Desired Characteristics of a Senior Cost Estimator
This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the skills, strategy, and work style of a Senior Cost Estimator. Our purpose is to encourage younger Estimators to proactively improve their knowledge, methods, and inter-personal skills, thereby
increasing their value to the organization. Management relies on the contributions of Estimators in making sound business decisions.
Professional work style.
The senior estimator lives a work style which exemplifies teamwork, effective communication, creative problem- solving, and integrity. They find a way to overcome obstacles which
would defeat less experienced estimators. They inspire others and build a team, while developing high-integrity estimates.
The purpose of cost estimates and analyses is to support our customers toward sound business decisions. These decisions include go/no-go, bid/no-bid, proposal pricing, competitive strategies, design-cost trades, Congressional funding levels, and a host of other cost and pricing issues.
Superior information, well presented, increases the likelihood of program success. Consequently, the cost estimator’s worth to the organization rises as he/she prepares and presents information which is easily understood, well substantiated, and supportive to the business decision. The seasoned estimator holds a coveted position as business strategist and trusted advisor to the business head and Government customer.
Techniques and tools.
These skills include the important knowledge and tools that a senior cost estimator would be expected to master. These areas include functional work experience, estimating tools, methodology, data collection, related training, and certifications. Successful integration of these skills enables the estimator to be recognized as a Subject Matter Expert, and then assist professional colleagues.
Survey of senior cost estimating experts.
To lend credibility to this paper, the authors surveyed twenty senior cost estimators with estimating experience in both aerospace and non-aerospace industries. The authors relied on their relevant cost experience to evaluate qualities which should be evidenced by a successful senior cost estimator. The survey results are depicted in this paper, with Pareto graphs providing the rankings for fifty-three Senior Cost Estimator traits.
Hollis Black has been with Boeing for 26 years, and assumed his current position as Parametric Estimating lead for missile and spaces systems, Huntsville, in 1990. In recent years he led estimating teams for projects such as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, High Energy Upper Stage, missile weapon systems, and launch vehicles. He provides subject-matter-expert (SME) advice to colleagues across Boeing, with emphasis on history-based estimates, parametric methods, and cost risk analysis. He has recently presented papers on these subjects to SSCAG, ISPA, SCEA, AIAA, and NCMA. He earned an MBA from the University of Texas in 1967; and holds CMA and CCEA certifications.
Harold Bodin has over 19 years of diverse experience in Aerospace cost estimating, the last 11 years with Boeing, Huntsville. In recent years he has focused on parametric cost estimating, proposal BOEs, risk analysis, and integrated cost models such as SEER, PRICE, and NAFCOM. Program experience includes Space Station, X-34, Orbital Transfer Vehicles, Russian MIR Payloads, Microgravity Experiments, Joint Common Missile, and National Missile Defense. He earned a BSBA from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1981, with a minor in Economics
Michael Herrington has over 28 years of broad experience in Aerospace cost estimating, and has been with Boeing for 24 years. In recent years he led estimating teams for projects such as the Space Shuttle, Tomahawk, NATO Missile Defense, Hellfire, Patriot, and Integrated Battlefield Command Systems. He has led numerous process teams for estimating procedures, compliance, basis of estimates, and risk mitigation. In addition to cost volume leadership, he has led red and blue teams. He has diverse experience with parametric models such as PRICE, SEER, ACE-IT, and Crystal Ball. He earned an MBA from the University of San Diego in 1987, and BSIM from Georgia Tech in 1979.