1633. Estimating Manhours Required to Perform the Mass Properties Task


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G W Balthrop, R E Johnston: 1633. Estimating Manhours Required to Perform the Mass Properties Task. In: 43rd Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, May 21-23, pp. 16, Society of Allied Weight Engineers, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, 1984.



Because of the nature of mass properties engineering as a specialized discipline within the spectrum of professional engineering. it has sometimes been said that the ideal mass properties specialist must be a performance engineer, a systems engineer, a design engineer, a structures engineer, as well as a computer applications engineer. It is also said that the mass properties engineer must at times be an accountant, certainly a diplomat or effective negotiator, and when necessary, a soothsayer.
Basically, the mass properties engineer pursues achievement of a minimum weight system consistent with criteria established for cost, reliability, and performance. Usually, he or she is continuously involved in the total system design process. From the preliminary design phase to delivery of the finished product, the mass properties engineer usually performs analysis and provides support us meeting system and programmatic requirements. This role is generally clear to most mass properties engineers working in the field today.
What is not clear, however, is that the mass properties engineer must also be a cost estimator. That is, he or she must be able to envision and plan tasks to ensure conduct of an effective mass properties engineering effort, and must then be able to estimate the manhours (cost) that are required to successfully perform these tasks.
This cost estimating activity is one of the more complicated 'hats' the mass properties engineer must wear. The basic underlying reason foe this complexity is that most mass properties engineers are just that - engineers with engineering training and experience; they are not accountants, budget analysts, or economists.
However, as good or as effective as a mass properties engineer may be, without sufficient knowledge of the tasks or the budget required to accomplish these tasks, one of two things will most likely happen: (1) the task may not be completed on schedule within the allocated budget or (2) the cask of optimizing the system, with all design requirements considered, will not be effectively accomplished. There is also a fairly high probability that both things may happen. Whatever the result, the reason is clear: improper analysis and/or estimation of the task to be performed and the number of manhours required to accurately accomplish the given phase or task.
To assist the mass properties engineer in handling this task and manhour estimating assignment more effectively, we have developed descriptions of the mass properties tasks usually accomplished within each program phase. We have also provided methodologies that may be used to estimate the manhours necessary to ensure task accomplishment. It is our intent that the data included in this paper will be most useful within the mass properties discipline, and that its use will allow the mass properties engineer to wear this last 'hat' as easily, and as effectively, as all the others.


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