Entries Tagged as 'Software Cost Estimates'

Improving the Reliability of Expert Opinion within Early Lifecycle Cost Estimation

Measurement & Analysis , Software Cost Estimates No Comments »

By Robert Stoddard,
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Engineering Measurement and Analysis Program

Robert Stoddard As part of our research related to early acquisition lifecycle cost estimation for the Department of Defense (DoD), my colleagues in the SEI’s Software Engineering Measurement & Analysis initiative and I began envisioning a potential solution that would rely heavily on expert judgment of future possible program execution scenarios. Previous to our work on cost estimation, many parametric cost models required domain expert input, but, in our opinion, they did not address alternative scenarios of execution that might occur from Milestone A onward. Our approach, known as Quantifying Uncertainty in Early Lifecycle Cost Estimation (QUELCE), asks domain experts to provide judgment not only on uncertain cost factors for a nominal program execution scenario, but also for the drivers of cost factors across a set of anticipated scenarios. This blog post describes our efforts to improve the accuracy and reliability of expert judgment within this expanded role of early lifecycle cost estimation.

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Quantifying Uncertainty in Early Lifecycle Cost Estimation (QUELCE): An Update

Measurement & Analysis , Software Cost Estimates 6 Comments »

By Dave Zubrow,
Chief Scientist
Software Engineering Process Management Program

Dave ZubrowBy law, major defense acquisition programs are now required to prepare cost estimates earlier in the acquisition lifecycle, including pre-Milestone A, well before concrete technical information is available on the program being developed. Estimates are therefore often based on a desired capability—or even on an abstract concept—rather than a concrete technical solution plan to achieve the desired capability. Hence the role and modeling of assumptions becomes more challenging.  This blog posting outlines a multi-year project on Quantifying Uncertainty in Early Lifecycle Cost Estimation (QUELCE) conducted by the SEI Software Engineering Measurement and Analysis (SEMA) team. QUELCE is a method for improving pre-Milestone A software cost estimates through research designed to improve judgment regarding uncertainty in key assumptions (which we term program change drivers), the relationships among the program change drivers, and their impact on cost.

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A Summary of Key SEI R&D Accomplishments in 2011

Acquisition , Agile , Architecture Documentation , Binaries , Cyber-physical Systems , Fuzzy Hashing , Handheld Devices , Malware , Measurement & Analysis , Resilience Management Model (RMM) , Safety-Related Requirements , Security-Related Requirements , Software Cost Estimates , Team Software Process (TSP) , Technical Debt 1 Comment »

By Douglas C. Schmidt
Chief Technology Officer

Douglas C. SchmidtA key mission of the SEI is to advance the practice of software engineering and cyber security through research and technology transition to ensure the development and operation of software-reliant Department of Defense (DoD) systems with predictable and improved quality, schedule, and cost. To achieve this mission, the SEI conducts research and development (R&D) activities involving the DoD, federal agencies, industry, and academia. One of my initial blog postings summarized the new and upcoming R&D activities we had planned for 2011. Now that the year is nearly over, this blog posting presents some of the many R&D accomplishments we completed in 2011.

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The Growing Importance of Sustaining Software for the DoD

Software Assurance , Software Cost Estimates , Software Product Lines , Software Sustainment 11 Comments »

Part 1: Software Sustainment Trends and Challenges
By Douglas C. Schmidt,
Deputy Director, Research, and Chief Technology Officer

Department of Defense (DoD) programs have traditionally focused on the software acquisition phase (initial procurement, development, production, and deployment) and largely discounted the software sustainment phase (operations and support) until late in the lifecycle.  The costs of software sustainment are becoming too high to discount since they account for 60 to 90 percent of the total software lifecycle effort. Moreover, in an era where DoD new-start programs are being reduced in favor of prolonging legacy systems, significant software sustainment cost increases are themselves unsustainable. The growing expense and prolonging of legacy systems motivates the need for greater discipline and attention on defining and applying appropriate methods and technologies to improve sustainment capabilities and efficiencies.  This SEI blog posting—the first in a two part series—summarizes key software sustainment challenges faced by DoD; the subsequent post describes R&D activities conducted by the SEI to address some of these challenges.

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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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