NewsBrief: November 10, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 10, 2023

HS2 designer blames frequent cost rises on ‘overengineering’ of project

(New Civil Engineer) Andrew McNaughton, now chairman of Network Rail High Speed, made his claims to the Transport Committee yesterday, 8 November, in an evidence gathering session about whether the decision to cancel HS2 was correct. In 2019, the estimated budget for HS2 Phase 1 was set at £35-45bn, Phase 2a was £5.2-7.2bn and Phase 2b was £15-22bn, which is a total of £55.2-74.2bn. This was an increase from £37.5bn set for the whole project in 2013. All the estimates were compounded when Doug Oakervee’s 2019 independent review into the line stated the cost could exceed £106bn. Read More

The White House launches a contractor initiative centered on better data and performance

(Government Executive) The Biden administration unveiled a new plan to find contract savings and better performance for the federal government. Dubbed the Better Contracting Initiative, the policy from the Office of Management and Budget continues the White House’s push for agencies to gain value from enterprise acquisition practices. “While federal agencies have unique needs and purchase highly-customized items, such as fighter jets and space telescopes, most of the goods and services purchased by agencies are common commercial items that most agencies use – such as IT hardware and software, facilities maintenance, and package delivery services,” an OMB statement said. Read More

Biden wants better deals from contractors

(NextGov/FCW) The Biden administration is looking for better deals on products and services supplied by federal contractors. The Better Contracting Initiative unveiled Wednesday looks to leverage the size and scope of the federal enterprise to obtain lower prices on commonly used goods and services, including enterprisewide licensing deals on software. The effort is being launched, in part, because contractor margins at some of the largest companies doing business with the government are “historically high,” according to a fact sheet on the initiative. Read More

Biden administration’s digital experience policy is a ’10-year revenue roadmap’ for vendors, federal CIO says

(FedScoop) The Office of Management and Budget’s recent guidance on digital experience is not only meant to transform how the federal government interacts with Americans online — it also serves as a revenue blueprint for industry, laying out the exact digital products and services that federal agencies are going to buy over the next decade, according to the nation’s top federal IT official. Federal CIO Clare Martorana on a recent episode of the Daily Scoop Podcast said the digital experience guidance “is really a framework that reflects the opportunity for a 10-year revenue stream.” Read More

Machine learning gives users ‘superhuman’ ability to open and control tools in virtual reality

(Science Daily) Researchers have developed a virtual reality application where a range of 3D modelling tools can be opened and controlled using just the movement of a user’s hand. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, used machine learning to develop ‘HotGestures’ — analogous to the hot keys used in many desktop applications. HotGestures give users the ability to build figures and shapes in virtual reality without ever having to interact with a menu, helping them stay focused on a task without breaking their train of thought. Read More

The Real Measure of Presentation Success

(MIT Sloan Management Review) Historically, it’s been tough to quantify the success of events, presentations, and speeches. We’ve long known that the spoken word is a powerful tool for influence and action, but how do you measure that power? When many organizations flipped from in-person to virtual and hybrid meetings and events, presentation analytics became a whole new ballgame. Speakers used to measure impact largely by surveying people and reading the literal room. While those forms of feedback still provide useful information about whether and how a message is landing, presenters now have many other metrics they can use. Read More

NASA’s new streaming service is here. More space. More science. More NASA.

( NASA’s new streaming service is here. More space. More science. More NASA. The new ad-free, no cost, family-friendly streaming service launched Nov. 8. Explore our Emmy-Award-winning live coverage and go behind the scenes with our scientists and engineers through original shows and 65 years of classic NASA footage. NASA has elevated its digital platforms for the benefit of all by revamping its flagship and science websites, adding its first on-demand streaming service, and upgrading the NASA app. With these changes, everyone will have access to a new world of content from the space agency. Visit to explore! Read More

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