Original Post Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010

The late Norm Crosby’s “Quality is Free” taught us that an investment into quality is more than offset by prevention of defects based upon understanding of requirements. Only with the latter can lack of conformance (and subsequent costs) be captured and hence quality quantified. So how then is Parametrics relevant? 

Parametric estimating is more than cost modeling. Our craft represents an initial consulting function into the accuracy and completeness of program planning concepts. Our customers trust us to know when to ask and when to supplement. Yes, we are mathematical and financial modelers too. But I’d suggest that “Parametrics is also Free” when we deliver substantive systems engineering value as trusted advisors early-on in the development of project and program visualization. Spiral and 4GL paradigms notwithstanding, when we adequately act as “forcing functions” to get articulated requirements ready for primetime estimating, we have undeniably saved overruns and rework. 

A recommendation: ask early and often. And when in doubt (or they say “No, don’t need that” when you know better), model that object/activity and keep it ready. I’m the first to admit being on the receiving end of “You should’ve known to ask that” or “You’re here to fill in the blanks on what I don’t know to tell you.” No time for asking permission or forgiveness. Parametrics is a great job. But initiative and know-how are still the base ingredients to baking our quality cake.

John Swaren
Solutions  Consultant, PRICE Systems