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  • Predictive Analytics for Improved Cost Management

PRICE Report: Affordability Simulation Requirements Module Will Predict Cost Estimates

MT. LAUREL, NJ / June 17, 2005 / Affordability Simulation (AS) is at the core of an integrated data environment that ensures cost requirements, technology performance and schedule risks are addressed in a collaborative process by a program's cost analysts and engineers. During virtual prototyping, engineers can trace costs to originating requirements and know the cost impacts of design, performance and scheduling decisions, so that trade-offs can be analyzed and optimized for credible cost estimates.

Part of the cost as an independent variable (CAIV) process, AS meets needs to perform tradeoff analyses, Analysis of Alternatives (AoAs), and high-level budget drills that are responsive to review constraints with repeatable and scaleable confidence. It delivers fast, first-pass cycle time; lower life-cycle costs due to requirements-driven design; and early, accurate estimates through close collaboration between costing and engineering communities. The result is a platform for design and cost estimating that is capable of generating more accurate estimates within minutes instead of days, weeks, or months.

Predictive Affordability Simulation Requirements Module

The next step with AS is an Affordability Simulation Requirements Module (ASRM) that will develop CERs for predicting the cost, risk, and performance of still emerging system requirements. These CERs will be applied early in a system's design concept phase to estimate and evaluate requirements as they are being defined.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and PRICE Systems demonstrated such a concept in a 1997 study that integrated RASSP (Rapid prototyping of Application Specific Signal Processors) into the PRICE Program Affordability Management framework. The study resulted in PRICE Systems' delivery of the Objective Force Cost Module (OFCM) into a production environment at the US Army National Automotive Center in 2004.

The OFCM has demonstrated to dramatically improve cost analysis relevance and decision-making efficiencies. Near-real-time affordability analysis, and better communication among decision makers and support staff, has streamlined schedules and improved cost predictions for complex programs. ASRM, the next phase in the evolution of AS core functionality, will build on the knowledge learned from both OFCM development and the DARPA study.

Developing ASRM Capabilities

ASRM will:

  • Estimate new systems with improved confidence to perform capability trade-offs as requirements are being defined
  • Associate traditional measures of cost, technology (including COTS integration), and schedule risk with non-traditional measures for better Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) decisions
  • Display/illustrate system requirements relationships to improve visibility of risks and trade-offs among cost, technology and schedule.
  • Establish a "trade space" environment to further improve communication, collaboration and consensus building among analysts and designers
  • Provide capabilities to derive ROM cost, technology and schedule risk estimates for still emerging system requirements

ASRM will focus on providing accelerated, defensible cost positions on emerging aggregated requirements related to future development of technologically superior programs. "Expected Cost" and/or "Projected Value" are potential categorizations of an independent variable and the coordinating result of all objective input requirements and design parameters.