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Time-Money Measures, is this realistic?

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

The most challenging question to all project controller is; How % Progress achieved, and how % Time elapsed.



Some of project parties , including the project business owners, may ask about how % Achieved and how % Time passed.

It is not that easy to answer them. Non-planners automatically comparing your answer to make their own analysis to the situation, even if you do not like it.


Professional Project's controller know that the % passed time not necessarily means an equal % achieved progress, and achieving greater number of %progress than % passed time does not guarantees achieving the project planned completion date. This concept is a real matter.

Why we should concern these two numbers?


A simple answer is that because the business owners or people such in most cases do not care about the deep details of the controlling numbers rather than 2 indicators about the time and the % progress, and it is important to provide a clear answers.


I do not 100% trust time-money measures to evaluate project performance. It may work in ideal cases, but who can own an ideal case to his project?

S-curve, which is built on a money-time measure, is misleading. Having this case shown in the graph, which must put a reader under great confusion.

First, you may find that 70% of the project time is passed by achieving 80% of the project, this info can give you a good impression of the project performance. However, your good feeling may fade away once you read that the project under about -3 million schedule Variance, and about 2.5 months delay.

Professional planners know that money-time measures can be manipulated by bringing some installations or material to the site which mostly add a decent value to the %Progress, but it fake the real progress of the project.


What is the problem?

The real issue behind this comparison is that project controller are depending on a cost loaded schedule to generate the S curve which provides the %Progress as a result of the earned value calculation. The cost loaded schedule mostly take the value of the items in the BOQ to distribute the cost against the time. This practice include that any over estimated item shall be taken as a progress percentage when this item being achieved, and sequentially it will add the same % progress to the project.

In addition to the above, it seems obvious that may one item with a high value in the BOQ ends up has less effort to be executed in the site, and here we miss an accurate measure to the performance.


I have many professionals who suggest many answers by separating the performance from the cost, and many others who advised to go deep into the controlling numbers to answer the questions. This advances are all great; however you still need to answer the question simply in two numbers; How much % achieved & How % Passed time?


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