Exact or Accounting Dates For Baseline Planning & Forecasting to Estimates to Complete – A Survey

by Humphreys & Associates on February 1, 2014

Exact or Accounting for Baseline ReviewThe EVMS Guidelines, and other guidance, are not specific as to whether exact dates must be used to demonstrate system integration between the Work Authorization Document (WAD), Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) and Control Account Plan (CAP), or whether the use of accounting month start and complete dates meets the spirit and intent of the EIA-748 requirement.

To determine the industry trend, a survey was conducted regarding which dates contractors are using in the authorization, schedule and cost systems.

Background 

Some organizations view the Work Authorization Document (WAD) as the most important EVMS related document in their business management system because it is absolute proof that technical/schedule/cost information comes together in one place. For that reason exact dates are placed on WADs so that charge numbers are not opened before their schedule requires them to be open.

Other organizations are not so precise. They merely enter the first day of the accounting month that an effort is scheduled to commence. Some customer review teams insist on exact dates or they cite noncompliance with EIA-748. Survey participants were asked which dates, exact or accounting month start and complete, are entered in the cost, schedule and work authorization documents to demonstrate system integration. Participants were also asked about exact dates versus accounting month dates for Estimates to Complete (ETC) forecasts, and whether Level of Effort (LOE) tasks were planned in the schedule to obtain full resource loading of their projects.

Results

Fifteen (15) contractors responded to the survey and the results are displayed in the table below.  For all 15, the IMS was populated with exact dates for the baseline and current forecast.

  • Eleven (11) contractors used exact dates in the WADs and cost tool baselines and forecasts, thus matching the IMS.
  • Three (3) contractors consistently used the accounting month start and complete dates for the WAD baseline and cost tool baseline and forecast dates.
  • One contractor (Contractor 4) populated the WADs with accounting month dates while exact dates were used in the schedule and cost tools.  This contractor indicated that the WADs are being changed to reflect exact actual dates to match the IMS and cost tool and that this was a resource consuming endeavor.

 Baseline Planning & Forecasting to Estimates to Complete

Conclusion

From comments received, the contractors surveyed which use exact dates believe doing so was necessary to demonstrate cost and schedule integration.  They also indicated that increased sophistication of cost and schedule tools has made using exact dates much easier than it may have been in the past.  Because most of the tools used are able to accommodate exact date integration, it is now recommended that wherever possible, those dates be used in the work authorization, schedule and cost systems.

It is also recommended that changing the WAD dates based on actual start and completion dates is not a logical use of resources in that the schedule and cost tools capture actual performance and the WAD is generally a document that represents the baseline.

For more information about utilizing exact or accounting dates for baseline planning and forecasting to ETC for your projects, call Humphrey’s & Associates today.

Humphreys & Associates 35+ years in the EVM community

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