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Tree Trimming Project Analysis

Sheri Kennedy
August 31, 2015
Jeremy Wood

Tree Trimming Project Analysis

To summarize, Thomas Johnson is a timber and Christmas tree farmer. During his off

season last year, Johnson attended a Project Management class. The class topic relating to earned

value caused him to evaluate his business practices and question his use, or lack of, Earned

Value. Each summer Johnson employs crews to shear his fields of Christmas trees for the

upcoming holiday season. The shearing process is a physically manual job entailing a worker

using a large machete to shear the branches of the tree into a nice, cone shaped tree desired by


Seasonal Practices

Johnson begins the season by conducting a count of the number of Douglas Fir Christmas

trees in the field. The count is estimated to be 24,000. He then agrees with Tome Jones to a

contract lump sum for shearing with a crew boss for the whole field of $30,000. Jones submits a

partial invoice to Johnson for work completed to date 5 days later. Johnson then estimates a

count of the actual number currently sheared to be at 6,000 trees. To reach the amount Johnson

will pay to Jones, he takes the actual as a percent of the total to be sheared, multiply the percent

complete by total contract amount for the partial payment [(6,000/$30,000 = 25%), (.25 x

$30,000 = $7500)].

Is Johnson over, on, or below schedule? Explain.

Johnson remains on schedule. After five days, he is able to observe that the total number of

trees sheared are indeed 6000. Johnson required an estimate of the total amount of work done. This

can be calculated by taking the number of trees already sheared (6000) divided by the total number

of trees (24000) then multiplied by one hundred to get the actual percentage of work completed to

date. This would be shown as [(6000/24000)*100]. The total amount to be paid to Jones is $30,000.

Therefore the total amount that is needed to be paid for this 25% of the work done is $7,500, shown

as (30000*.25).

Is Johnson using earned value? Explain

In reviewing the data collected, it can be observed that Johnson is using earned value as it can

be observed that Jones has completed 25% of the work in five days and will receive a payment of

$7500 reflecting the contract (Marshall, 2007). At the rate the work is currently being completed,

the project will have come to fruition in 20 working days. This will leave time for bundling and


What can Johnson do to set up a schedule and cost variance?

Johnson should set the schedule to include any variance. This should also be part of the

budgeted cost of work performed minus the budgeted cost of work scheduled. Currently, the

budgeted cost of work performed is $7,500, therefore the scheduled budget can be calculated and

the Schedule Variance can be set up. Johnson can set up a schedule to accomplish his tasks in a

less demanding way by establishing checkpoints and milestones accomplished by the end of a

specific period. The milestones should come with a set of deliverables as a measure of the work

done hitherto. The milestones can be five days and the deliverables can be a number of trees he

wants to be shorn by the end of that period.

The cost variance refers to the difference of actual cost of work performed and the budgeted

cost of work performed. The budgeted cost of work performed is 7500 and the actual needs to be

calculated by Johnson to set up the cost variance (John, 2004).


What method can Johnson use to control any changes in scope to the project, such as

change in shape of shearing from his customers?

If there is review in the work package description, the manager has to redirect the

affected actors on the project for action to meet the new consumer needs. This can result to scope

creep to the team handling this project and therefore the people can lose morale of working and

result to longer period to finish the work. Scope creep can compromise the operations by the

team and therefore the following method can be adopted.

Change in the management or shuffling the team handling the project. This can reduce

the scope creep associated with the handling the project. Johnson can also consider setting up

another team to deal with the new specifications of shearing the trees for their sake and to protect

the old customers’ interests especially if it is just a part of the customers who want that change.

Changes in scope to the project should always be planned for in the project planning stage.

The requirements from the customer with regards to changes of desired shape for the trees could

differ at onset of the project compared to actual work. Johnson should be prepared to tackle any

arising situations. He will realize that flexibility will be necessary as customers will pay only when

their requirements are fulfilled. In stating as much, the client requirements should be clearly

outlined and valued in the contract. The contract should also require that any major adjustments

after project start would be rather difficult to meet for the laboring staff. It would be hard to “re-

shear” a tree that has already been shaped.

What alternatives are available to Johnson to accelerate the completion of the tree

trimming project?

There are several options that Johnson has to accelerate the process. Johnson can mandate an

increase in the daily production efforts from the laborers shearing the trees by either adding more

laborers or lengthening the working day. However, this is not a guaranteed method. There could

be a weather occurrence that would eliminate a day of work – thus putting the schedule behind –

or laborers could not show up for a day or two.. The project can also be completed faster by

boosting the impetus of the working crew either by better wages or any other rewards he will deem

feasible for the project.



John, C. (2004). Quantitative Methods in Project Management. J. Ross Publishing. pp. 173–178

Marshall, R. (2007) the Contribution of Earned Value Management to Project Success of

Contracted Efforts. Journal of Contract Management, 2007, pp. 21-331

Wilson, R. (2014). A comprehensive guide to project management schedule and cost control:

Methods and models for managing the project lifecycle. Upper Saddle River, NJ: