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Software Maintenance: Recommendations for Estimating and Data Collection

Information Technology Track


IT-3 – Paper – Improved Method for Predicting Software Effort and Schedule

IT-3 – Presentation – Improved Method for Predicting Software Effort and Schedule

IT-3 – Paper – Improved Method for Predicting Software Effort and Schedule

IT-3 – Handout – Improved Method for Predicting Software Effort and Schedule


Entering a period of fiscal austerity, it becomes more important than ever to estimate and consider operating and support (O&S) costs, which represent the lion’s share of life cycle cost (LCC) for most platforms, during acquisition. Given the ubiquity of software in today’s complex programs, a key component of O&S is software maintenance. This paper will discuss our work to understand the process of software maintenance, data collected and normalized to date, and resultant benchmarks for use in developing and cross-checking software maintenance estimates. It represents an update to “Software Maintenance Data Collection and Estimating Challenges” (Welker, et al., SCEA/ISPA, 2012).

The Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA) joined the other service cost agencies, Air Force Cost Analysis Agency (AFCAA) and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics (ODASA-CE), two years ago to study software maintenance and gather data to improve our cost estimates. After actively gathering data, engaging in a dialogue with data providers to increase our understanding and discussing this topic with different government and contractor agencies, the study is inexorably gaining traction. Data gathered to date does not lend itself toward straightforward cost estimating relationship (CER) equations with low coefficients of variation (CVs), but rather it presents wide-ranging interpretations of software maintenance. This paper will present the summary metrics derived from the collected data and discuss important issues that arose.

Historically, software maintenance metrics have been locally determined to justify budgets. The NCCA software maintenance study team is working with the other service cost agencies to establish operations and support metrics aligned with software maintenance activities. The identification of these activities is guided by standards and literature, including: The International Standard for Software Engineering — Software Life Cycle Processes — Maintenance (ISO/IEC 14764: 2006), which describes three maintenance areas occurring after software delivery: adaptive, corrective, and perfective; and Donald Reifer’s 2011 book entitled Software Maintenance Success Stories, which proposed two additional areas: preventive and platform. The team will discuss the impacts of these measurement issues on software maintenance cost estimation.

Furthermore, the ad hoc data collection efforts, in turns frustrating and rewarding, highlighted the need for more standardized, systematic, and cyclical data collection in the area of software maintenance. The study team is pursuing opportunities to improve data collection via some combination of the services’ Visibility and Management of Operations and Support Costs (VAMOSC) databases; the Cost and Software Data Reporting (CSDR) efforts of the Defense Cost and Resource Center (DCARC), including Software Resources Data Reports (SRDRs) and/or DD Form 1921-4 for capturing Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) costs; and the annual budgeting processes of various commands. The paper will report on the status of these efforts and provide recommendations to inform future progress in software maintenance data collection.


Corinne Wallshein
Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA)
Dr. Corinne Wallshein is the Technical Advisor for the Information Technology (IT) Estimating Division at the Naval Center for Cost Analysis to develop and defend independent cost estimates and assessments for major Department of Navy acquisition programs. Prior to her current position, Dr. Wallshein was a Branch Chief leading cost analysis in the IT Division at the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency.

Bruce Parker
Naval Center for Cost Analysis
The Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA) is within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Cost and Economics. Mr. Parker is the head of the Cost Research Brach and is responsible for identifying cost research needs, developing and coordinating the Navy cost research program, and leading cost research studies.
Mr. Parker has 28+ years of cost estimating experience in the Navy. Prior to joining NCCA in 2011, he was the Division Director for Combat and Weapons Systems for the Cost Engineering and Industrial Analysis Group at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). In that position, he led a government and contractor team in cost estimating and cost analysis for programs under NAVSEA’s authority.
Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.

Vanessa V. Welker
Technomics, Inc.
Vanessa Welker (née Virtudazo) is a senior cost analyst at Technomics, Inc. and has eleven years experience in the cost analysis and estimation associated with development, production, and operations and support (O&S) of weapons systems. Since joining Technomics in August 2009, she has supported various DoD and Government clients such as the US Navy, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). She currently supports Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA) on various research projects. Ms. Welker started her cost analysis career in August 2002 at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division through the Naval Acquisition Intern Program where she gained practical experiences in cost estimating through the rotational assignments with various Navy organizations. Throughout her career with the Navy, she primarily supported major defense acquisition program offices. She served as the cost lead for the DDG 1000 composite deckhouse and deputy cost lead to the Sea-Based Strategic Deterrent (SBSD) Analysis of Alternative (AoA).
Ms. Welker earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1999 and her Master’s of Engineering degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2004. She is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level III certified in Systems Planning, Research, Development, and Engineering (SPRDE) and a member of the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association (ICEAA).

Thomas Harless
Technomics, Inc.
Thomas Harless received his B.A. in Financial Economics and Econometrics in 2012 from the University of Virginia. He is a member of ICEAA and a cost analyst for Technomics, Inc. Over the past six months he has supported the Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA) on two projects, focusing on data collection and cost research within the fields of software maintenance and help desk operations.

Peter J. Braxton
Technomics, Inc.
Peter J. Braxton is a Senior Cost Analyst and Technical Officer at Technomics, Inc., where he supports the Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA) on data collection and cost research efforts, and Defense Acquisition University (DAU) on curriculum development.
He is a Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCEA) and currently serves as Body of Knowledge Chair for the the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association (ICEAA). He was named the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis (SCEA) 2007 Estimator of the Year for contributions in Education. He is the managing editor for development and maintenance of the acclaimed Cost Estimating Body of Knowledge (CEBoK(R)) and its predecessor, Cost Programmed Review Of Fundamentals (CostPROF). He served as SCEA’s Training Chair from 2004 to 2009 and as Training Track chair for nine consecutive SCEA international conferences. He has taught extensively at government, corporate, and society training events throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia.
He holds an AB in Mathematics from Princeton University and an M.S. in Applied Science (Operations Research) from the College of William and Mary. He is lead author or co-author of over two dozen professional papers on cost, risk, and Cost As an Independent Variable (CAIV), including three SCEA Best Paper winners and a Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics article.