Original Post Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From my perspective as a cost researcher, the calibration tool is one of the most powerful analysis capabilities built into the TruePlanning cost management software . One way I can use this tool is to go back to an old estimate for a project that is now completed, and analyze the correctness of the previously entered input values. With this analysis, I can find ways to improve our methods of soliciting input values from the user to ensure the best values are entered the next time. This way, the TruePlanning models keep getting “smarter” as new information becomes available.

TruePlanning models calculate a cost estimate based on a set of inputs about the project being estimated. After the project is completed and we have actual cost data available to us, we can go back to TruePlanning and explore the various reasons why an estimated cost may have been different from the actual cost.

Let’s say we are estimating a project involving a brand new electronic technology, and we are uncertain of the values we selected to describe its complexity. The calibration tool allows us to enter the actual costs of the project, and reverse-engineer the value of an input we were uncertain about (i.e. manufacturing complexity for electronics) that would lead to the correct answer. This allows us to identify incorrect input values so we can identify problems, then review and refine our methods used to pick the value in the first place. 

Over the years, we have used this (and many other) TruePlanning analysis capabilities to further our understanding of our cost estimates and our cost estimating methods. There are many analysis tools built into TruePlanning, and many ways to slice and dice information about a cost estimate. This makes it quick and easy to standardize the cost estimation methods used, and continually review and refine our methods to get the most accurate cost estimate possible. With more analysis tools and more information becoming available all the time, TruePlanning will keep getting smarter.

Gurney Thompson
Cost Research Analyst, PRICE Systems