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Original Post date: October 14, 2015 A few weeks ago I encountered a question from some users modeling an aircraft project with some prototypes and a number of production units.  They wanted to make sure that they accounted for the cost of upgrading the Prototypes to Flight/Production units, while using a fairly detailed product breakdown structure.  So the Prototypes would be built up with an initial design, and then certain parts would be upgraded after the design was refined to become full flight units.  Here are a few different ways to approach this issue: 1.       Additional Prototypes – The most simplified ...
Original Post Date: June 29, 2015 I read an article this week, called “7 Questions to Answer when making bid/no bid decisions” by Bob Lohfeld on WashingtonTechnology.com, and it really hit home with my past experiences estimating on the contractor side of things.  He talks about why some companies have higher win rates than others, and how it’s really all related to the decision making process.  Why do organizations choose to bid on projects, and why would they choose not to bid?  In some cases, choosing not to bid on a risky project will save tons of time and energy ...
Original Post Date: June 2, 2015 At PRICE Systems, we always tout that calibration of past actual cost and schedule data is the best way to get to an accurate, data-driven estimate.  I received a call recently to see if we have a set of best practices for calibration, but in reality the calibration process itself is a fairly simple process, it’s the data collection and normalization that happens before the calibration step that is really important.  This is partly because the assumptions you make when collecting the data and building the calibration file should drive how you use the ...
Original Post Date: 05/15/2015 The Space Missions Catalog for TruePlanning has been out in the field now for over 6 months now, and as estimators get to understand these new cost objects, many questions arise.  As you may know, the Space Missions Catalog was designed to estimate the total cost (or price) of NASA Robotic Earth and Space Science Missions, and while it is very valuable to understand the total expected cost of a mission, you always want more details.  In the case of Space Missions, one often heard question is, “How much of this is associated with the NASA ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 These days bidding can be a game, and contractor leadership is constantly making decisions on whether to take on risk in order to stay competitive or to bid conservatively for the safety of not overrunning.  You may complete a cost model for a program, and spend time analyzing the uncertainties behind each input and in the end find that your estimate lands at the 30% confidence level.  After some strategic analysis, the bid leadership team decides, we would like to bid at the 80% Confidence level, “please present your estimate to support that total”.  ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Every day we use tools like TruePlanning to build up detailed parametric cost estimates.  We could spend weeks collecting data and design information, and weeks honing details on risks and uncertainties.  When we finally get to reasonable point estimate, or even a distribution of probable estimates, there are always more questions.  Of course the range of queries depends on the purpose of the estimate, and who your consumer is.  If you are preparing an estimate for a competitive proposal, a company executive may be your consumer.  They may want to know, “What is the ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 After we spend time building up a point estimate, a cost estimator always has to do some additional work to break the estimate down into terms their estimate consumer will understand, or to perform different comparisons for various analyses.  Sometimes, you need to map the estimate into a Standard Work Breakdown Structure or Cost Element Structure.  Sometimes you want to compare to a bottom-up or grass-roots estimate.  Or, if you are planning budgets or manpower out into the future, you need details.  We have to speak a lot of languages in order to ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 I’ve recently had a number of users ask, “How do I model life cycle costs for a missile that just sits on a shelf?”  I had never actually tried to model this, but of course I know it’s possible.  So I turned to some of my fellow PRICE experts, and found that of course this is not the first time anyone has ever tried to model this kind of thing… Many ordnance weapons such as mortar shells, torpedoes, bombs, missiles and various projectiles are stockpiled until they are actually needed. These weapons ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 We have been blogging a lot lately about finding the right manufacturing complexities for your hardware  projects using TrueFindings, and the many ways you can determine the most appropriate Manufacturing complexities: taking averages from related projects, finding a correlation to another descriptive parameter (like horsepower for engines), or even looking into multi-variate regression to determine the best value.  If you are a TruePlanning user, you know that Manufacturing Complexities (for structure or electronics) are the most common parameter to use in calibration, and that the manufacturing complexity drives both Production and development ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 We all pull data and research from various sources when creating a project estimate.  You may pull together public CERS, internal research, subscription based data or commercial models.  In the end you want your entire estimate in one format.  If you use TruePlanning, you may have used the “Other Direct Cost Object” in the past to include costs estimated in another model.  You may have utilized the “Equation Cost Object” to include a CER with up to 5 variables, which would allow you to account for the size and complexity of an ...