• Predictive Analytics for Improved Cost Management  



Blog



Original Post Date: Thursday, September 23, 2010 You need 3 things for your software estimates to be successful. And I will add a fourth one in after I talk about the first 3. 1. You need qualified and experienced people to generate the estimates. They have to know how to estimate and they have to understand what the problem is that the project is going to solve…..at least well enough to estimate it. This can be one person or many depending on the difficulty of the business area. The harder it is, the better having more brains look at the problem. But not to the point ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 Over the past several weeks several users have inquired about the best way to model legacy software that is being modified when estimating software costs. The software component within the TruePlanning Software model has an input parameter call “adapted Code Size.” This input parameter accounts for existing or legacy software that will be modified or changed to meet a new requirement. Tied with the size input parameter is Percent Design/Code/Test adapted. Although the model will calculate a percentage for each input, I would recommend that user’s analyze the calculate values and override the calculation where required. The percentage ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 The key cost driver when estimating software costs is the size of the product. The problem is that there is no perfect technique available to measure and quantify the size of software. The two major techniques in use today are Source Lines of Code and Function Points.  Today we will talk about Source Lines or Code or SLOC. Source Lines of Code measures logical lines of code. It takes some of the uncertainty out of physical line of code measures by counting only complete statements (which can cross over more than on physical line). SLOC excludes comments and blank ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Earlier this month Under Secretary of Defense, Asthon Carter, spoke at the 2010 Annual Air and Space Conference. His speech touched on some of the 5 categories that he and Defense Secretary Robert Gates laid out in order to identify low value activities and reapportion approximately $100 billion dollars within the Defense Budget to higher value capabilities needed to support US Forces. The first of those categories he described has to do with "targeting affordability".  In the context of a specific Navy program he explained this concept in a simple practical manner:  "The way to do that is ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Recently I came across the word “off-label”.  It is the term used by the medical community when a drug is used to treat a condition for which it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.   We sometimes use TruePlanning for “off-label” purposes. A good example would be using the TruePlanning Calibration tool to answer such questions as, what is the maximum number of source lines of code (SLOC) I can get and remain within my budget?  I call this TruePlanning Optimization. Here is an example answering the SLOC question. First begin ...
Original Post Date: Tuesday, June 8, 2010  Now that we know the background on the original concept of TRL's (Technology Readiness Levels - reference Arlene Minkiewicz's earlier blog post), we now want to address estimating costs associated with different TRL levels. It is important to realize that a model cannot estimate TRL costs by simply changing an input parameter. Rather the only way to estimate costs associated with different TRL levels is to model the scenario. For example, if you are estimating costs for TRL level 2 phase the input parameters would be very different than if estimating costs for TRL level ...
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: Thursday, May 6, 2010 I am excited about the efforts described in Derek Kaufman’s article on the AFMC website.  For the complete story please see this link http://www.afmc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123202181. The DoD is investing in the rapid build up of a new foundation of acquisition workers focused on estimating costs and negotiating prices through continuous learning.    Mr. Assad notes that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, was once the preeminent DoD recognized leader at estimating costs and negotiating prices with defense contractors. It's a skill that has been allowed to atrophy, he noted.   "We need to build that pricing capability back ...
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 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 ...