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Estimating Software Maintenance Costs for U.S. Army Weapons Systems

Life Cycle Cost Track



The emerging defense economic environment is characterized by scarce resources, extended system life cycles, and evolving mission capability requirements. As a result, the Army’s investment in software maintenance, sustaining engineering, and operational support efforts is coming under increased scrutiny by decision makers at all levels. Of particular interest is the validity and defensibility of the estimates used to determine, allocate, and evaluate the value of software maintenance funds.

This presentation provides a review of the findings from an ongoing U.S. Army study that is focused on developing improved software maintenance estimation processes, cost relationships, and associated models. The foundation for the study is the collection and analysis of software maintenance and sustaining engineering cost data from operational U.S. Army and Air Force weapons systems programs. The data includes quantitative cost-effort-product output data as well as program and organizational context data that can potentially be used to explain estimation variances and uncertainties not fully addressed by current software maintenance estimation methods.

The presentation will address several key aspect of software maintenance study data collection and analysis, including: 1) a summary of the limitations of current software maintenance estimation methods, 2) how the software maintenance work actually being performed differs from what is currently included in the Army’s estimates, 3) an overview of the availability, integrity, and usability of software maintenance data required to calibrate and develop improved estimation models, 4) projected software maintenance estimation model requirements and characteristics, and 5) a summary of key software maintenance cost drivers and cost relationships.

A long term objective of the study is to develop objective relationships between software maintenance investment and resultant mission capability. The foundation for this will be a set of revised cost estimation techniques that better describes the changing Army economic and mission environment.

Participants will be requested to provide feedback to proposed data collection elements and estimation methods and models.


Cheryl Jones

James Judy

Brad Clark