What Does it Mean When Somebody Says “We use EVM Lite” – Part 1

by Humphreys & Associates on May 17, 2013 last modified November 3, 2017

Here is why Humphreys & Associates takes an interest in this approach to Earned Value Management.

Earned Value Management (EVM) “lite” or EV Lite is a hot topic because people recognize that budgets versus actual costs are not meaningful enough for assessing true project technical/schedule/cost status. An awareness exists that there is a significant advantage to using Earned Value (EV) measurement to manage projects.

The EVM Lite approach is common for Independent Research and Development and Firm Fixed Price (FFP) projects. Therefore, it is important to understand what this term means.

EVM Lite is a title that could mean a combination of any of the following:

  • Relaxation of the level of detail (fewer control accounts of larger size, fewer work packages of larger size with less milestones/technical achievement points and  more dependence on subjective earned value techniques )
  • Less rigor in approvals for Work Authorization Documents (WAD) and Budget Change Requests (BCR)
  • Less rigor in Rolling Wave Planning and enforcement of the freeze period
  • Less rigor in the variance analysis process, including looser variance thresholds
  • Compliance with only the 16 “critical” American National Standards Institute, EIA-748 Guidelines
  • Earned Value Management System (EVMS) not subject to third party verification
  • Less detail in the EVM System Description (fewer examples, no “live” data examples)
  • EVMS Cross Reference Checklist only at the Guideline level

EVM Lite implies an EVMS with relaxed requirements or a less rigorous approach that still meets the spirit and intent of the EIA-748 Guidelines. But it is important to note that none of the descriptions of EVM Lite above would pass muster in a DCMA review to determine whether a contractor’s EVMS complies with the EIA-748 Guidelines and cannot be used in that event.

If a contract mandates the use of an EVMS then EVM Lite is not an option. It is important to us our customers know this. However, if your contract does not mandate the use of EVM, then EVM Lite might be a viable option to pursue if management desires insight into their programs.

Part 2 to follow – Tailoring Approaches to EVM Lite 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Smrha June 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I’m working with a team to develop EVMS Lite criteria for application on non-government engineering/construction projects and would be interested in your take on what you consider to be the 16 “critical” ANSI guidelines.


Humphreys & Associates July 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Jim – feel free to call the office and speak with Chris Humphreys. 714-685-1730


Haley Cons May 22, 2014 at 10:32 am

This article was very helpful. Thank you.


Michelle S September 16, 2021 at 10:43 am

What are the 16 “critical” ANSI guidelines?


Humphreys & Associates November 1, 2021 at 12:14 pm


Here is more information on The 16 Foundational EVM Guidelines. Is that what you are looking for?


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