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Determining Cost Estimating Relationships for Nine FAA Solution Development Elements

Applications Track



The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for management of our National Airspace System, which requires massive amounts of software development and maintenance. The writing and testing of large-scale software is expensive and involves many substantial costs in addition to the development of the basic software itself. In an effort to improve financial management practices within the FAA, new Cost Estimating Relationships (CERs) were determined for nine FAA Work Breakdown Structure elements pertaining to software development and delivery life cycles activities. CERs are regression equations are typically based on normalized actual costs of prior analogous software development. However, these new CERs are based on budget Resource Planning Documents (RPD) data instead of actual costs because the RPDs are the largest set of well-maintained cost data available within the FAA. Depending on CER hypothesis, the source data is derived from 52 to 83 FAA program RPDs of small (<$1M) to large (>$500M) life cycle value…We show the methodology, regression results and statistical accuracy of new CERs available for the FAA to use in estimating costs for nine WBS elements of software development. The determination of these CERs from using deductions about the data variables may be considered, from a purely mathematics perspective, as a regularized ill-posed and ill-conditioned inverse modeling problem in calculating the values of the CER parameters obtained from the planned budget (not actuals) data.


William S. Barfield
Quantech Services
Bill has several decades working in basic R&D, information systems, and defense acquisition for Federal and corporate clients. An Air Force veteran in electronics maintenance management and a research scientist in Navy underwater acoustics, he is also experienced in software development and in providing software cost estimation for the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, OSD/Health Affairs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration, and Missile Defense Agency. Bill has a Master of Science in Technology Management from University of Maryland University College, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Old Dominion University, and is SCEA certified. Just as important, he is a volunteer leader in his community, plays a lot of soccer, grows a good garden, and encourages his two sons in their many sports and his daughter to finish her PhD.