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Top 10 Takeaways from the International Integrated Program Management Conference 2012 (IMPC)

December 23, 2012

The International IPMC 2012 took place from December 10 through 12 in Bethesda,  Maryland. Though the event was quickly rescheduled from its original dates, due to Super Storm Sandy, it went off without a hitch. This is a testament to the effort and dedication of everyone involved, from the organizers to the presenters, speakers and exhibitors.

I attended a few sessions and want to share some key takeaways. These takeaways are my personal read on important ideas from the sessions.

  1. Earned value is becoming the default language for all U.S. Government programs. It is how people can know the truth about program status. It is the best tool for understanding and managing programs.
  2. The techniques of EVM are easy to understand. The challenge, and opportunity, comes in the implementation and communication of EVM across the spectrum of stakeholders and team members.
  3. There is tremendous benefit for engineers to learn the language and techniques of Earned Value Management. This isn’t to train them to  become EVM analysts. Rather, it is so  everyone on the program  speaks the same language and expresses project progress in a common language. If a program is going to be steered and evaluated by EVM metrics, it is in everyone’s best interest to be fluent in EVM.
  4. The art of scheduling and planning are critical to an outstanding Earned Value Management System. There is an opportunity to  achieve excellence in scheduling. These means having a a detailed and linked schedule. This schedules serves as a starting point for all stakeholders, from leadership to engineers and contractors, to discuss the same “reality” on programs.
  5. Some of the most successful programs watched EVM down to level five on the WBS.
  6. EVM provides situational awareness on a project. It is not a look in the rear view mirror. It is a pro-active, decision making tool for managing projects and keeping things on track. Or, to get projects back on track if performance could use improvement. A Yellow indicator is an opportunity for course correction.
  7. Match EVM reporting to the business tempo.  Weekly meetings are recommended.  There is great value in in person meetings and site visits to understand a program.
  8. Leadership creates the demand for accurate data. Leadership sets the tone for paying attention to the data.
  9. There is an opportunity on every program to create an environment of trust among all stakeholders.  With respect to Defense projects, we are all on the same team, working towards the same goals.  Get the big things right when creating the baseline for a program.
  10. EVM training never stops.

The conference had great energy and fostered valuable discussions with EVM professionals.  To take a further look into the people involved, the knowledge shared, the tools discussed, and the training offered, check out the EVM Library and do a search for IPM 2012 (it is a check box on the far right of the search screen). There are 79 presentations from the conference available.

Next year’s IPM event is November 18 to 20, 2013 in Bethesda. If you can’t wait that long to get a deep dive into the presentations, training, research updates, policy discussions and professional networking that happen at these events, EVM World 2013 is May 29 to 31, 2013 in Naples, Florida.

Have a wonderful 2013.

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