I had the great pleasure to sponsor, attend and speak at the second annual ICEAA Canada Workshop in Ottawa last week. A speaker opened the conference with his personal story of discovering the vast cost estimating and analysis community in America, which motivated him and others to start ICEAA Canada as a means for Canadian estimators to "up their game".  And I must commend the Canadians on their response – it is remarkable.  First, it is important to note that expectations on estimates started to grow in 2013 and continue to this day. It is now expected that evidence-based estimates will aid all budgetary decision making.  It was clear from this workshop, that the new expectations are driving change among the people, processes and tools in the community:

People

  • Most of the conference attendees had a finance, economics, or accounting background.  There was universal recognition that it takes a multi-dimensional team to face the estimating challenges posed by the diverse portfolio of projects within the Canadian government.  The value of adding estimators to the team with backgrounds in statistics, mathematics, and engineering was accepted
  • Estimator career paths and training were hot topics.  Government leaders were asking questions about what others do.  I pointed those who asked to the DAU Business Cost Estimating Certification for guidance

Processes

  • Several other processes for reviewing and judging budgetary estimates are being worked

Tools

  • Leaders in this movement recognize that they can benefit from the cost estimating and analysis tools that have evolved in other countries over many years.  They realize that they can speed adoption through standardization on certain tools for certain tasks.  I am happy to say that several Canadian agencies have looked to PRICE Systems for assistance and have licensed our solutions to help them with the evidence-based estimates they need to meet new expectations

My workshop presentation, "How Predictive Analytics is Improving Parametric Cost Estimation", reinforced this theme, highlighting recent trends in each area.  I have been doing cost estimating and analysis since Olivia Newton-John recorded Physical, so today I am seldom surprised.  The rapid blossoming of the Canadian costing practice surprises me.  So much has happened in such short period of time. And they are doing it right, with a strong foundation of people, processes and tools.  It is exciting to watch and be a part of.