Have you ever wondered why earned-value management is not really about value but about cost? According to EVM, as defined for instance in the PMBoK, value=cost aka budgeted cost of work scheduled. The specific implementation of EVM used in e.g. Scrum is no different even if specific terms such as backlog and effort are used.
According to Boehm and Li this is caused by Software Engineering taking place in a “value-neutral setting”. Because there is a separation of concerns, implying that “IT” is only responsible for developing a solution to meet certain stated requirements cost – not value – will take a place of primacy and projects will “use earned-value systems to track project cost and schedule, but not stakeholder or business value”.
The answer to the cost-centric software engineering method is value based agile software engineering. If we knew the value of a particular feature or requirement and we knew or estimated the cost of implementing it we could easily calculate the effectiveness of implementing it and by prioritizing development in order of effectiveness we would maximize real ROI and hopefully reduce the time to market. In theory, this should be easy. Just ask the stakeholders to give a value to each requirement (which should be INVEST) then ask the developers to estimate the cost and divide (value/cost). In practice, it is not so easy.