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Agile Team Estimator

This agile team estimator worksheet is a tool to help calculate an Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) for pricing out iterative development efforts, such as Agile software development services. It focuses on pricing out capacity per team based on a unit of work that is defined as an iteration. Use the information below to help understand how to use the tool and the data from it.

Download the Worksheet

Pricing an Iteration

When awarding task orders for agile software development services, it becomes challenging to price out exactly how much an “end product” is going to cost. The beauty of adopting iterative development as a process is that it allows for continuous development which focuses on small team accomplishments towards delivery and not individual “man hours”. For this reason, alternative methods of calculation are necessary.

Below are elements commonly found in a typical agile project based on industry best practices. For the use of this tool, an iteration is a time-boxed unit of measure used to defined the repeated process through which development will be executed. In agile development this might be referred to as a cycle or sprint. The output of each iteration, to be eventually defined based on objectives of the task and the resulting offeror’s technical solution, should be some working product, design, feature component, code, or analysis that results in production ready code or product.

Not all factors in this worksheet must be used, but the strategies surrounding the importance of the factors should be addressed when creating the IGCE, incentive strategy, or acquisition plan:

Iteration Factors

In the worksheet, these are the descriptions and examples of values to enter, that need to be included to calculate the fixed price per iteration.

Team Planning

Notes:

on team planning: Not all labor categories have estimated a full time effort for every proposed category. Considerations for hours included are whether they are staff can fulfil more than one role, or that a higher paid developer may not need to be full time to be effective in the delivery of the increment.

How many teams are needed are part of the strategy of how much delivery is needed by when. It might not be uncommon to have a design team doing a discovery sprint for an initial month to be followed by agile development sprints. Each team may need its own worksheet filled out to account for the different skill sets. The total IGCE would tally all teams into a final estimate.

on story point calculations: While most agile development teams utilize Story Points as a means of estimation within a sprint/cycle for how much actual work can be completed within the time-boxed iteration, establishing a set number of story points up front does not allow flexiblity within the agile or estimation process. The process of setting Story Points is very specific to the team proposed, how their estimation process works for setting points to user stories, and how optimized those estimates can become. The total Story Points per iteration usually comes as a result of actual work performed, not as a forcasted value that can be applied evenly among offerors.

How to Use the Firm Fixed Price IGCE:

When pricing out firm fixed price per iteration, unlike waterfall contracts, the fixed price amount does not correlate the full set of released features or developed system. Instead, the IGCE is establishing the investment that an agency is committing to make towards the continual delivery of product to meet an objective. This provides for the flexiblity in the technical scope while lowering risk. At the end of each iteration the government will receive a deliverable based on the work completed by the execution of the factors above. The combined building and releasing of these deliverables according to the product roadmap is what eventually provides a working solution.

Download Completed Worksheet Example

CLIN Structure

This is how this would look if the information in the Example Worksheet was then priced out in a CLIN structure

CLIN Structure
BASE PERIOD: 12 months
CLIN 0001, FFP- Completion - The Contractor shall provide services for the Government in accordance with the Performance Work Statement (PWS)
Factor Value
Length of Iteration 3 Weeks
Number of Iterations 8 Sprints
Price Per Iteration $88,180
Period of Performance 12 months
Firm Fixed Price (Completion) $705,440

This tool is in a beta version. For comments, improvements, suggestions, use the Contribute to this Site button at the bottom of the page.