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Estimate Review Checklists

10 Step Estimating Process Checklists

Checklists can play an important role in repeatable processes.  Here is a basic set of checklists from my book.  These should be tuned to the individual organization’s needs.

STEP 1: Establish Estimate Scope and Purpose

  • Identify the Scope; is this an Estimate at complete (EAC), and estimate to complete (ETC) . . . Also, is integration of this software to other software included? If so, list the other programs that it integrates with that are included here. A portion of SEIT?
  • Define the purpose of the estimate (to determine cost, schedule, staffing . . .)
  • Point of Contact: establish one or more points of contact: technical data, contract data, requirements information . . .

STEP 2: Establish Technical Baseline, Ground Rules and Assumptions

  • Technical baseline. This description will be used as the WBS structure to enter into SEER-SEM.
    • This must include at a minimum each CSCI, their relationship to each other and the outside world (integration), and any currently planned builds/deliveries. Builds/deliveries must be clearly identified, non-delivered builds are much less expensive than actual deliveries.
  • Ground rules:a list of all the known conditions surrounding the development (e.g. developer must use DO178b . . .)
  • Assumptions:a list of all the information necessary to complete an estimate, but not available to the analyst (e.g. hardware will be available when needed . . .)

STEP 3: Collect Data

  • Customize the SEER-SEM data collection worksheets. (i.e. fill in all the parameters that you can using the available documentation so as to minimize the time required from the customer.)
  • Complete the customized SEER-SEM data collection worksheets for each CSCI (major computer program)
  • Review the data for reasonableness
  • Re-check any parameters in question with the contractor/developer (if possible)

STEP 4: Software Sizing

  • Size estimate for all new software to be developed (least, likely, and most). (Make sure the SLOC or Function Point definition is clear)
  • Size actuals/estimate for all pre-existing code to be used
  • ReWork parameters evaluated for all pre-existing software
  • All COTS software identified
  • Secondary methodology used for the size estimates
  • Growth factors applied to size estimates
  • Any prototyped code identified

STEP 5: Prepare the Baseline Estimate

  • Enter all the data in SEER-SEM
  • Input notes for each parameter (even if the note says KBase used)
  • Analyst review the inputs to make sure they are correct
  • Analyst review the outputs to make sure things look right. (This will be done in MUCH more detail in Step 7)
  • Analyst and developing contractor together review the inputs (if possible) to either make sure the 2 parties are in agreement, of the differences are documented
  • In a spreadsheet (or similar document) make a comparison of this baseline estimate to the previous one. (if one exists). Note the differences between each estimate. (Use Estimate Track.xls as a basis for the format.)

STEP 6: Quantify Risks and Risk Analysis

  • List all the Risks associated with the development of each CSCI (major software program)
  • Determine which risks will be included in the estimate (document these decisions in the Ground Rules and Assumptions)
  • Decide how to “show/brief” the risks: all included in the estimate; included in the estimate one at a time to show the potential impact of each risk individually . . .

STEP 7: Estimate Validation and Review Checklist
(This is just a checklist to review the estimate, not the actual estimate process.)

  • Productivity:does the estimated productivity look reasonable within the industry standards and the developing organizations current ability
  • Staffing: can/will the developing organization be able to meet the estimated required staffing plan currently and in the future
  • Size:have the size estimates been checked for reasonableness and is growth included
  • Top 10 Cost Drivers:do the top 10 cost drivers match the program (i.e. if Security is a top cost driver, does the program indeed require security . . .)
  • Schedule: if the schedule doesn’t fit into the “master” schedule for the program, what has been done
  • Risk: have risks been identified and included in the estimate. Also check the risk/confidence level used to create the estimate
  • Cost: if cost is being used, has the labor rate been verified and a list of costs/included been checked

STEP 8: Prepare a project plan based on the estimate
          (SEER-SEM Client for Microsoft Project is the tool to do this.)

STEP 9: Document the estimate and the lessons learned

  • Verify that each parameter selected has an associated note/rationale
  • If there is more than one version of the estimate, verify that each are properly documented
  • Make sure the ground rules and assumptions are attached to the estimate
  • Document any special circumstances surrounding the estimate (e.g. estimate done for schedule only . . .)

STEP 10: Track the project throughout the development

  • Collect the required data using the SEER-PPMC Metrics Collection data form
  • Using your baseline estimate, enter the data collected above into SEER-PPMC
  • Present and use the data as required by your program

Download a copy of this check list.

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