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Cost Xpert 3.0 from Marotz, Inc. Print
For Effective Project Cost Estimating, 'X' Marks the Spot with Cost Xpert 3.0
Let's face it. One of the toughest jobs for any project manager has to be the critical task of estimating the cost of the project, especially as crystal balls are pretty hard to come by. If you get your estimate wrong, you could be facing a lot of hard questions.

 

To drive the point home, the Massachusetts, US-based research consultancy, the Standish Group, reported in their latest Chaos report that failed projects cost an estimated $75 billion with an additional $22 billion in cost overruns.

Finding a tool that is effective at providing reliable cost estimates is a bit like a treasure hunt. You know the prize is out there somewhere, but tracking it down can be taxing at best.
There's no need to look any further, because X really does mark the spot with the new Cost Xpert 3.0 from Marotz, Inc.

Cost Xpert 3.0 is the newest and much improved edition of Marotz's highly popular cost estimating solution.
Its previous version 2.1 proved to be one of the most successful tools of its kind on the market. Existing users form a Who's Who of Fortune 500 companies and include such corporations as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.

Cost Xpert offers many new improvements and enhancements.
In addition to the exceptionally comprehensive wizards for Projects, Volume, Environment, and Constraints, it is one of the few tools that integrate system dynamic, knowledge-based, stochastic and deterministic modelling techniques, as well as the newest cost estimation model, COCOMO II.
With its clean Windows interface, the learning curve is reasonably low, especially if you have some previous cost estimating experience.
If this is somewhat new to you, you can contact the Marotz for details on their training program. Two day hands-on training seminars are available at a cost of $900 per student and cover all aspects of software cost estimating and scheduling.

Cost Xpert now includes new parametric volume estimating methodologies, among which are the additions of UML Use-Case Points, Class-Method Points, Domino Points, MK-II Function Points, and Internet Points.
These methodologies feature separate tabs for Commercial Off-the-Shelf Costs, or COTS software.

Improvements have also been made to the core-estimating model, specifically to the basic effort and schedule calculations based on the selected Standards and Lifecycles.
Twenty-five new Lifecycles in Cost Xpert include Client Server 1 and 2, Domino, RAD, Social Services, Oversight, and IBM Commerce Edition.
Twenty-four new Standards are featured and include Embedded, IEEE/EIA 12207, Rational Unified Process, and Spiral.

Further additions to Cost Xpert include twelve new environmental factors such as management experience and capability, graphics and multi-media, transaction loads, legacy integration, and internationalisation. These are factors that can affect your project cost and schedule, and their inclusion proves valuable for overall cost estimating for your particular project.

Cost Xpert also allows the import and export of your estimates and volumes to and from MS Excel.
The range of eight reports allows you to view your project data either on-screen or as a hard copy.

Cost Xpert can examine the size of a project and incorporate the number of staff involved, their capabilities, and experience to reach an accurate cost estimate for your project.
'What-if' scenarios are also included so you can create various potential scenarios and establish the likely outcomes of your actions.
The Standish Group have lauded Cost Xpert for its ability to make such accurate predictions and prevent wastage by reducing the likelihood of the wrong decision been made.

Cost Xpert is designed by the California-based Marotz, Inc. With offices in Europe, Australia, and Mexico, the company specialises in software cost estimating tools and software development consulting services.
Their specialty in creating tools to enhance project success has made them one of the fastest growing technology companies in the US.

Cost Xpert 3.0 retails for $3,990, a very reasonable price when one considers the cost of many of its competitors and the range of powerful features it offers.
This should reinforce Cost Xpert's reputation as the best cost estimating tool under $10,000, if not the best tool on the market full stop.
It would be well worth downloading the free, fully functional 45-day evaluation copy from the Cost Xpert web site and then taking it for a serious test drive.
Alternatively, for those of you located in the US, you can request a CD-ROM version or a copy via email.

Cost Xpert 3.0 is designed to be easy to use and is just that. It has been praised for being the easiest to use of all cost estimation tools currently on the market.
Without a doubt, the best feature of this package is the range of projects it can handle. It is good to see a product that doesn't simply deal with software design projects, and it would certainly be safe to say that this product should be able to help anyone who regularly has to take a project-based approach to their tasks.
Cost Xpert has been criticised for being a little slow when it comes to data entry, but on the other hand, it is more than possible to create a cost estimate within fifteen minutes.

The biggest criticism has to be that it does not integrate with any of the more recognised project management tools, which makes incorporating this tool into an all round project management strategy relatively difficult.

Overall, the accuracy, reliability, and popularity of Cost Xpert is quite staggering. The competitive pricing and sheer amount of cost estimating features it offers makes it quite a bargain.
If cost estimation is the Achilles heel of your projects as it can often be, then this is the tool you have been searching for and this 'X' marks the spot.
Cut your treasure hunt short!

Website: http://www.costxpert.com/

System Specs:

Alternatively try

  • Pentium II based PC or better
  • 32 MB RAM
  • Windows 95/98 or Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000/Me
  • Welcom Cobra
  • Softstar Systems Costar
  • Artemis CostView
  • Software Productivity Centre, Inc. Estimate Professional
  • SPR KnowledgePLAN
  • Estimating Systems, Inc. Pulsar
  • On Center Software, Inc. Quick Bid

Cost Xpert 3.0
receives a PROJECTmagazine rating of
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2001 © Lee and James Appleyard

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