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Understanding the Sensitivity of PRICE and SEER to the Software Development Project CSCI Architecture

Software Track

Downloadable Files:

SW-4 Turnau Paper Sensitivity CSCI Arch


Software development effort is often estimated using commercial tools such as PRICE and SEER. Obtaining accurate estimates is an important key to program planning and control. Size inputs are organized into Computer Software Configuration Items (CSCIs) and Computer Software Components (CSCs) typically based on the architecture designed by the systems engineering team. Often times when a third party is performing an independent cost estimate, access to information at the CSCI level is not provided.
Without this information, the third party analysts must make assumptions about the architecture.

This paper will explore both PRICE and SEER’s sensitivity to the way a release’s CSCIs are set up. Being aware of this sensitivity will encourage the analyst to put due diligence into modeling with realistic inputs and also to better understand the accuracy and variability of the estimate.


Abbey Turnau
Abbey R. Turnau graduated from Virginia Tech in 2004, with a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a minor in business. In 2005, Abbey joined Northrop Grumman as an operations researcher performing cost analysis for the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA). She also works on a team conducting Independent Cost Evaluations and proposal support throughout Northrop Grumman.