ISO 21508:2018 Earned Value Management System (EVMS)


ISO Standard Overview

This ISO 21508:2018 - Earned Value Management System (EVMS) standard provides:

a) Terms and definitions; 

b) Descriptions of the purpose and benefits of earned value management; 

c) The integration and relationship with project or program management; 

d) An overview of the processes and process descriptions; 

e) Basic requirements for an earned value management system; and 

f) Use of an earned value management system (EVMS). 

However, it does not provide guidance on the use of specific processes, methods or tools in the practice of an EVMS. 

The annexes describe examples of: 

a) Cost, 

b) Schedule and performance analysis, 

c) Commonly used formulas with associated interpretations, and 

d) The integration of earned value with other project or program management processes.


It is applicable to any type of organization including public or private and any size or sector, as well as any type of project or program in terms of complexity, size or duration. 

What about ANSI/EIA-748? Wait! In 2013 it changed to just EIA-748.

Background on 748:

2007: EIA announced that it would be devolved into its constituent sectors, one of which was the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA). With the dissolution of EIA the standards were to be managed by their respective sectors.

2008: GEIA merged with the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), and the new organization changed its name to TechAmerica in 2009.

2013: TechAmerica sold their standards program to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International. It was at this time that ANSI dropped the EIA-748 standard.

May 1998: The first American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard for Earned Value Management Systems approved through the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), an ANSI partner focused on standards for electronic components. The standard was drafted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Program Management Systems Committee (PMSC) and released as ANSI/EIA-748-1998.

Currently, ANSI has no definitive standard for EVMS.

What About ISO 21508?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently published ISO 21508:2018 Earned Value Management in Project and Program Management.The ISO standard describes the 11 process steps required to implement EVMS.

Organizations, by implementing ISO 21508:2018, can receive their ISO registration certificate from an accredited certification body such as International Auditors Inc.

Where Does That Leave Us?

There are two active EVMS standards today which could be relevant to practitioners in the United States:

EIA748D, and ISO 21508:2018.

EIA-748 is maintained by the NDIA IPMD on behalf of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and this standard is the one that is referred to by both the FAR and the DFARS.

ISO 21508:2018 is maintained by ISO Technical Committee 258. 

If your organization has a requirement for EVMS certification, currently ISO is the best route.

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