Let’s consider a real-world example of using EVM to measure against a baseline to determine variance in an agile software development project.  The cost variance and schedule variance tells you whether your project is on-budget and on-time, which is a common question from most clients.  I will explain below how Earned Value Management is helpful in calculating the project cost variance and schedule variance and the parameters needed to calculate the variances.


When looking at the success rates of software development projects many are surprised to learn that the success rate is around 39% ,  18% fail and a whopping 43% are challenged according to the  “Chaos Manifesto 2013″ report published by The Standish Group.

Even though each project has its own unique set of reasons for failure, majority of the failures are related to three areas:

  • Poor budgeting
  • Lack of communication and transparency
  • Resistance to change

So how do we address these three areas that seem to contribute to the project failure?


As I work on agile software development projects with new clients, I am seeing firsthand just how important trust is to the success of the projects. Clients who have never engaged in an agile software development project are usually skeptical and leery about the whole business. They can’t see past doing business without a contract or control over the project. Since agile is more about engaging in an open and productive dialogue, building trust is key.


As a scrum master, I put a strong value on the Agile Manifesto’s first value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

Many development teams can do everything correctly, but if they don’t “know” the people on their development team, then they are not following Agile’s primary principle and will fail.