in which the interval between the start and finish dates is allowed
to exceed its duration in order to satisfy start-to-start and finish-to-finish relationships
with other activities.
This option assigns the discontinuous attribute to all activities for a time analysis
session, except where overridden by a specific activity type.
Tasks that have a specific measurable end product or end result. Discrete tasks
are ideal for earned value measurement. See Work Package.
A milestone that has a definite scheduled occurrence in time.
Duration is the length of time needed to complete an activity.
Often resulting in an increase in cost, duration compression is the shortening of
a project schedule without reducing the project scope.
- E -
See Estimate At Completion.
Earliest Feasible Date
The earliest date on which the activity could be scheduled to start based on the
scheduled dates of all its predecessors, but in the absence of any resource constraints
on the activity itself. This date is calculated by resource scheduling.
Calculated in the forward pass of time analysis, early dates are the earliest dates
on which an activity can start and finish.
The Early Finish date is defined as the earliest calculated date on which an activity
can end. It is based on the activity's Early Start which depends on the finish of
predecessor activities and the activity's duration. (See EARLY START) Most PM software
calculates early dates with a forward pass from the beginning of the project to
The Early Start date is defined as the earliest calculated date on which an activity
can begin. It is dependent on when all predecessor activities finish. Most PM software
calculates early dates with a forward pass from the beginning of the project to
The time in standard hours credited as a result of the completion of a given task
or a group of tasks.
A cost control that allows you to quantify the overall progress of the project in
monetary terms. Earned value is calculated by applying a performance measurement
factor to the planned cost. Another term for earned value is Budget Cost of Work
Earned Value Analysis
Analysis of project progress where the actual money budgeted and spent is compared
to the value of the work achieved.
Earned Value Cost Control
The quantification of the overall progress of a project in dollar terms so as to
provide a realistic yardstick against which to compare the actual cost to date.
Earned Value Management
A management technique that relates resource planning to schedules and to technical
cost and schedule requirements. All work is planned, budgeted, and scheduled in
time-phased increments constituting a cost and schedule measurement baseline.
The number of labor units necessary to complete the work. Effort is usually expressed
in staffhours, staffdays or staffweeks and should not be confused with duration.
An effort-driven activity provides the option to determine activity duration through
resource usage. The resource requiring the greatest time to complete the specified
amount of work on the activity will determine its duration.
The estimate of effort remaining to complete an activity.
Elapsed time is the total number of calendar days (excluding non-work days such
as weekends or holidays) that is needed to complete an activity. It gives a "real
world view" of how long an activity is scheduled to take for completion.
An activity with no logical successors.
Engineering Cost Estimate
A detailed cost estimate of the work and related burdens, usually made by industrial
engineering or price/cost estimating. Another term for Engineering Cost Estimate
is Bottom-up Cost Estimate.
Across an entire sector of technology, business area, etc.
The prediction of the quantitative result. It is usually applied to project costs,
resources and durations.
Estimate At Completion (EAC)
A value expressed in either dollars and /or hours, to represent the projected final
costs of work when completed. The EAC is calculated as ETC + ACWP.
Estimate To Complete (ETC)
The value expressed in either dollars or hours developed to represent the cost of
the work required to complete a task. Cobra calculates the ETC by subtracting the
budgeted cost of work performed from the budget at complete. The ETC is calculated
as BAC - BCWP.
The act of combining the results of post project reviews, metrics, consultation
and informed assessment to arrive at time and resource requirements for an activity.
See Estimate to Complete.
A point that is the beginning or end of an activity and identified by the I-node
or J-node respectively.
Those items that exceed the pre-defined acceptable cost and/or schedule variance.
Expected Monetary Value
A measure of probabilistic value. The EMV is calculated by multiplying each outcome
value by its probability and adding all of the results together. It can be calculated
using a formula shown here.
A charge against available funds, evidenced by a voucher, claim, or other documents.
Expenditures represent the actual payment of funds.
Extended Subsequent Applications Review (ESAR)
A formal review performed in lieu of a full C/SCSC demonstration review, when contractor
conditions have changed or when programs change
An external constraint on a project could be any factor that affects the ability
to complete the project on time, on budget, or on scope.