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A Perception-based Assessment of Systems Engineering Effort Estimation Open Access

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The adoption and use of systems engineering effort estimates is largely dependent on whether systems engineering decision makers have confidence in the estimates. To provide a valuable contribution to the management and planning of systems engineering, systems engineers need to believe the estimate is an accurate representation of the systems engineering work to be performed and the systems engineering manager must have confidence in the estimate representing a close proximity of actual systems engineering effort from which they can reliably construct a sound budget and plan. This research baselines the systems engineering community's activities, perceptions, and confidence related to systems engineering estimation; and assesses the maturity of system size measures and cost drivers of systems engineering used as key factors in generating systems engineering estimates.Overall the findings indicate a lack of confidence in systems engineering estimation, size measures and cost drivers early in the systems development life cycle. The systems engineering community perceives the maturity of the four size measures and the fourteen cost drivers are too immature to support the generation of a `useable' estimate when the estimate is most needed to support systems engineering effort estimation and planning. The systems engineering community perceives that it is not until the system development has reached detailed design that the four size measures and the fourteen cost drivers reach sufficient maturity to support credible estimation.

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