• Predictive Analytics for Improved Cost Management  



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Original Post Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2010  Those words describe the triangular probability distribution used by FRISK in performing risk analysis in TruePlanning. FRISK requires two major assumptions on the part of the user. The first is that the combination or convolution of a number of triangular distributions results in a log normal distribution. The second is that there is correlation between cost objects.  The triangular distribution is completely defined by three simple inputs: an optimistic value, a pessimistic value, and a most likely value. By eliciting information from engineers, I have found that they are much more willing to commit to a range ...
Original Post Date: Thursday, June 10, 2010 This week I was thinking how useful the Export Import feature in TruePlanning can be. First, the Excel Import spreadsheet gives you an easy and convenient way to gather your data. In addition, it gives you an easy and convenient way to check and validate the data. When observing the data in a column format, it is so easy to spot and correct anomalies. Second, the Excel Import spreadsheet gives you an easy and convenient way to build your Product Breakdown Structure. No more inserting one cost object at a time. The Excel Import feature does it all ...
Original Post Date: Thursday, May 13, 2010  Earlier this week I conducted a webinar intended to make PRICE users aware of the Cost Research Services available to them as part of the license fee they pay to use PRICE products. I thought I would recap the highlights of this webinar for those of you who might have missed it. At PRICE we understand that cost estimating tools, while useful and valuable, do not always present the complete solution. Every single cost estimation projects presents new and unique challenges.  We think it's important that in addition to solid, time trusted cost estimating models, ...
Original Post Date: Friday, April 30, 2010 I have been frequently asked to do crosschecks on other people’s software cost estimates which are potentially done in a variety of tools from spreadsheets to SLIM. One of the common operator errors I see from other users is not understanding what activities and resources are included in the outputs of the particular tool that they are estimating with. This is akin to deciding between two cars and not knowing if both come with the same sets of features (stereo, AC, heated seats).   With software estimation tools you need to know what work is getting estimated ...
Original Post Date: Friday, April 23, 2010 Software project failures coupled with rapidly changing business needs are forcing organizations to revisit the way they go about building software.  Agile development has emerged as one possible solution to the woes of the software industry.  Agile enthusiasts claim significant increases in productivity and quality, while detractors cite instances where the reverse is true.  It seems to me that probably both are right  - some of the time anyway.  Agile means many different things to different organization.  There is a long list of agile tenets but not every method of agile applies all ...
Original Post Date: lThursday, April 8, 2010 Despite the plethora of literature on Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) it remains a difficult concept.  I thought I would share my interpretation. For most of us the concept of technology readiness is hard to grasp. This is because in general, our experiences with technology are with fully matured technology. In 1961, President Kennedy challenged US scientists, mathematicians and engineers when he announced that within the decade of the 1960s the US would ‘land a man on the Moon, and return him safely to Earth’. At the time, there were no solutions to solve ...
Original Post Date: Friday, April 2, 2010  The newest version of TruePlanning has been released and distributed to customers. The new features were designed to make it easier to estimate entire systems, not just individual components or sub-systems. TruePlanning is an excellent solution in this regards. Systems that require you to estimate software costs, hardware costs, and the integration of multiple pieces of each can all be done in one framework. There are  specific features in this release, like input inheritance, that allow you to make changes at the top Project level which then flow throughout the entire system.  This saves an ...
Orignal Post Date: Thursday, April 1, 2010 Here are some choices to the question: 1. By comparing with old analogous data? 2. Creating and presenting the basis of estimate (BOE) documentation? 3. Illustrating a track back to cost estimating relationships (CERs) and their referenced historical databases? 4. Demonstrate that the estimate came from a reputable parametric tool like TruePlanning? 5.  Any other approach? 6.  All of the above or some combination of these approaches? 7.  You don't have this problem i.e. you never had a need to prove the credibility of your estimates? If the answer is point number 7, ...
Orignal Post Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010 That’s a question that members of the cost estimating community will try to answer at next week’s  43rd Annual DoDCAS symposium. The conference is centered around the “theory and implementation” of the WSARA 2009 (Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act). Simply put, the cost estimating community needs to first and foremost understand what the real life implications of the WSARA will be. At least in theory that is.   According to GAO, nearly 70% of the Pentagon’s 96 biggest weapons programs were over budget in 2008 and another government report found $295 billion in waste ...
Orignal Post Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010  It’s a common practice to measure failure or success of a project based on the initial functionality requirements and initial cost and schedule estimated. The Standish Group publishes its Chaos report for software projects which terms a project as a "Success" if it is completed on time, on budget, and satisfying all the initial requirements. Projects are deemed a "Challenged" if functionality is achieved but cost and schedule over runs occur and "Failed" if a project is cancelled while in execution. However there are other factors e.g. Tom DeMarco’s  Estimation Quality Factor  and Boehm’s Cone of Uncertainty (COU) ...