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Navigating the Business Case Analysis (BCA) Minefield. By Thomas J. Barthel Belzon, Inc. The BCA – What does this guy know?. Member of the AMCOM IMMC Maintenance Directorate PBL and Analysis Branch AMCOM Alternate PBL Coordinator Logistician w/combat experience

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the bca what does this guy know

The BCA – What does this guy know?

Member of the AMCOM IMMC Maintenance Directorate

PBL and Analysis Branch

AMCOM Alternate PBL Coordinator

Logistician w/combat experience

Maintenance and Operations Background

Infantry & Aviation Officer

Working on PBL / BCA development

Developing BCAs for legacy systems and assisting PM


the bca a support tool
The BCA – A Support Tool
  • Decision support and planning tool
  • Projects financial and non-financial (Log/Risk) consequences of recommended alternatives
  • Each Cost/Benefit has logistics impact and risk factor
  • Basic risks include


  • Build and support “your case”
  • Cost data and Non-Cost data Supports Recommendations
the bca let s discuss
The BCA - Let’s discuss
  • What type of BCA must we do?
  • Who Needs to be on our BCA Team?
  • We have numerous outlines...Now What?
  • What should our timeline be for BCA completion?
  • Do we NEED weapon system experts?
  • What are adequate assumptions?
  • Are our BCA statements and findings flowing back to

the supporting data?

  • Have we identified and verified applicable risks?
  • Who should validate our BCA?
  • The BCA is completed...NOW WHAT?
  • Questions and answers!
the bca what type of bca must we do
The BCA - What type of BCA must we do?
  • EA vs. Cost / Benefit comparison
  • Need a waiver from DA (ASAALT)
  • Type I BCA
  • Type II BCA
  • Requirement is to adapt pre-policy EAs to Type II BCA after five years
  • This means LOGISTICS IMPACTS and applicable assumptions are included with cost and risks
the bca who needs to be on our bca team
The BCA -Who needs to be on our BCA team?
  • Perfect World - Same members as Supportability IPT
  • The Lead for the BCA – A PM designated decision maker

The Team



Cost Analysis Directorate (CAD)

Army Working Capital Fund (AWCF)

Item Managers


PBL / BCA SMEs – PBL Branch



  • Dedicated staffing until completion
  • Complexity drives membership
  • Cross-Organizational Input/Ownership/Communications
the bca we have numerous outlines now what
The BCA -We have numerous outlines...Now What?
  • DAU / WWW / Everyone Else’s Interpretation
  • The Main Focus is:

Sequence/Flow - Relevant Data (from Scope) – Valid / Executable Recommendations

  • Intro - Subject/Purpose/Scope
  • Methodology and Assumptions
  • Logistics Considerations
  • Cost
  • Risk/Sensitivity Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendation
  • Implementation Timeline
the bca format
The BCA - Format

Sequence / Flow / Data (from Scope) / Recommendations

  • Is the BCA readable?
  • Can the preceding section segue into the next?
  • Does data relate to each section or is a search required?
  • Is their TOO MUCH data that is simply noise?
  • Can the decision maker determine if recommendation is appropriate w/o re-reading?
the bca introduction
The BCA - Introduction

The X Program BCA Introduction Section

  • Subject: What is this case about?

This is important – Drives the initial focus for data

  • Purpose: Why, for whom, and for what use

Decisions from results will be used to...

  • Scope: Drives what specific data will be utilized

Who, what, when, where and how – period

the bca what are adequate assumptions
The BCA -What are adequate assumptions?
  • The scope determined the focus of assumptions - what we studied, i.e. SC, TMs, Test Equipment, Infrastructure, etc.
  • What Programmatic changes / business rules / case foundation / etc. will invalidate the BCA outcome if altered
  • The results of the BCA will now require BCA update and validation
  • Changes in Assumptions

This change affects costs and support (LOG)

Use Sensitivity Analysis and Weights to determine impact

  • How sensitive are results to assumptions >10% - noise?
  • Major Assumptions change is a BCA schedule killer!
the bca logistics considerations
The BCA -Logistics Considerations
  • Cost is important but so is non-cost
  • We are dealing with PB “L”

Subaru vs. Ford


  • Compare cost and benefits – Weight?
  • Now look at the “The rest of the story.”
  • Will ALSO affect:

gas mileage, speed, what else?


funding stream/training/SMEs/etc.

the bca cost
The BCA - Cost
  • The EA fits nicely when placed here
  • Cost data collection is determined by the scope of the BCA
  • Modeling & Methodology for Costs
  • Validation
  • Other costs
  • Very difficult if scope is moving
  • BCA is OBJECTIVE – cost data is revealing!
the bca risk sensitivity analysis
The BCA - Risk/Sensitivity Analysis
  • Identify Major Risks

Cost / Schedule / Performance / Supportability

  • Cost/Schedule/Performance/Supportability
  • The sensitivity analysis shows weighted risks
  • Use to determine effects of assumptions change
  • Weight and sensitivity determined by the PM
the bca other risk
The BCA – Other Risk?
  • Don’t forget to consider other Risks?
  • Whose Risks – Programmatic / PMO
  • Contractual
  • Budget
  • Political
  • Methodology
  • Unknowns
  • Experience
  • Transition
the bca what should our timeline be for bca completion
The BCA - What should our timeline be for BCA completion?

Type I BCA – 4 mos. (2)

Limited Scope Type II BCA – 3 mos (1.2)

23 System BCA – 6 mos. (5 FT)

New System Type II 6 Sub-BCAs to 1 – 2yrs+ (1.2)

The Scope (Depth & Complexity) of the BCA will drive the Time and Resource Requirements

the bca do we need weapon system experts participating
The BCA - Do we NEED weapon system experts participating?
  • Who will write to the Logistics, and Risk Sections?
  • The BCA should address (assess) the Logistics process of the Status-quo and the effects on Logistics for each Alternative
  • Co-Locating within the PM organization
the bca are bca statements and findings flowing back to the supporting data
The BCA -Are BCA statements and findings flowing back to the supporting data?
  • Lack of Supporting data is like handing in a Master Thesis with no Reference Pages
  • This is a business CASE...where’s proof?
  • Sometimes the comparisons are not as close as you would like.
  • C13O wing data is not the same as C17 wing data but may be all you have, especially new acquisitions!
  • Sometimes data doesn’t even exist...don’t waste extra time looking (alter estimating technique...corollary COST, Future RAM-T estimates, etc.)
the bca who should validate our bca
The BCA - Who should validate our BCA?
  • CAD validates the EA and Cost Sections of the BCA
  • Based upon policy – ACAT Army Acquisition Exec (AAE)
  • Here’s the twist...Who Validates the Logistic Impacts, Risks, Sensitivity Analysis and...
  • Can you validate your own costs?
the bca the bca is completed now what
The BCA - The BCA is completed...NOW WHAT?
  • Remember – Recommendations

Does data support the reason for recommending?

  • The implementation Plan and Timeline should be developed for EACH alternative

The decision maker needs to know how long to implement after he makes a decision

  • The BCA approval process - Takes time
What is a “good” BCA – Tom’s Opinion
  • Well defined Subject/Purpose/Scope
  • Clear, relevant and up-front
  • Logistics Section will detail consequences of actions/decisions for each alternative
  • Rationale/supporting methodology for cost and non-cost inclusion
  • Determines what needs to be managed to achieve outcome
  • (predicted results)
  • Makes a valid recommendation supported by all data (cost/non-cost) with timeline for implementation
  • Recommendations showed success when implemented that aligned withBCA data
the bca lessons learned
The BCA – Lessons Learned
  • The BCA process is difficult w/o timelines
  • Determining proper scope w/o requirements creep
  • Data Collection will be difficult
  • Teams not staffed for Full Time BCA work
  • An Objective PBL BCA is difficult in a Transaction based environment
  • Who and how do we pay for the BCA?
  • You can collect too much data
  • You can do too much modeling
  • Who is tracking BCA Lessons learned?
the bca

Questions !



Thomas J. Barthel

Belzon, Inc. 256-461-6039

Huntsville, AL