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Schedule Variance (SV)

APMT 054


The difference between the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP) and the Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS) (Schedule Variance (SV) = BCWP – BCWS). SV = BCWP - BCWS A negative SV is unfavorable and indicates that less work was accomplished than planned. A positive SV if favorable and indicates that more work was accomplished than planned. The program's critical path schedule must reviewed to determine the impact of a negative SV on the program. (Note: The SV is denominated in dollars.)

Alternate Definition

Schedule Variance (SV) is a metric for schedule performance on a program. It is the mathematical difference between Budgeted Cost for Work Performed (BCWP) and the Budgeted Cost for Work Scheduled (BCWS). A positive value is a favorable condition, while a negative value is unfavorable.

Alternate Definition Source

DoD Earned Value Management System Interpretation Guide (EVMSIG)

General Information

Schedule Variance (SV) measures work accomplishment compared with the plan. The SV is computed by subtracting the Budgeted Cost for Work Scheduled (BCWS) from the corresponding Budgeted Cost for Work Performed (BCWP). Negative schedule variances are unfavorable, indicating that some amount of planned work was not completed as scheduled. Positive schedule variances are favorable, indicating that more work was completed then originally planned.



If BCWP > BCWS, schedule variance is positive/favorable

If BCWP < BCWS, schedule variance in negative/unfavorable


Unfavorable schedule variances indicate the potential for a contract schedule slip, but this cannot be absolutely determined without a reviewing the critical path schedule. Unfavorable schedule variance is a good indication of future unfavorable cost variance.


When all of the work is done, BCWS and BCWP will always be equal, so the SV is always zero when all the work on the contract is done; even if the contract actually finishes late. For this reason, many believe that this metric is misnamed. A better name for this metric would be accomplishment variance: how much work did we plan to accomplish, BCWS, versus how much work did we accomplish, BCWP.


A plain language definition for a negative $10K schedule variance, is that ten thousand dollars worth of work scheduled to be completed was not completed.