How To Calculate Schedule Variance with Examples

Schedule variance is a measure of how much a project’s actual progress deviates from its expected progress. It is a measure of schedule performance and is often used in conjunction with cost variance and cost performance index. A key element to tracking the progress of a project is schedule variance, which is the difference between the planned schedule and the actual schedule.

Schedule variance can have a major impact on the success of a project, so it is important to understand how it works and how to avoid it. Schedule variance is a useful metric for project managers as it provides a quick way to gauge whether a project is on track or not. It can also be used to identify potential problems early on in the project.

Schedule Variance Definition
Schedule Variance Definition

Schedule Variance in Agile

There are many factors that can contribute to schedule variance in project management, particularly during agile by using the sprint effort variance. For example, if the team overestimates the amount of work that can be completed in a sprint, this can lead to a situation where they are unable to complete all of the work assigned to them. 

Alternatively, if the team underestimates the amount of work, they may be able to complete the sprint but at the cost of delayed deliverables.

There are a number of ways to mitigate schedule variance, such as keeping a close eye on the capacity of the team and adjusting the sprint goals accordingly. In addition, it is important to have clear communication with the team so that everyone is aware of the sprint goals and the potential for schedule variance

It can be expressed by:

Sprint Effort Variance = (Estimation Hours – Spent Hours).

How to Calculate Schedule Variance

Schedule variance is a measure of how much a project’s actual schedule performance deviates from the planned schedule performance. The Schedule Variance is the difference between the earned value and the planned value.

Calculate the Completion Percentage of each task

Each task would of being defined and estimated in the work breakdown structure. Each task should be reviewed to determine the percentage complete and aggregated to determine the amount of work still to do and completed.

Calculate the Earned Value (EV)

Earned Value refers to the completed work. It is often referred to as the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP). It is calculated using the project’s budget.

EV = Actual percentage of completion * Budget at completion (BAC)

Calculate the Planned Value (PV)

Planned value is the work to be completed in the given time. Per PMBOK, PV is the budgeted cost for the work scheduled to be done.

Planned Value = (Planned % Complete) X (BAC)

Calculate the Schedule Variance (SV)

Schedule Variance Formula

Schedule Variance Formula
SV = EV-PV

where:
SV = schedule variance
EV = earned value
PV = planned value

Tools:

  • Earned Value (EV) from Project Schedule
  • Planned Value (PV) from Project Budget

Calculate Schedule Variance Example

SPI Example – Imagine this, you are a project manager whose budget is $40,000 for a new computer program in the Software Development Company you work for. As time goes by,  20% of the work is completed, but it is against your 35% initial plan and you have spent $25,000 already.

Project Budget = $40,000

Earned Value (EV) = 20% of $ 40,000 = $8000

Planned Value (PV) = 35% of $ 40,000 = $14,000

Schedule Variance (SV) = 8000 – 14000

Therefore, The Schedule Variance (SV) = – $6000

And negative schedule variance means that the project is behind schedule.

Best practices when Calculating your SV

Here are some best practices that should be followed in order to ensure accuracy and consistency in the results. Some of the best practices for calculating SV include:

  • Use the same time units for all calculations
  • Use the same start and end dates for all calculations
  • Use the same project calendar for all calculations

Positive vs Negative Schedule variance

Schedule variance can be either positive or negative. A positive SV indicates that the project is ahead of schedule, while a negative SV means the project is behind schedule.

There are a number of factors that can cause a project to have a positive or negative SV.

One of the most common causes of a negative SV is scope creep, which is when the scope of a project begins to expand beyond the original scope.
This can happen for a number of reasons, such as changes in the requirements of the project or unforeseen circumstances.

Now, when a positive SV means the project is ahead of schedule, it can be caused by many factors, such as changes in the scope of the project, changes in the schedule, changes in the resources, or changes in the environment.

SV can also be caused by external factors, such as weather or because of political instability.

Schedule Variance percentage

SV percentage is a key metric for project managers to track. It can help them understand how far off schedule a project is and how likely it is to be completed on time. The schedule variance percentage is calculated by taking the difference between the planned and actual completion dates and then dividing it by the planned completion date.

For example, if a project was originally scheduled to be completed in 10 days but is actually completed in 12 days, the schedule variance percentage would be 20%. The schedule variance percentage (SV%) is a way to quantitatively measure this difference.

A project is said to have a positive SV% if it is ahead of schedule, and a negative SV% if it is behind schedule.

 For example, if a project is planned to take 100 days but is completed in 90 days, it has a positive SV% of 10%. If a project is planned to take 100 days but is completed in 110 days, it has a negative SV% of 10%.

Schedule Variance for PMP Exam

SV is a hot topic on the PMP exam that tests your knowledge of earned value management. As we mentioned, Earned value management is a technique used in project management to measure project performance and progress. It is a key component of the PMP exam and is essential for anyone wanting to get their PMP certification.

Are you preparing for the PMP exam? If yes, then you must know that one of the topics on the PMP syllabus is Schedule Variance.

During this exam you will need to be clear about:

  • What is SV (by definition)
  • The main formula of SV (SV = EV-PV)
  • Variables required when calculating
  • Understand the results from your previous calculations and apply them properly according to what the numbers say.

FAQs

What is SV?

Schedule Variance (SV) is a project management metric that measures the difference between the planned schedule and the actual schedule.

How to Calculate SV?

The formula for schedule variance is SV = EV-PV, where EV means earned value and PV means planned value.

What is a positive or a negative SV?

A positive SV indicates that the project is ahead of schedule, while a negative SV indicates that the project is behind schedule.

How do you handle Schedule Variance?

How do you handle Schedule Variance?
There are two primary ways to handle the SV: one, identify the root cause of the variance and take corrective action. Two, accept the variance and adjust the project schedule accordingly.

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