Spatial Memory — Why it matters as a Project Manager and Earned Value Management Professional

Spatial Memory — Why it matters as a Project Manager and Earned Value Management Professional

Earned Value Management (EVM) is an increasingly popular project management tool that utilizes data to track and monitor the progress of a project. It can be hard to remember all the small, important details that are needed to make EVM work well for you, but there are ways to improve our ability to do so. Using our spatial memory, or our ability to remember where things are, is a powerful way to remember EVM more easily.

As I got interested in project management, I realized that in order for me to attain the knowledge of a PM, I needed to use techniques such as the spatial memory technique to harness my craft in project management and also within other areas such as earned value management and project controls.

Now, before I tell you about how I used spatial memory to memorize Earned Value Management, let’s read about what spatial memory is.

Photo by David Cassolato from Pexels:

What is Spatial Memory?

Spatial memory is a way to remember things based on how they are pictured in your mind in relation to the environment and space. It involves making a link between something physical and the information you want to remember, which makes it easy to recall from memory. Spatial memory is often combined with other mnemonic techniques, like chunking, to help people remember things better. This method has been shown to be especially good for remembering images, which suggests it may have a special neural basis for storing information about space.

Applying Spatial Memory

Now let's get into the “fun part” of this article, which is “applying spatial memory." Keep in mind that the technique I am about to explain in this article is the technique that I used to study for the PMP exam and to learn and attain EVM. This method may or may not work for you, and this is for educational purposes only.

Let’s start by imagining that you’re standing at the entrance of your childhood home, and as you walk in, you see a coat rack to your left. On the coat rack, you see a sign that reads “Earned Value Management.”

You take a closer look at the sign and read that earned value management, also known as EVM, is a project management technique that measures project performance and progress in an objective manner. You imagine the sign expanding and visualizing the words “project performance” to your left, “project progress” to your right, and “objective manner” in front of you.

As you walk further into the house, you come across a table where you see a triangle. This triangle represents the project management triangle, consisting of scope, time, and costs. You recall that EVM has the ability to combine measurements from the project management triangle to measure project performance and progress. You visualize the triangle expanding and seeing the word “scope” at the top of the triangle, “time” on the left, and “costs” on the right.

As you continue walking through the house, you walk into the kitchen, and you see a recipe book open on the counter. The book reminds you that EVM is a management methodology used in project management for integrating scope, schedule, and resources. You visualize the recipe book expanding, seeing “scope” as the ingredients needed for the project, “schedule” as the instructions to follow, and “resources” as the tools needed for the project.

You continue walking through the house and enter the living room, where you see a television playing a news segment about EVM. The news segment says that EVM gives practices, methods, and tools for monitoring the performance of projects and programs, and that it has shown itself to be very useful. You imagine the news segment getting bigger, with "practices" being the ways that project performance is tracked, "methods" being the steps that are taken to implement EVM, and "tools" being the things that are needed to use EVM successfully.

Finally, you walk up the stairs to your bedroom, where you see a sticky note on your door with the acronym EVM written on it. You recall that EVM stands for Earned Value Management and how it can help measure project performance and progress in an objective manner.

By using spatial memory techniques and visualizing the various concepts of earned value management throughout your childhood home, you can easily recall and understand this project management technique.

In conclusion, learning EVM can be hard, but using techniques just like the one used in this article for spatial memory can make the process easier and faster. By creating mental maps, using visual and spatial cues, and associating EVM concepts with spatial locations, project managers and controllers can better understand and remember EVM concepts and calculations and apply them to real-world projects. Using spatial memory techniques, project managers and controllers can improve EVM training and help their peers become better project managers.


Article by iPMu

Published 14 Mar 2023