ICEAA Cost Challenge

The teams competing in the 2023 ICEAA Cost Challenge faced a ponderous question: how much does our cycle through life cost? How will the cost curves change from milestone to milestone, from birth to death? What risks or uncertainty need to be considered? What outliers or other unexpected elements will impact the project we call being alive, and what external societal costs or circumstantial benefits should we consider when looking at, well, everything?

Our rising estimators defined their ground rules and assumptions, the context of their estimate, and presented in current fiscal year US dollars. Items that may have been taken into consideration are government assistance, taxes, US population, life expectancy, and elements surrounding education, health, occupation, lifestyle, or other statistics. Our teams presented their solutions for a panel of judges at the 2023 ICEAA Professional Development & Training Workshop, and encore presentations from three of our teams are below:


Team Quantech

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Team Augur

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Team Technomics:

Download slides (PDF)


At the 2023 ICEAA Professional Development & Training Workshop, on Wednesday, May 17, our teams will present their estimates to a panel of judges. As there is no one truly right answer to this challenge, judges will focus on the teams’ methodology, approach, and presentation skills rather than the absolute accuracy of the output. The winning team will be announced during the Closing General Session on Thursday, May 18.

The inaugural ICEAA Cost Challenge will provide an opportunity for teams of 3-5 junior estimators to learn from a hands-on exercise in data gathering, model building, cost estimating, and finally, presenting their findings to a panel of experts at the 2023 ICEAA Workshop. Our experts will ask questions of the participants and rate the presentations on methodology and approach, data analysis, innovation, their conclusion and supporting rationale, and finally their presentation skills. The winning team will be announced at the closing general session of the Workshop on Thursday, May 18 and awarded a $1,000 cash prize for the team!

The challenge will be somewhat abstract in nature, with no definitive “right answer.” Our judge’s focus will be more on how the teams approach the task of analyzing data and producing thorough, communicable estimates. Teams will send their materials in advance and then give a live presentation to our judges on Wednesday, May 17 that include:

• Team composition
• Planning and research
• Data sources
• Approaches to data gathering
• Ground rules & assumptions
• Normalization techniques
• Analysis of any economic trends
• Any uncertainty or risks associated with their estimate

A maximum of six teams will be comprised of 3-5 junior estimators (5 or fewer years of experience) and one optional mentor that may provide guidance and support but not actively participate in the project. Teams can be comprised of participants from one company or a collaborative effort among organizations. All team members will be required to attend the 2023 Professional Development & Training Workshop in San Antonio, and must be registered by May 1, 2023 or the team will be disqualified. ICEAA will award a $1,000 prize to the winning team to distribute among the participants as they choose.


March 31, 2023: Cost Challenge announced, team signup open

April 15, 2023: All teams must sign up by 9am (EDT) on April 15.  ICEAA will distribute the challenge questions and guidelines at noon (EDT) on April 15 to the first six teams who have entered to compete. No new teams may enter after the challenge information is distributed.

May 1, 2023: All members of competing teams must be registered for the 2023 ICEAA Professional Development & Training Workshop by May 1. Teams who are not fully registered by May 1 will be disqualified.

May 14, 2023: Teams will email their final presentation files (MS Office formats, including PowerPoint, Excel, Adobe PDF) to ICEAA.

May 17, 2023: Teams will present their estimates live to ICEAA’s panel of judges throughout the day on May 17. Workshop attendees are welcome to observe the presentations but will not be allowed to comment or ask questions.

May 18, 2023: The winning team will be announced and awarded a $1,000 cash prize at the closing general session for the 2023 ICEAA Workshop.