Earned Schedule Contribution to Project Management

Walt Lipke

PMI® Oklahoma City Chapter



First introduced in 2003, Earned Schedule (ES) is a schedule analysis method extending the benefits of Earned Value Management. Presently, the ES method is used globally for all types and sizes of projects. It is being taught in universities, is now included in project management textbooks as well as the PMIÒ Practice Standard for Earned Value Management, and is a topic of graduate level research. This paper discusses its beginnings and the evolution of the techniques and capabilities occurring over the last decade. ES is shown to be useful to project managers for analysis and control of schedule performance.


Earned Value Management (EVM) is a management system, integrating in a very intriguing way, cost …schedule …and technical performance. It is a system, however, that causes difficulty to those just being introduced to its concepts. EVM measures schedule performance not in units of time, but rather in cost, i.e. dollars. After overcoming this mental obstacle, we later discover another quirk of EVM – at the completion of a late performing project, schedule variance (SV) is equal to zero and the schedule performance index (SPI) equals unity. We know the project completed late, yet the indicator values say the project has had perfect schedule performance! A senior executive receiving the project performance report, minimally knowledgeable of EVM, cannot understand why he has an angry customer exclaiming, “Your product delivery is late!”

This paper will first provide a brief introduction to EVM to show the reason for its failure to provide good schedule analysis information. With the need for Earned Schedule (ES) established, the derivation of the ES measure is described. From this initial discussion, the schedule performance indicators are developed. Having the indicators then leads to several analysis techniques long believed not to be possible from EVM. ES is the bridge between EVM and the project schedule.


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About the Author

Walt Lipke


Walt Lipke retired in 2005 as deputy chief of the Software Division at Tinker Air Force Base. He has over 35 years of experience in the development, maintenance, and management of software for automated testing of avionics. During his tenure, the division achieved several software process improvement milestones, including the coveted SEI/IEEE award for Software Process Achievement. Mr. Lipke has published several articles and presented at conferences, internationally, on the benefits of software process improvement and the application of earned value management and statistical methods to software projects. He is the creator of the technique Earned Schedule, which extracts schedule information from earned value data. Mr. Lipke is a graduate of the USA DoD course for Program Managers. He is a professional engineer with a master’s degree in physics, and is a member of the physics honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma (SPS). Lipke achieved distinguished academic honors with the selection to Phi Kappa Phi (FKF). During 2007 Mr. Lipke received the PMI Metrics Specific Interest Group Scholar Award. Also in 2007, he received the PMI Eric Jenett Award for Project Management Excellence for his leadership role and contribution to project management resulting from his creation of the Earned Schedule method. Mr. Lipke was selected for the 2010 Who’s Who in the World.  He can be contacted at [email protected].