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Advancing the Art of Technology Cost Estimating- a Collaboration between NASA and Boeing

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Advancing the art of estimating the cost of developing technologies is a long term need for both government and industry. This paper describes a collaborative effort by Systems Engineers at Boeing and NASA resulting in cost estimating tools and analysis techniques that assist in evaluating the development cost of aerospace technologies.
Since 2003, Systems Engineers at Boeing Research & Technology and NASA-Glenn Research Center have teamed to apply Analogy and Parametric cost estimating methods and tools to evaluate technology development projects. The goal was to advance the art of cost estimating by engineers so as to meet the challenging task of analyzing a broad range of aerospace vehicle technologies that increase vehicle performance and meet aggressive cost targets. The collaboration resulted in the enhancement, testing, and application of the “Process-Based Economic Analysis Tool” (P-BEAT) to improve tool output and usability. This paper describes some of the features of this tool and its use by Boeing Affordability engineers in estimating the cost of Air Traffic Management (ATM) technologies.
The P-BEAT Excel™-based tool was designed by Boeing Rocketdyne for NASA-Glenn specifically to address inadequacies of commercial and public domain cost estimating tools and to meet the needs of engineers and technology strategic planners. Several unique features of P- BEAT will be illustrated that provide the capabilities needed to estimate the development cost of technologies at all levels of technology maturity. Example applications will describe how the tool was used to forecast relative costs of Boeing technology development projects that provide the best combination of benefit for funds invested. This paper will describe an application of P- BEAT to evaluate alternative Boeing Air Traffic Management (ATM) technology projects.
The results of Boeing’s application of P-BEAT in evaluating multiple ATM technologies were:
• A cost estimating technique that combines Analogy and Parametric estimating techniques to allow technologies at all levels of maturity to be estimated.
• Cost Estimating Relationships (CERs) that significantly decrease the time to estimate technology development costs. Key cost drivers studied were: Technology Readiness Level, design maturity, design team capability, and software and hardware complexity.
• A more analytical, less subjective and systematic set of methods and tools to prioritize funding of ATM technology projects based on relative costs and benefits of the projects.
• An Excel™ worksheet, developed by Boeing Research & Technology, that simplifies the use of more than 250 P-BEAT inputs to 10-20 inputs required for estimating technology development costs.
• Cost estimating methods to collect P-BEAT input data and rapidly analyze and perform sensitivity analyses to cost driver inputs.
• Documentation needed to train Affordability and Systems Engineers in using the cost estimating tools and techniques.
By using new technology cost estimating tools and skills described in this paper, Systems and Affordability Engineers can make significant contributions to the technology development process that assist in making best-value technology planning decisions.


Mark Schankman
Boeing Research & Technology
Mark Schankman is an Associate Technical Fellow- Affordability in the Cost & Affordability Analysis group of Boeing Research & Technology-St. Louis. He is serving as a technical leader of a 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 34 years at Boeing performing Systems Engineering in 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 programs in commercial and defense systems by evaluating “best value” alternative designs and technologies. This work draws upon Mark’s innovative cost modeling and analysis skills for which he has been awarded several Boeing awards. Mark is currently involved in a project to transfer technical and design definition data from Computed Aided Design systems into a high fidelity NASA cost tool to provide engineers with more timely cost estimates that are sensitive to technical attributes.
Mark has published and presented technical papers at Joint ISPA/SCEA Conferences, the Institute of Industrial Engineers International Symposium, and the Society of Logistics Engineers International Symposium. He won a “Best Paper” award at the Boeing Technical Excellence Conference in March 2005. He also has been a guest speaker and conducted workshops at the St. Louis chapter of the International Council of Systems Engineers (INCOSE).
Mark’s education includes a Master of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Washington University-St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Missouri Science & Technology University. Mark enjoys visiting area classrooms to encourage K-12 students’ interest in engineering and aerospace careers.

John Reynolds
NASA-Glenn Research Center
John Reynolds is an Affordability Analyst at NASA-Glenn Research Center. As a former member of the Systems Engineering and Software Development Group at Boeing-Rocketdyne, 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 the last ten years.
John has developed and conducted over 50 Affordability training workshops for Boeing Canoga Park, NASA GRC, NASA MSFC and NASA KSC personnel. He has co-authored the Boeing-Canoga Park Affordability Manual and provided Affordability and cost estimating support for development programs during his 10-years 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, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., and Aerojet.