Baseline Change Control on Agile



Earned Value and Agile

By Ron Terbush

Lockheed Martin Corporation
Information Systems & Global Solutions

(Originally published October 2014, Updated for content March 2015)



A common concern voiced by agile practitioners and Earned Value Management (EVM) experts alike is that, since agile content is flexible, it is not a good match with the requirements of an Earned Value System that measures completion of defined requirements and requires control of changes to the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB).

But what does flexible content really mean?

On some agile contracts such as time and materials, the technical scope is truly flexible. The objective is to deliver as much customer prioritized content as possible in a budget and schedule constrained environment.   On these contracts, the customer is purchasing contractor hours vs. specific products. These contracts do not have defined deliverables in a SOW and are typically Level of Effort.

The majority of agile development contracts have established goals and objectives, and the customer has an expectation that they will get a set of system capabilities or functions based on what was negotiated. Customer established objectives are expected to change over time based on knowledge, need and priority, and the goal for agile EVM is to accommodate this expected change without impacting the PMB.   But any change to the PMB, which includes technical changes as well as cost & schedule must be controlled in some fashion. Both the customer and the contractor need to maintain a good faith relationship when negotiating issues of “scope” when responding to new knowledge and desired change.

The scope of work on an agile program is defined on the product backlog. The product backlog lists all the system capabilities and functions required by the customer. Those high level capabilities or major system functions are commonly defined as Epics. Epics are large and may span many months to years in duration, so they are decomposed into Features, a well-defined system function to be completed within a Release. Features have clearly defined and documented acceptance criteria. Each Feature is further broken down into units of work called User Stories, which also have well defined completion criteria…


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Editor’s note: The College of Performance Management (CPM) published a Compendium of articles on Earned Value and Agile based program management in The Measureable News in late 2014. The articles are now being republished in the PM World Journal, as agreed with CPM and the authors. For information about CPM, visit their website at https://www.mycpm.org/


About the Author

pmwj36-Jul2015-Terbush-PHOTORon Terbush

Lockheed Martin IS&GS



Ron Terbush is a Project Management and Planning Operations Principal for Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) with 30 years of experience in program finance, earned value management, planning and scheduling and financial management. Ron is a certified EVM subject matter expert for IS&GS and provides program guidance and support for EVM implementation for programs of all sizes and complexity levels. Ron’s role includes developing and delivering performance management training, writing policy, facilitating IS&GS performance management process improvement initiatives and support to programs on EVM implementation and execution. Ron is co-author of the IS&GS Earned Value Management Guidebook for Agile Programs.

Ron is a Lockheed Martin certified EVM professional and LM21 green belt. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.