• Predictive Analytics for Improved Cost Management  



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Original Post Date: Monday, April 26, 2010  With so many acquisition programs over budget and behind schedule, the term “Cost Realism” is suddenly very popular. In my experience as an estimator on many major acquisition programs, two things have remained certain over years (besides death and taxes). First, the probability of the program ever achieving the original cost estimate is exactly zero and second, the more information that is known about a program, the more it will exceed its original cost estimate.    With that said, the move to Cost Realism is so important because it recognizes these two fundamental ...
Original Post Date: Friday, May 21, 2010 Last month I blogged about the importance of cost realism, its roots and how as estimators we must always reflect the truth, no matter how unpopular. This month I want to share with you a recent experience on a Source Selection. As part of the Source Selection team, my role was to conduct a Cost Realism estimate on each of the performers submitting bids. I want to share with you a few insights from that experience. One of the first rules I always follow is to never ask engineers to provide data that ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 I had expected to present my webinar,  “Best Practices for Cost Effectiveness Studies using TruePlanning” in early August. As you might know, I was planning to show a real world example from a recent engagement with a government customer. Unfortunately, since the Source Selection has not concluded with a downselect, I was not able to obtain the public release in time. However, for this month’s blog I will continue share some of the highlights of the webinar.   In last month’s blog we explored the uses of TruePlanning during Source Selection from the Supplier’s (or ...
Original Post Date: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 Whether you’re doing a software cost estimate to support a Bid and Proposal effort, a software valuation, should cost analysis, or to develop a detailed project plan, it is vitally important to understand the ‘size’ of the software you are estimating.  The problem with software size is that it tends to fall into the intangible realm of reality.  If you tell me you are building a widget that weighs 13 pounds, I can really start to get my head around the task at hand.  If I’m chatting about this with my European colleagues, ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Introduction Parametric estimates provide reliable, reproducible, and flexible views into cost and effort so it’s only natural to want to include this data in a bid and proposal workflow. With TruePlanning 2014 big steps have been taken to make such integration seamless and easily reproducible.  New tools in the TruePlanning suite of products, as well as, integrations with some of the major bid and proposal software applications are at the heart of this new feature set. You can learn more about TruePlanning 2014 and the PRICE cost estimation models at our website, but let's ...
Original Post Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014 One of the complications in generating Bids and Proposals for Modules and Microcircuits is determining the “Should Cost” for better cost realism. Most of the electronic modules and their components in the proposals are not actually manufactured by the Proposer, but rather by a subcontractor, thus becoming a Purchased item. It is difficult to determine the cost of making the Module, and determining a fair cost. Costs for the modules include Assembly and Test costs together with the component costs. Components such as ASIC’s (Application Specific Integrated Circuits), have both the cost of developing the devices and ...
Original Post Date: Thursday, August 23, 2012 We’ve bought access to IHS Haystack, which links us to huge amounts of data on government parts and logistics, including electronics running the gamut of technologies, functions, and types of equipment.  The tool combines data from more than 70 military and commercial databases, and includes detailed data on costs, procurement histories, and a wide range of technical characteristics – perfect for building and validating CERs. This data will be very useful for our TP 2013 Electronics Update.  All of this data can be built into a knowledge base and made available to TruePlanning users.  With this ...
Original Post Date: Monday, August 1, 2011 After many years of working with systems engineers and design engineers it became apparent to me that the cost of the system they were designing / building mostly seemed to be an after thought. Maybe not by the Lead Systems Engineer or Program Manager but certainly down in the trenches. The engineers working at the subsystem, component, and element levels always expressed frustration with having too much to think about to add one more variable, such as cost estimation, to their work load. I posit that this can no longer be the case. In ...
Original Post Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 Competition seems like a sensible practice on the path to best value.  However, is it possible to create a truly competitive environment? “It is a tradition that we don’t trust our business partners, people don’t have a clear understanding of how sharing information would result in better performance.  The lack of understanding induces fear and skepticism.” Hau Lee, Graduate School of Business at Stanford University There are two behaviors that debunk competition in regards to complex systems wrought with uncertainty: over-optimism and deception.  Government buyers share the dual burden of seeking advanced technologies to meet future ...
Original Post Date: Monday, March 7, 2011 Based on your experience, does winning an opportunity in the DoD come down to how well the proposal is written? Or, are there other contributors like the content of the proposal?  The type of analysis described in the proposal?  The estimation methodology?  How well the cost realism is justified? Any insight you have would be great.