Quantifying Uncertainty in Early Lifecycle Cost Estimation
Software Engineering Institute
By 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. In today's podcast episode, Jim McCurley and Robert Stoddard discuss a new method developed by the SEI's Software Engineering Measurement and Analysis (SEMA) team, Quantifying Uncertainty in Early Lifecycle Cost Estimation (QUELCE). QUELCE is a method for improving pre-Milestone A software cost estimates through research designed to improve judgment regarding uncertainty in key assumptions (called "program change drivers"), the relationships among the program change drivers, and their impact on cost.