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Identifying Best-Value Technologies Using Analogy-Based Cost Estimating Methods and Tools

Methods & Models Track

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Defense and Aerospace technology planners and engineers are faced with a challenging problem: how to select from many alternative technology research & development projects to provide the best value (meet needs at lowest cost). The problem is complex because:
• Defense and Aerospace needs depend on many performance requirements where each requirement requires the combination of several system attributes (eg, lethality, range, speed) each with a resulting cost impact.
• New technologies must be identified and developed to provide the required performance.
• The cost to develop these technologies is difficult to estimate due to inadequacies of existing cost estimating tools and methods.

This paper will describe how a decision analysis and cost estimating tool where developed and used by Boeing to evaluate technology R&D projects and identify best value alternatives. The methods used and incorporated into tools are: an improved Decision Analysis tool: “Value Front Tool (VFT)” and a new Cost Estimating tool: “Process Based Estimating Economic Analysis Tool (P-BEAT)”. This tool was found to be successful, used by Affordability engineers, to estimate the cost to mature technologies under consideration for R&D funding. The resulting costs are input to the Value Front Tool which graphically displays three factors needed by technology planners:
• The relative ability of each technology to meet a set of evaluation criteria representing both customer and company stakeholder needs. A utility score metric (a measure of satisfaction in meeting the needs) was derived and compared for each alternative.
• The cost to mature each technology through planned research and development activities.
• The uncertainty, at a given degree of confidence, for the set of utility score and cost predicted for each technology alternative.
An example application will be described that provide a disciplined decision making process relying on quantitative metrics to identify “best-value” technology alternatives. This new process and tools have the benefit of reducing reliance on subjective opinions as to the relative benefits of alternative technology development projects.
The P-BEAT that will be described is a tool funded and used by NASA-Glenn Research Agency. It was developed over the last 10 years by Boeing Affordability and Systems Engineers at Canoga Park CA. and St. Louis MO. This Excel based tool was designed specifically to address inadequacies of commercial tools to meet the needs of engineers and technology planners. This paper will illustrate several unique features of P-BEAT that provided the capabilities needed to estimate the development cost of alternative technologies. Several example applications of P-BEAT will be described that show how, when used by experienced Affordability engineers, the tool is a valuable addition to existing Systems Engineering tools to help engineers make decisions critical in the early phase of product life cycle affecting the life cycle cost and performance of systems and technologies


Mark Schankman
Mark S. Schankman is an Associate Technical Fellow – Affordability in the Affordability Analysis group of Phantom Works-St. Louis. He is serving as a technical leader of a Phantom Works core group responsible in developing and implementing “best practice” Cost and Affordability methods and tools on Boeing programs. This work draws upon Mark’s multi-disciplined experience during the past 32 years at Boeing in several technical disciplines: Affordability engineering, life cycle cost analysis, supportability analysis, operational cost-effectiveness assessment, air vehicle design, and environmental engineering.
In his current assignment, Mark is supporting Boeing production systems (e.g., F/A-18E/F, Ground Based Mid-Course Defense), and Research & Development studies in evaluating “best value” alternative designs and technologies.
Mark has published technical papers at the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis Conference (’98), Institute of Industrial Engineers International Symposium (’90), and the Society of Logistics Engineers International Symposium (’84). The later received the Outstanding Technical Paper from the St. Louis chapter of the Society of Logistics Engineers.
Mark’s education includes a Master of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Washington University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. Mark enjoys visiting area classrooms to encourage K-12 students’ interest in engineering and aerospace careers.

John Reynolds
John Reynolds is a member of the Technical Staff, Systems Engineering, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, CA. As a member of the Systems Engineering and Software Development Group, John served as the primary architect of the Process-Based Economic Analysis Tool (P-BEAT) and has been engaged with enhancing functionality and providing P-BEAT user support to NASA and Boeing for more than eight years.
John has developed and conducted over 50 Affordability training workshops for Boeing Canoga Park and NASA-KSC personnel. He has authored the Boeing-Canoga Park Affordability Manual and provided Affordability and cost estimating support for over 30 programs at Boeing-Canoga Park.
In his earlier career, John provided cost estimation consultation services to a variety of aerospace customers including Motorola, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Aerojet.