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The joys and rewards of continuous learning in project management

Letter block spelling the word learning

Each week or so, I join a group of project management professionals on Twitter to debate a particular project management-related topic. Called #PMChat, the chat group is a great way for me to gather opinions from other project management practitioners and to get answers to questions which bother me.

I also get access to project management professionals with a huge variety of individual experiences, which is great for personal growth.

During a recent session on milestones, one of the contributors, @GreenChileAdict, raised earned value management and how it was directly applicable to our discussion.

While I’d heard about earned value management, I had no real understanding of how it works or how to use it. So, I did what most people do when faced with a topic they know little or nothing about and Googled the heck out of it.

I discovered earned value management is a fascinating technique used to measure a project’s progress and performance. If used properly, it can accurately forecast a project’s performance problems – who in project management wouldn’t want that?

But the real valuable lesson I learned from this exercise was not actually how cool earned value management is.

Recently, I’ve started feeling a bit jaded with the whole topic of project management.  I’ve found I’m less and less interested reading about it and often just skim articles and videos instead of enjoying them as I once did.

However, looking into earned value management, I regained my old vigour!  I realised what I’ve been missing was the thrill of learning. Reading about a topic I had no idea about, sparked ideas and concepts on how I could apply it to my every day work.

By continuously learning new things about a job I thought I knew inside out, I have become a better project professional, which makes me a better team member and leader.


  • June 8, 2018


    At this address https://evm.nasa.gov/handbooks.html you may download the NASA EVM Implementation Handbook (in MS Word): ‘NASA/SP-2018-599 Earned Value Management (EVM) Implementation Handbook (.docx)’. Its chapter 5 is dedicated to Lessons Learned and after a short overview it starts with subchapter ‘5.2 EVM Planning Begins at Project Formulation’ a concept few take into account as ‘project planning that will support EVM analysis and reporting is an iterative process beginning early in Formulation’. The subsequent chapters might give you some advanced answers to your raised questions.

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