Quality Specialist Group - Advance Estimation Methods for Cost,Time and Qualities

Apr 30, 2018 · London, United Kingdom

If you are booking as a BCS Member please enter the promotional code of BCSMember please also ensure you provide your membership number when registering on the day 


If you book, and are unable to attend, please cancel your booking via the BCS site and also contact "Soheir Ghallab" , who is our committee member looking after Tom’s courses. There is normally a waiting list for Tom’s courses, 

Duration: 1 day 

Cost to attend:
BCS Members: Free of charge
Non-Members: £40.00  (including vat @ 20% )

This is a joint BCS Quality Specialist Group and YPG event.

 Please bring, if possible, a laptop or tablet etc so you can access fully the presentation.

 Please note no lunch will be provided 


Practical new tools for mastering all resources: short-term (during development), longer-term (lifetime technical debt). Money, Time and human resources.


Traditional cost estimation for IT Projects and Operational IT Systems fail us repeatedly and embarrass us.

My opinion is that this failure of us ‘keeping time and budget commitments’ is unnecessary. There are many well-proven, but too-little-known, methods to avoid the problem.

The ‘new’ estimation methods are simple common sense. Learn to live within your means.

We are going to present several, related and complimentary methods for mastery of the cost problem. These cost control methods are more-responsible and more-realistic than traditional failed methods. These new methods are more robust in the face of uncertainty, change and risks. These new cost-management methods are tightly tied to corresponding delivery of stakeholder value. It is structurally difficult to spend too much, and then not get value for money. 

1.1 Purposes: What are the real purposes of cost estimates?

  • Avoiding Budget overrun.
  • Avoiding Deadline overrun.
  • Competitive Fairness.
  • Getting Value for money: Profitability

1.2 Problems: What are the problems, difficulties and risks associated with cost estimations?

  • Changes and additions after the estimates.
  • Different Architecture and different architecture implementation.
  • Human capability differences in implementation
  • Estimation of too large delivery modules.
  • Motivation to increase earnings of suppliers
  • Hiding long-term operational costs by reducing short-term building costs

1.3 Tools: Overview of our multiple tools for estimation.

  • Decomposition into smaller value-delivery modules
  • Prioritization by value-for-money, and by risk levels
  • Design-to-Cost in the large (architecture)
  • Dynamic Design-to-Cost, after small feedback cycles with regard to value delivered, and costs incurred
  • Impact Estimation Tables: numeric engineering of multiple cost drivers, esp. qualities.

1.4 Experiences: and cases with our estimation methods. On time, Under Budget!

  •  IBM Cleanroom; Mills and Quinnan.
  • confirmit.com Quality Delivery and competitiveness for over a decade
  • Citigroup case: Richard Smith.
  • Others

1.5 Policies: Management Policies regarding estimation and cost management.

  • Values for costs management.
  • Small value-delivery management
  • Supplier Contracts adjusted based on incremental experience  


  • Value Prioritisation
  • Risk Management
  • Dynamic Design-to-Cost

1.6 Pitfalls and dangers

Pitfalls with conventional estimation methods

  • no quality (or ‘value’) quantified cost-driver management
  • no simultaneous consideration of multiple conflicting value or quality requirements
  • no differentiation between constraints and targets of critical cost drivers
  • reliance on volume of functions/function points/user stories/use cases as cost driver for estimating
  • no management of architecture costs

Pitfalls with any estimation method, including ours

  • failure to measure and pilot before scaling up
  • failure to control suppliers with smart contracts
  • failure to make sure that the ‘value actually delivered’, is the basis for deciding to continue, or give up,  the project
  • failure to plan, quantify and architect for long-term operational-costs and change-costs (technical debt management)

About Speaker: Tom Gilb Hon FBCS

 Tom Gilb joined IBM in 1958. He has been an international consultant and teacher for 55 years. Written 10 published books. Competitive Engineering (2005), and Value Planning (2016). Tom has developed advanced methods for developing systems of any kind, with emphasis on IT systems and High Quality systems.


He is Honorary Fellow of BCS. See www.Gilb.com


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