The preponderance of data accumulated through digitization of all things presents unprecedented opportunities to use that data to predict the future. In our case, this is predicting costs and schedules from the data that reside in ERP, PLM, EVM systems, and the public domain. But is data analysis and data-driven estimating enough to convince decision-makers of estimate accuracy? Several studies show that the most convincing cases combine predictions from unbiased data analysis along with expert opinion. So, don’t throw out the experts. Harness both data and the experts to produce evidence-based estimates.
I cannot use the word “evidence” without thinking of the courtroom. Trials consist of four types of evidence to make their case (convincing management and your customer that your estimate is accurate are much like making a case to a jury). The table below describes the four types of evidence and draws analogies to the evidence we help our users provide to make their case.
Currently, we are working hard to put evidence-based estimating at your fingertips through our products and data sets. We are working with customers to collect and standardize the data in their digitized systems, we are collecting information and creating data sets from public sources, we are leveraging our experts to add value to the data sets, and we are developing features in our software to automate the use of evidence – delineating among the different evidence types. Look for new data sets and new features in upcoming product releases that help you win the case.