A Range of Cost Measuring Risk and Uncertainty in Major Programs:

An Aid to Decisionmaking

PSAD-78-12: Published: Feb 2, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 1978.

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Historically, major Federal programs and projects have experienced substantial cost growth. Overly optimistic estimates, problems encountered during the life of the program, inflation, and uncertainty associated with the estimating process itself contribute to the cost increases.

Uncertainty is the keynote in decisions involving Federal programs which span many years. Agencies continue to present early cost projections to Congress as single-point estimates despite the fact that they are highly misleading. A range of probable cost should be presented in addition to the single, most likely, point estimate which would remain as program and budget cost estimates.

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