Future Cost

Dear J-

I suppose I should elaborate: the longer I keep thinking about how semi-competent I feel at times lately I should think about how everyone else feels about it, too. I have a project going on that’s stretching longer and longer as we speak, mainly because I don’t know that what I’m doing is right or even reasonable. Folks tell me that it is, but I just don’t know. It feels like extrapolation piled on top of extrapolation and that sets off all kinds of warning bells in my head — it’s fun to do, and y’know, two points make a line, a line makes a trend and before you know it you can link Howard Hughes to Kevin Bacon in three easy steps. Whereas that’s for entertainment, though, these other folks are looking for us to project costs for the next few years.

I suppose it’s the maxim of garbage in and garbage out: we have historical data and a plan, going forward, that says they’re going to operate completely differently from their historical data, so extrapolate that, sucka. I’ve tried three different approaches, and the first two didn’t produce meaningful results, given the lack of meaningful input, so we’ve moved to a third, fuzzier approach. I suppose that if nothing else this proves the nuclear mindset is some kind of hard-ass rigid uptight stuff, if you can’t prove it with numbers then you’ve got no case to run it. Here it feels almost like the liberal arts of engineering in comparison: how does that cost projection make you feel? Are you enjoying your time here?

I’ll quit obsessing over it in a little while. In the end I want to do a good job for the client and we’re taking our time to make sure we’re doing it in a reasonable manner. I’m okay with that. It makes sense and I hope they see it the same way. If not then … well, I dunno. At times it feels like I keep throwing my emails down a black hole: no acknowledgement, no thanks for getting in contact with us, no response. I like to think of inspirational words in this time: “I’ll get it as right as you want it to be, even if it takes your last dime.” Cynical to be sure but fun, and somewhat applicable. I’ll figure this out as reasonably as you let me.

Mike

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