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Life Cycle Cost Estimation of System of Systems

Life Cycle Cost Track

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Mark Maier’s System of Systems definition [Maier 1998] dis-integrates systems from SoS. In that it calls each individual system as Constituent System (CS) which is independently developed, and managed. But new CS are often added into SoS in different time frame, with many COTS products and these CS can dynamically come and go.

The challenge that estimators face is how to estimate such System of Systems (SoS)? Does the equation, Estimated Cost of CS-A + Estimated Cost of CS-B = Estimated cost of SoS

Still apply when it comes to estimating SoS ?

This paper details the cost estimation process for System of Systems (SoS) using Unmanned Battlefield Reconnaissance (UBR) scenario. The paper details based on some of the top estimator’s pains in doing estimation for System of Systems. These pains are:

• What are the major cost attributes for SoS?
• How do I defend my SoS estimates?
• How do I proceed when as an estimator I don’t even know the new technology neither I have many data points to search nor there are many engineers familiar with the SoS?
• How do I take in to consideration of failure rates for interconnection and estimate for spares etc.? The SoS I have been asked to estimate has multiple systems, I need to not only estimate cost of each system but also of interconnection between these systems.
• How do I allocate estimated cost in to different funding buckets? I have no knowledge of any funding profile.
• How do I estimate the CS deployment within a SoS as well total ownership cost is unclear?.
• How do I create a bid which takes in to account the entire life cycle cost of my part of CS in SoS environment? As a supplier I have been tasked to create a winning bid on a Constituent System (CS) whose requirements are completely unclear (Pre Milestone A, DoD-5002i kind of situation).
• How do I apply risk and at what level?

These are just a few of the questions and challenges that estimators face when estimating SOS. Using an Unmanned Battlefield Reconnaissance (UBR) example, (UBR consists of three major components, namely Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Unmanned Ground Vehicle and Ground Control Station.) Each of these CS contains multiple Discrete Components (Hardware, Software, IT etc.), some of these Discrete Components (DCs) are COTS based, some are desgined and manufactured .
This paper will demonstrate through a hypothetical scenario, where different DOD components are building functions (capability) using Constituent Systems (CS), the processes to be followed to address the estimating pains of these DoD components as well as the subcontractors responsible for bidding on the Constituent Systems (CS).
The paper than makes recommendations on Cost and Schedule estimates for SoS.


Kishore Gagrani
PRICE Systems
Kishore has over 18 years of experience on multiple functional areas including Computer hardware design engineering , Software systems engineering, Information Technology, Systems cost estimation and analysis and Software Product Management. He is currently product manager for TruePlanning , PRICE Systems’ flagship product for cost estimation.
Kishore is on NDIA-Systems Engineering committee for Mission Analysis. He has contributed towards INCOSE’s Leading Systems Engineering Indiactors from cost and affordability perspective.
Kishore completed his graduation with a Bachelors Degree in Electronics Engineering and MBA in Management of Technology from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark, NJ. Kishore is a certified Pragmatic Product Manager.

Manmeet Grover
Manmeet Grover is independent consultant; he worked as Senior Cost Analyst at the Textron Defense System. In that Capacity he has developed cost models for the emerging programs at TDS, conducted affordability analysis, should cost analysis for production contracts. Prior to working as cost analyst he was Senior Product Design Engineer at TDS. Mr. Grover has extensive knowledge of SMT manufacturing process. He earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University.

Yousuf Mohammed
Yousuf Mohammed did his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University and is working on his PhD (Part-Time). He is also a full-time Mechanical Engineer working for Modern Machine & Tool Co. His interests include CAE, simulation, statistical analysis and cost estimation.