Interview with Walt Lipke


Rework on Projects is more serious than most people realize

Interview with Walt Lipke

Originator of Earned Schedule technique
Expert consultant, EVM and Program Management
Deputy Chief, Software Division (retired)
Tinker Air Force Base, U.S.A.F.
Oklahoma, USA

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan
Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)
International Correspondent, PM World Journal

Introduction to the interviewee

Walt Lipke retired in 2005 as deputy chief of the Software Division at Tinker Air Force Base in the United States, where he led the organization to the 1999 SEI/IEEE award for Software Process Achievement. He is the creator of the Earned Schedule technique, which extracts schedule information from earned value data. 

Credentials & Honors include: Master of Science Physics; Licensed Professional Engineer; Graduate of DOD Program Management Course; Physics honor society – Sigma Pi Sigma (SPS); Academic honors – Phi Kappa Phi (FKF);PMI Metrics SIG Scholar Award (2007); PMI Eric Jenett Award (2007); EVM Europe Award (2013); CPM Driessnack Award (2014); Australian Project Governance and Control Symposium established the annual Walt Lipke Project Governance and Control Excellence Award (2017); Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award (2018).

Rework has been a common problem, especially in the construction projects, resulting in problems such as higher costs and longer duration. Recently, PMR magazine collected opinions about causes of and solutions to rework across the globe. The following is Walt Lipke’s contribution.


Q1.      Based on your observation, what is the present situation of rework in projects? (e.g., the rework rate; rework in different industries)

Walt Lipke (Lipke):       First, thank you for contacting me. As well, a ‘thank you’ to David Pells, the editor of Project Management World Journal, for giving you my name. My supposition is David referenced me due to an article of mine he recently published, “Project Duration Increase from Rework.”

Your question, “What is the present situation of rework in projects?”, is one for which I can only speculate. I have been retired for 15 years and don’t possess direct current knowledge. However, from my speaking at conferences and email exchanges with project managers and consultants, globally, my impression is rework is recognized as a problem, but there is little focus on doing something about it.

A few years ago, I proposed to a project manager (PM) that rework data should be captured. The PM’s response was, “no one wants that information.” I was shocked. My response to him was, “How can you improve and minimize rework, if you have no understanding of your performance.” He just shrugged, and indicated most project managers don’t care. Sadly, my guess is this attitude is pervasive and prevails today.

Part of your question concerns rework and its rate in different industries. I have some knowledge of the software industry and its efforts to improve. The organization I once managed worked with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) to improve our development and maintenance processes. If you are not aware of the SEI, they were established nearly 40 years ago by the US government to address the problem of software project failures. They are located at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The SEI developed a process maturity model, and over time collected and tabulated relational statistics. My assumption is the statistics shown in the table below, associating rework and process maturity for software projects, remains valid.


To read entire interview, click here

Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: PMR (2020). Rework on Projects is more serious than most people realize: Interview with Walt Lipke; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/pmwj100-Dec2020-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Walt-Lipke.pdf



About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China


Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review (PMR) Magazine and website. She has interviewed over sixty top experts in the field of project management. Before joining PMR, she once worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in training centers in Beijing. Beginning in January 2020, Spring also serves as an international correspondent for the PM World Journal.

For work contact, she can be reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.

To view other works by Spring, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/yu-yanjuan/