Series on Earned Value Management: Agile & EVM: Expert Knowledge from EVM World


By Shobha Mahabir



A practice symposium track titled “AGILE+EVM” was presented at EVM World 2013. The interest in the subject was evident by the large number of attendees, at some times >20% of the conference attendees. The track would not have been possible without the support of our presenters and their employers.

Scott Dalessio, Grant Thornton

Joy L. Villagomez, Lockheed Martin

Josh Breen. Grant Thornton

Glen Alleman, PrimePM

Pete Zafros, Grant Thornton

Ron Terbush, Lockheed Martin

This article summarizes the six presentations within the track.


Earned Value Management has traditionally been applied to the waterfall type of development with fixed scope and fixed technical requirements. The Agile methodology continuously analyzes both the scope and technical requirements to keep pace with the customer’s evolving environment.  With Agile, the cost and schedule are fixed; therefore the customer gets the most value achievable at a known cost and on a predetermined date.

Introduction to Agile & Scrum

Agile is an alternative to the traditional and waterfall project management methodologies. The term Agile was introduced in the Agile Manifesto of 2001. Agile is based on iterative development used primarily in software development. It focuses on adaptive planning and evolutionary development that is rapid and flexible. The Agile methodology is value – and vision – driven, and it has iterative cycles. It involves poly-skilled teams which foster communication and make sure that they have the required documentation for a project. Similarly, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) focuses on “modular development”, which is referenced in OMB guidance on Contracting Guidance to Support Modular Development.

Some aspects of using Agile that need to be understood include:

  • Agile is NOT a silver bullet for software development problems
  • Agile does not mean no planning, processes, or documentation
  • Agile is not appropriate for every type of project

As Scott Dalessio, a presenter at EVM World 2013, stated, “Agile is a silver mirror not silver bullet.” Zac Gery explains this as the foundation of Agile does not solve problems; it helps identify potential obstacles. All decisions whether good or bad are reflected using the methodology. Agile is not appropriate for every type of project. It is adaptive and flexible; however, you need to determine what makes sense for the team.

The results of the 7th Annual State of Agile Development Survey showed that Scrum was used by over 50% of respondents; it is the most widely adopted agile method. Scrum is an iterative and incremental project delivery framework that relies on organized, self-managing, and cross-functional teams. The Scrum roles include the product owner, the Scrum Master, and the team. The Scrum lifecycle is depicted in Figure 1 below.

More (including footnotes and references)…

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Editor’s note: This series of articles, some previously published in The Measurable News, is provided by the College of Performance Management (CPM), the world’s leading professional organization devoted to integrated project and program performance management.  More information about CPM can be found at www.mycpm.org.

About the Author

Shobha Mahabir flag-usa


Shobha Mahabir is a consultant with PwC one of the top consulting firms in the USA. She served as a volunteer at EVM World 2013. Ms. Mahabir holds a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park and a MS in Information Systems Technology from the George Washington University. Ms. Mahabir is a Certified Project Management Professional and Earned Value Professional, and holds certifications in ITIL Foundations and Intermediate. She has contributed on the development of the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide. Ms. Mahabir has comprehensive experience in technical and project management, possessing more than 15 years of combined IT and project management related work experience. Her experience includes earned value management, capital planning and investment control, scheduling, cost estimating and budgeting, resource planning, project management, contract administration, and design, operation, and maintenance of databases. Ms. Mahabir has also implemented and delivered EVM on multiple large federal IT programs.