Building a Credible Performance Measurement Baseline


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Establishing a credible Performance Measurement Baseline, with a risk adjusted Integrated Master Plan and Integrated Master Schedule, starts with the WBS and connects Technical Measures of progress to Earned Value

By Glen B. Alleman, Thomas J. Coonce, and Rick A. Pric



EIA-748-C asks us to “objectively assess accomplishments at the work performance level.” As well §3.8 of 748-C tells us “Earned Value is a direct measurement of the quantity of work accomplished. The quality and technical content of work performed is controlled by other processes.” [6]

Without connecting the technical and quality measures to Earned Value, CPI and SPI provide little in the way of assuring the delivered products will actually perform as needed. To provide visibility to integrated cost, schedule, and technical performance, we need more than CPI and SPI. We need measures of the increasing technical maturity of the project’s system elements in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers. Those units include Effectiveness, Performance, all the …”ilities”, and risk reduction.

Processes to Increase the Probability of Program Success

With the management processes in Table 1, the elements in Figure 1 are the basis of a credible Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) needed to increase the probability of program success using these elements.

Table 1 – Steps to building a risk adjusted Performance Measurement Baseline with Management Reserve. (OPEN FULL ARTICLE BELOW TO SEE TABLE) 

The Situation

We’re working ACAT1/ACAT2 programs for Department of Defense using JCIDS (Joint Capabilities and Development Systems) the governance guidance defined in DODI 5000.02.

The JCIDS Capabilities Based Planning paradigm tells us to define what Done looks like in units of Effectiveness and Performance, so we need to start by measuring progress toward delivered Capabilities. Requirements elicitation is part of the process, but programs shouldn’t start with requirements, but with an assessment of the Capabilities Gaps. While this approach may seem overly formal, the notion of defining what capabilities are needed for success is the basis of defining what Done looks like. We’ll use this definition, so we’ll recognize it when it arrives.

With the definition of Done, we can define the processes for incrementally assessing our system elements along the path to Done. Earned Value Management is one tool to perform these measurements of progress to plan. But like it says in EIA-748-C, Earned Value – left to itself – is a measure of quantity. We need measures of quality and other …ilities that describe the effectiveness and performance of the product to inform our Earned Value measures of the Estimate to Complete (ETC) and Estimate at Completion (EAC).

We need to integrate other measures with the Earned Value assessment process. We can start this by recognizing that the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP) is a measure of the efficacy of our dollar.

Earned Value is actually the measure of “earned budget.” Did we “earn” our planned budget? Did we get our money’s worth? We only know the answer if we measure “Value” in units other than money. This can be the effectiveness of the solution, the performance of the solution, the technical performance of the products, or the fulfillment of the mission. The maintainability, reliability, serviceability, and other …ilities are assessments of Value earned, not described by CPI and SPI from the simple calculation of BCWP.

The Imbalance

Without the connection between the technical plan and programmatic plan – cost and schedule – the program performance assessment cannot be credible. [3] Of course BCWP represents the Earned Value, but the Gold Card and other guidance don’t explicitly state how to calculate this number. BCWP is a variable without directions for its creation. BCWS and ACWP have clear direction on how to assign values to them, but not BCWP.

The common advice is to determine percent done and then multiply that with BCWS to produce BCWP. But what is the percent done of what outcome? What units of measure are used to calculate percent complete?

It’s this gap between just assigning a value to BCWP through Earned Value Techniques (EVT) and informing BCWP with tangible evidence of progress to plan, in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers, that is the goal of this paper.


To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: This article was contributed by the College of Performance Management (CPM), an international association for those engaged in earned value management, project cost and schedule control, program management and program/project performance management. For information about CPM, visit their website at https://www.mycpm.org/



 About the Authors


pmwj38-Sep2015-Alleman-PHOTOGlen B. Alleman



Glen B. Alleman leads the Program Planning and Controls practice for Niwot Ridge, LLC. In this position, Glen brings his 25 years’ experience in program management, systems engineering, software development, and general management to bear on problems of performance based program management. Mr. Alleman’s experience ranges from real time process control systems to product development management and Program Management in a variety of firms including Logicon, TRW, CH2M Hill, SM&A, and several consulting firms before joining Niwot Ridge, LLC. Mr. Alleman’s teaching experience includes university level courses in mathematics, physics, and computer science.


pmwj38-Sep2015-Alleman-PHOTO2 COONCEThomas J. Coonce



Thomas J. Coonce
is an Adjunct Research Staff Member with the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) where he researches Essential Views of the Integrated Program Management Report data to provide government stakeholders with a) insightful program status and b) indicators of problem areas. Prior to joining IDA, Mr. Coonce led NASA’s Cost Analysis Division where he shaped cost and schedule estimating policies and sponsored cost research work. Mr. Coonce also served within the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Cost Analysis Improvement Group (CAIG) where he developed independent estimates of MDAP programs.   While at the OSD CAIG, Mr. Coonce also led an effort to re-engineer the Contractor and Software Resources Data Reporting System and to make the data available to users. Prior to joining the OSD CAIG, Mr. Coonce served as a cost estimator for several consulting firms and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.


pmwj38-Sep2015-Alleman-PHOTO3 PRICERick A. Price



Rick A. Price has over 34 years of experience with Lockheed Martin in Aerospace and Defense across spacecraft, launch vehicle, missile, site activation, and test facility construction programs. Mr. Price has worked with the U.S. DoD, NASA, commercial, and international customers. His areas of expertise include program planning & scheduling, program management, EVM, subcontract management, IMP/IMS development, and major proposal efforts (proposal development, review teams, and subcontract source selection evaluations). Currently Mr. Price is a Project Management and Planning Operations Principal with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. Mr. Price’s current focus involves mentoring, coaching, and teaching program management fundamentals and techniques across Space Systems programs. Mr. Price has written numerous articles featured in in-house Lockheed Martin corporate and company publications.  Mr. Price speaks at PMI/CPM practice symposiums and the NASA PM Challenge.