Enhanced Scenario-Based Method for Cost Risk Analysis: Theory, Application, and Implementation

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Enhanced Scenario-Based Method for Cost Risk Analysis: Theory, Application, and Implementation

Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics

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In 2006, the scenario-based method was introduced as an alternative to advanced statistical methods for generating measures of cost risk. Since then, enhancements to the scenario-based method have been made. These include integrating historical cost performance data into the scenario-based method’s algorithms and providing a context for applying the scenario-based method from the perspective of the 2009 Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act. Together, these improvements define the enhanced the scenario-based method. The enhanced scenario-based method is a historical data-driven application of scenario-based method. This article presents enhanced scenario-based method theory, application, and implementation. With today’s emphasis on affordability-based decision-making, the enhanced scenario-based method promotes realism in estimating program costs by providing an analytically traceable and defensible basis behind data-derived measures of risk and cost estimate confidence.


Paul R. Garvey is Chief Scientist for the Center for Acquisition and Systems Analysis – a Division of The MITRE Corporation. He has nearly 30 years of experience in systems cost analysis, uncertainty analysis, and in the application of risk-decision analytic methods to a variety of problems in the federal government. He is the author of over 25 peer-reviewed publications and three textbooks: Probability Methods for Cost Uncertainty Analysis, 2000, Analytical Methods for Risk Management, 2008, and Advanced Risk Analysis in Engineering Enterprise Systems, 2012. These works are from Chapman-Hall/CRC-Press, Taylor & Francis Group. Dr. Garvey has an A.B. and M.Sc. in pure and applied mathematics from Boston College and Northeastern University. He earned a Ph.D. in engineering systems risk analysis and decision theory from Old Dominion University (ODU) and was awarded a doctoral dissertation medal from the faculty of the College of Engineering.

Brian J. Flynn is a Technomics Senior Cost Analyst Brian J. Flynn is based at the firm’s Arlington, Virginia, headquarters where he supports national security efforts and, more specifically, the Naval Center for Cost Analysis, NCCA. Before joining the firm in 2012, Dr. Flynn worked in NCCA as a plank owner and more recently as Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Cost and Economics). He served simultaneously as Study Director and U.S. DoD representative of aNATO/Partnership for Peace task group on independent cost estimating and capability portfolio analysis. A recognized leader in the international defense community, Dr. Flynn received the Department of the Navy’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest honorary award the Secretary of the Navy can confer on a civilian employee, as well as the Superior Civilian Service Award and the Meritorious Civilian Service Award. Dr. Flynn holds a Ph.D. in Economics, with distinction, from Georgetown University and M.A. and B.A. degrees in Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Most importantly of all, Dr. Flynn has undying pride in his service, over a generation ago, in the United States Marine Corps. Semper Fidelis.

Peter J. Braxton is a Senior Cost Analyst and Technical Officer at Technomics, Inc., where he currently 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 (CCEATM) 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®) 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. This is his first journal article.

Richard C. Lee received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He joined the Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory at the same institution and started his graduate studies on modeling and simulation of terrain profile models using numerical methods and vehicle dynamics. He received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in the spring of 2009. He is a member of the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association (ICEAA) (formerly the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis (SCEA)), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). A Cost Analyst at Technomics, Inc., he has supported the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (OSD CAPE), the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics (ODASA-CE), the Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA), and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) 05C on projects spanning Earned Value Management (EVM) analysis, data collection and cost research, risk analysis, and estimate development. He is a Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst.