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Turning Avoidable Guidelines Into Sensible Requirements
– Credible Space Cost Estimating Policy

Management & Lessons Learned Track

Downloadable Files:

M&LL-9 Hardash Paper Turning Avoidable Guidelines

M&LL-9A Hardash Paper Turning Avoidable Guidelines


In the last five years NASA has experienced a renaissance in cost estimating. The small but remarkable crew of remaining estimators at the Agency started an effort to rebuild the cost estimating capability at all of the Centers, including NASA Headquarters. This involved growing the number of trained cost estimators, educating cost estimating customers and providing guidance on the discipline of cost estimating at NASA. Without these three components credible cost estimates within NASA would not be possible. Five years later, with a robust cadre of trained estimators, how has the cost estimating message been delivered to customers? How have all of the Centers come to agreement on the guidance for their estimates, providing the consistency that leads to the credibility of recent NASA cost estimates? One of the most visible tools that has increased estimating credibility at NASA is the Cost Estimating Handbook (CEH). First published in 2002 and now in revision for the third edition, the NASA CEH has captured inputs from all of the NASA Centers and found consensus on how cost estimates should be conducted at NASA. This paper focuses on the methods and tools that have taken the initial “avoidable guidelines” initially found at NASA and transformed them into sensible cost estimating requirements that the NASA cost estimating community can follow. This paper will discuss how communication between the Centers led to consistency in requirements and cost estimates, resulting in credible cost estimates at NASA.


Jill Hardash
Jill A-C Hardash has more than 15 years of experience providing economic and business analysis services for space systems and other large programs to the Department of Defense, NASA and the space industry worldwide. Her expertise is in project management, cost and economic policy and financial management of large public sector programs. She has extensive experience in cost estimating and analysis, Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD) development, CADRe requirements development, acquisition management, business and financial management, Scheduling and Earned Value Management (EVM) support and the Planning Programming, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES) process. Other professional accomplishments include being selected as a Regional Finalist for the White House Fellows Program, earning her Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification and being hand selected for high visibility studies such as the Air Force Space Systems Development Growth Analysis and the Space Research and Development Industrial Base Assessment conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton. She is the primary author of the 2002 and 2004 NASA Cost Estimating Handbook, the 2005 Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Cost Estimating Handbook and the Australian Department of Defence Cost Estimating Method. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Booz Allen Hamilton Values In Practice (VIP) award. She earned a BA in Business Management with a minor in Economics from Loyola Marymount University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.