Logapps delivered a Life Cycle Cost Estimate to support the business case for the SEVIS Modernization program

 

Introduction

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system that tracks and monitors visa admission for non-immigrant student exchange visitors and their dependents in the United States. These students and their dependents are monitored throughout the duration of their participation in the U.S. education system or designated exchange visitor program. While SEVIS is generally considered a successful system, it has required many updates and repairs since implementation. SEVIS Modernization (SEVIS II) will fully replace SEVIS by providing significant new and enhanced functionalities. These functionalities will greatly improve the system while eliminating vulnerabilities and addressing future needs. The client required a Life Cycle Cost Estimate (LCCE) to support the business case for SEVIS II, and to justify the funding of SEVIS II investment for future fiscal years.

Approach

Logapps used COCOMO II and TruePlanning models as the estimation framework for an LCCE and Basis of Estimate. These estimates documented cost elements from Planning, Acquisition, and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) activities for SEVIS (the legacy system) and SEVIS II. The data collected for analysis came from many different sources, including a variety of organizations, Subject Matter Experts, as well as the client. During interviews with the client, they pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of SEVIS. With this information, Logapps compiled the results of the data-gathering process to develop ground rules and assumptions for the estimation process. 

To develop a size estimate for SEVIS II, Logapps used function point analysis to translate system functionality into Source Lines of Code. The team heavily leveraged parametric cost models and risk tools, including PRICE Systems’ TruePlanning, COCOMO II, and Crystal Ball, which allow for easy data management, verification of results, and ease of documentation, all in compliance with the GAO cost estimating guidelines. COCOMO II and TruePlanning use mathematical relationships and historical data analysis to measure and estimate costs associated with the Planning, Acquisition, and O&M activities for SEVIS II. Furthermore, these tools allow hardware, software, information technology (IT), and customized cost elements to be integrated throughout all system development life cycle phases. With the speed and validity of TruePlanning, the estimation team met an aggressive analysis schedule. Thus, this type of approach is well suited for quick-turn, what-if drills and risk assessments. To address the major risks associated with the estimate–including requirements stability, labor rates, development team capability, and performance-based acquisition–Logapps conducted a Monte Carlo analysis, which quantified the sensitivity impacts of key cost drivers.

Impact

The TruePlanning modeling approach improved speed, accuracy, transparency, and standardization of the cost estimation process. After extensive research, interviews, and data collection, Logapps provided a well-supported and documented LCCE, which enabled the client to communicate a realistic view of the likely cost and schedule outcomes, as well as make credible and ultimately justified the funding of a SEVIS II investment for future fiscal years.

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