The original version of this paper was published here in May 2009:
See S-curve/intro.htm

This 4th Edition was submitted for publication in January 2019.
It is copyright © Midori Media.
Published here July 2019.

Editor's Note and Introduction | What is an S‑curve? |
Types of S‑curvesBaseline, Target, Actual, Man Hours vs Time
Cost vs Time | Value and Percentage | PART 2

David Garland has over 25 years of experience in developing business software solutions in the construction, defense, and finance industries. He has worked in various capacities on numerous defense ship repair projects since 1995. David's company, Midora Media, is an Australian based company, established in 2003 specializing in developing, marketing, and supporting innovative software solutions such as myPM SCG Enterprise, an S‑curve generator. David can be reached by Email at His web site is:

Editor's Note

The S-curve is a powerful project management control tool. Why it is the shape it is, how to use it and "Max's Rule of Thumb" for drawing it as a part of the project planning activity are all described in Chapter 10 of A Management Framework for Project, Program and Portfolio Integration. You can also find more information on this web site by entering "S-curve" or "Resource loading" into the site search engine field.

As our author explains, the S-curve is simply a matter of counting observations and plotting them against time. However, relatively few project activities are conducive to this type of approach. Nevertheless, over a period of multiple related activities, it is possible to make informed assessments of work completed and plot these in the same way. The resulting graphic is a much better way of understanding the state of the project and reporting that to management. It should be included in management reports as a matter of standard practice.


The first time most project managers become aware of the existence of S‑curves is when they are requested by their client or senior management to include S‑curves in their next progress report. The purpose of this White Paper is to explain what S‑curves are, how they are generated, why it is an important Project Management tool, and how to use S‑curves to analyze a Project.


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