Entries by 'Robert Ferguson'

An Investment Model for Software Sustainment

Software Sustainment 3 Comments »

By Robert Ferguson
Software Solutions Division

Robert FergusonSoftware sustainment involves coordinating the processes, procedures, people, information, and databases required to support, maintain, and operate software-reliant aspects of DoD systems. The 2011 book Examination of the U.S. Air Force’s Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs states

The Air Force is concerned that the resources needed to sustain its legacy aircraft may increase to the point where they could consume the resources needed to modernize the Air Force.

With millions of lines of code riding on aircraft and automobiles, the cost of software sustainment is increasing rapidly. Several studies show that the cost of sustainment is already as much as 70 percent of the total cost for the life of the software. All the armed services face similar challenges, including deciding how to improve the efficiency and productivity of sustainment organizations and how much should be invested in these improvements. This blog post describes an SEI research initiative aimed at developing an economic model to help anticipate costs and postpone the potential tipping point when sustaining current products is less attractive than replacing legacy systems.

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A New Approach for Developing Cost Estimates in Software Reliant Systems, Second in a Two-Part Series

Measurement & Analysis , Software Cost Estimates No Comments »

By Robert Ferguson
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Engineering Process Management Program


Robert Ferguson The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has frequently cited poor cost estimation as one of the reasons for cost overrun problems in acquisition programs. Software is often a major culprit. One study on cost estimation by the Naval Postgraduate School found a 34 percent median value increase of software size over the estimate.  Cost overruns lead to painful Congressional scrutiny, and an overrun in one program often cascades and leads to the depletion of funds from others. The challenges encountered in estimating software cost were described in the first post of this two-part series on improving the accuracy of early cost estimates.  This post describes new tools and methods we are developing at the SEI to help cost estimation experts get the right information they need into a familiar and usable form for producing high quality cost estimates early in the life cycle.

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Improving the Accuracy of Early Cost Estimates for Software-Reliant Systems, First in a Two-Part Series

Measurement & Analysis , Software Cost Estimates No Comments »

By Robert Ferguson
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Engineering Process Management Program

Robert Ferguson Head Shot The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has frequently cited poor cost estimation as one of the reasons for cost overrun problems in acquisition programs. Software is often a major culprit. One study on cost estimation by the Naval Postgraduate School found a 34 percent median value increase of software size over the estimate.  Cost overruns lead to painful Congressional scrutiny, and an overrun in one program often leads to the depletion of funds from another.  This post, the first in a series on improving the accuracy of early cost estimates, describes challenges we have observed trying to accurately estimate software effort and cost in Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition programs, as well as other product development organizations.

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