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Original Post Date: Thursday, January 6, 2011 Today, PRICE Systems, Senior Research Analyst, Bob Koury, will be presenting on Will Cost/Should Cost management. The presentation will focus on two main requirements mandated in the Ash Carter memo (mentioned here several times): Developing Should Cost/Will Cost targets and establishing Affordability as a requirement.  An example will be provided of how parametric estimating models were used to establish “Should Cost” targets and how they can be used by a budget authority (government or Industry) to be an informed consumer of contractor or sub-contractor bids. The demonstration portion of this webinar will focus on ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, January 5, 2011  What percent of our solar systems' total mass does the sun represent?  Leave your estimate in the comments!
Original Post Date: Thursday, December 23, 2010 A current research interest of mine is fuel cells – where they are being used and what it costs to manufacture fuel cell systems.  I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned to date. A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell which converts some fuel, usually hydrogen, into electric current.  It does this through a reaction between the fuel and an oxidant in the presence of an electrolyte.  The waste product of this chemical process is water and heat.  Fuel cells, unlike conventional batteries, consume reactant from an external source ...
Original Post Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 Winter Rule of Thumb:  How many centimeters of snow are the equivalent of 1 centimeter of rain? 
Original Post Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 With the New Year approaching we thought we would try something different on the blog. Every week will ask a question with a quantitative answer. Your job is simply to give the best estimate you can (you're on the honor system, no googling allowed). You can be above or below, winner is whoever is closest. Each week we will post the previous week's answer and the winner along with a new question. Good luck! Q: Of the top 1000 most popular U.S. baby boy names in 2007, what position did Elvis rank?  Leave your answer and your name in ...
Original Post Date: Friday, December 3, 2010 Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the New England SCEA Chapter December. The attendees were a great mix of experienced, seasoned cost estimators and young, new talent, eager to learn techniques to apply on the job.  My topic was the program management value of combining estimating Rules of Thumb with more rigorous cost estimating models and databases [link to presentation .pdf].  Rule of Thumb estimating is used every day by program managers to help guide their projects.  Oversight authorities rarely have the resources to perform detailed program estimates, so they ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2010  PRICE Chief Scientist, Arlene Minkiewicz, co-authored this article which looks at some of the challenges faced by the Department of Defense in attempting to inject SOA initiatives in acquisition processes. The article appears in the Nov/Dec 2010 edition of CrossTalk, The Journal of Defense Software Engineering Turn to page 32 of the online flip book to read the entire article. Read Article.  
Original Post Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 Unfortunately this is a true story. I decided to have a couple of gold fish in a nice glass bowl, having done my sums I estimated the cost should be: Bowl £20.00 Gravel £5.00 Two gold fish £8.00 Food £4.00 Making a total of £37.00, ok I can afford this, off I go to the pet shop. The pet shop advised “fish don’t like bowls”, plus “it’s cruel to keep them in one”, but as a child I often won fish at the ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 Recently a cost research project on missiles was completed. The research resulted in performance based equations for air-to-ground and surface-to-air missiles were developed. The performance based equations can be used for early concept estimation  on missile development and production costs. The question though is “What is the process for developing this type of estimating relationship?” This will be the first of a series of BLOGs on this topic.  The first task is to define what is a “Performance Based Equation?” Bruce Fad covered this definition in a previous “Data Driven BLOG” so please review his post for the details. The second step ...
Original Post Date: Monday, November 15, 2010 Last week I attended the 25th International Forum on COCOMO and Systems/Software Cost Modeling.  I attended for several reasons.  First of all, I was invited to participate on a panel whose topic was “25 years of Software Estimation: Lessons Learned, Challenges and Opportunities”.  Secondly, I have attended in the past and while it’s generally a small group, as such conferences go, I always come away impressed by the fact that so many smart people end up in one room and this year was no different.   But I digress; I really wanted to share ...