The following survey results were collected from the Washington Capital Area Chapter (WCAC) of ICEAA. The goal of the survey was to gauge chapter Member’s preferences for the type of content, meeting format, and various other topics to better plan events over the preceding year. Survey responses were provided between 2021-11-10 and 2021-11-23 by 77 members (total active chapter membership during this date range was ~450).
Question 1: Which type of events would you like the ICEAA Washington Capital Area Chapter to provide?
|Estimate walkthroughs – real life example applications step by step|
|Certification training is also good, but maybe that’s more of a national function? Could National do that sort of thing virtually to help all chapters’ members?|
|DC-area-specific topics (e.g., navigating cost estimating in federal govt.)|
|Specifically estimate walkthroughs|
There is strong and equal interest between networking and learning opportunities. Interest in career advice, musings, and lessons learned from senior/thought leaders is lukewarm.
- This result is consistent with the last Chapter Members Survey in late 2020, in which a significant number were interested in providing mentorship but not many were interested in receiving mentorship themselves.
- Senior analysts tend to outnumber junior analysts in terms of ICEAA membership, so many do not see a benefit in receiving advice at this point in their careers.
A potential program the WCAC could offer could be to recruit Members to serve as mentors for junior cost analysts who were hired during the pandemic and may be lacking guidance and encouragement from senior colleagues because of the remote work environment. These Members would have to work with their company’s HR and/or local management to connect with new hires.
Question 2: Which type of content interests you most?
|advanced schedule automation in cost models|
|Data collection, where the heck is the data hiding?|
|Other topics outside cost estimating – ex: cyber|
|IT related estimation (duh)|
There is greater interest in data visualization than data science, although there is some overlap between the two categories. Possible reasons could include the following:
- Low awareness of the trend in cost analysis toward data science
- Lack of understanding about how these categories differ
- Anxiety about one’s ability to learn data science
- Denial of the notion that data science will become an essential part of cost analysis in the future
This may be a promising sign, though, since data visualization is viewed as a steppingstone toward data science.
A potential training topic/content could include making and posting videos online that offer an introduction to data science for Members to get acquainted with the subject.
Data science has been embraced by a significant number of younger analysts who feel the content from ICEAA has little to offer them. The WCAC should provide more presentations on data science to cater to their interests.
Question 3: What time(s) would you prefer ICEAA events were held?
|I think the type of event dictates when it should be held. Obviously a happy hour should be after work, but trianing (if focused) could be done over lunch. Recording could be good for topics that one would want to revisit (like certification stuff).|
|Happy hour after work, lessons/meeting at lunch|
Some of these responses seem contradictory, so we have no choice but to try to interpret them.
Example: Members are very interested in social/networking events and in-person events in general. However, they also prefer events to be recorded/available online and held at lunchtime, neither of which are conducive for these types of events.
Interpretation: Members want educational events to be held at lunchtime as well as recorded/available online, but they want social/networking events to be held after work and in-person.
Question 4: How frequent should ICEAA Washington Capital Area Chapter events occur?
|monthly lunch and learns are helpful but other chapter events could probably be quarterly|
|either monthly or quarterly, not more than once a month|
|One technical and one networking event per month, plus the 1-day workshop (once a year) the chapter has done in the past|
The desired frequency of events was split roughly in half between quarterly and monthly, with most Members choosing one versus the other.
We need to remain relevant in our Members’ lives and offer sufficient opportunities for them to attend events but avoid oversaturating our Members with announcements/invitations that may make them tune out.
We should aim for monthly luncheons held in-person as well as virtually, which should also be recorded and made available online anytime, and quarterly happy hours held in-person.
## Question 5: Which format(s) do you prefer for ICEAA events, and does COVID-19 change your preference?
|In person is better since you can get multiple benefits for the same amount of time. It can be hard, but it would be good if the in-person events were held at various office across the chapter geographic area.|
|Web for training, happy hour in person|
|In-person for happy hours; web-based for webinars|
Concerns over COVID-19 have most Members preferring online or well-ventilated in-person events. However, not all Members feel the same way and a sizable number are ready to return to in-person events. For the time being, the type of event will at least in part dictate how/where it is offered (e.g., networking events, almost by definition must occur in-person while educational based event could occur with both in-person and web-based participation options).
Question 6: I like the ICEAA Washington Capital Area Chapter because…
|I like the ICEAA Washington Capital Area Chapter because…|
|It’s a local resource for our field, there is no other organizational equivalent.|
|I’m new to ICEAA|
|In the pre-COVID times, they offered/organized monthly luncheons where we could listen to presentations from different people. It was a neat way to see what kinds of things other people were working on. The networking was also a plus.|
|It brings the focus of Cost Estimating into topics that reflect much of what we do in this area. Further, it gives us a chance to see each other as professional colleagues and not just as competitors.|
|I’m a new member so can’t say just yet.|
|of the involvement of industry and government together.|
|Washington Capital Area Members are so involved, willing to connect and encourage each other to learn.|
|They provide opportunities for networking and meeting other local cost analysts, as well as providing learning opportunities that show different ways people solve problems in cost estimating|
|It’s in the area I work in.|
|They were very welcoming. I have only been to one in person event so far and it was great.|
|meeting new people in the chapter/area, enjoyed the happy hour in Crystal City|
|Presentations and Practitioners for the group are concentrated in my industry.|
|It provides an avenue for learning about the changing aspects of cost analysis and allows for networking with others in the same cost community but working at other locations. That shared perspective is valuable to me and I can’t get it anywhere else.|
|…of the ability to connect with others in the same locality facing similar issues/challenges.|
|Networking with local members|
|it provides opportunities for networking and staying knowledgeable about current local trends.|
|Helps keep me grounded in cost, particularly when work life is engulfed in programmatics and budget spins.|
|. . . provides forum to share knowledge and to interact with like-professionals.|
|It’s a great way to bring together professionals from our geographic area.|
|It’s our local connection to ICEAA. It provides opportunities to learn with/from and network with local colleagues.|
|Events are a good opportunity to catch up with others in my field.|
|It offers a community in the local area to connect with individuals in similar positions|
|I get to see like-minded professionals|
|I think they do present issues and training specific to this area. I just haven’t been able to attend as frequently as I like because of my work load and schedule.|
|It connects me with other local area cost analysis professionals.|
|I like to know what’s going on in the cost community and this is the professional forum for that|
|Because it is a close knit community that provides great information.|
|Very active and in tune with current events and analysis issues.|
|many members in the local area working in a variety of areas|
|It provides an opportunity to meet and collaborate with other local professionals|
|it seems like the chapter frequently offers interesting events (even though I haven’t had time to to take advantage of them yet)|
|They do a great job with having different topics and different types of events|
|of the training and networking events offered (although I think both could evolve in their relevancy/effectiveness).|
|There are more-frequent in-person networking events.|
|We have a great amount of senior leaders and experienced cost analysts in the local area.|
|The opportunity to connect with colleagues, new and old.|
|it allows me to network with others in the community|
|I live in N. VA.|
|Awesome people involved!|
|I would become more involved with ICEAA if…|
|The presentations/events are relevant to my professional interests and fosters thought provoking discussions.|
|I had more time.|
|I would become more involved if there were more events to attend, like luncheons/presentations, workshops, or happy hours.|
|they created a Middle & High School outreach program to inform students of careers in cost estimation.|
|I had more time!|
|I’m a new member so can’t say just yet.|
|I had more free time.|
|Real-world case study workshops were readily available|
|I am an active member of ICEAA currently and I plan to maintain my level of involvement as I enjoy the ability to contribute to ICEAA’s mission and goals|
|There was a SCEBoK group to prepare and study for the Software CCEA.|
|More in-person events. (I know this is still tough)|
|The chapter held more in-person seminars and social events|
|I have been involved as a chapter board member for a decade. Maybe my time has come to be a speaker for topics or mentoring for less experienced members.|
|…there were more snacks 😉|
|I had the time.|
|I had more time.|
|… I had more time!|
|. . . I wasn’t already so involved in job, local/state politics, and Fairfax communities leadership.|
|Need more get togethers and networking|
|I had more time in the day 🙂|
|I welcome any opportunity to work with ICEAA and stress it with my staff.|
|Events were at a more convenient time and we were given at least 1 weeks notice before events occurred|
|There were relevant and accessible venues for discussion of high-quality and practical research/work products.|
|If I had more free time….|
|I am not sure, but great question.|
|I had more time|
|Advanced data analytics were prioritized more than traditional cost analysis.|
|more events were in the afternoon and there were more HH/icebreakers!|
|There were more trainings.|
|I had more time.|
|not sure. Kind of pick and choose.|
|Practices, training, certification, culture, etc. was more in line with current analytical best practices (i.e., wasn’t so incredibly outdated).|
|I had any free time|
|Hosting events with more learning comes out of it. Vice hearing about certain projects or people|
|there was a healthier mix of attendees at events/workshops and ICEAA could offer better networking opportunities.|
|They began to bring in more data science applications to cost analysis.|
|More opportunities were provided for web-based events/trainings.|
|The WCAC membership (participation) base needs to expand to include manufacturing/developers (OEM) and Government personnel. The collaboration at events would greatly benefit from a more diverse group of attendees.|
|the events were all virtual|
|More events were after work hours|
|I would attend more Washington Capital area events if they were in N. VA, closer to the beltway.|
|I had more time|
The biggest barrier to Members becoming more involved in ICEAA is a lack of time. Making more resources available online for Members to access at their leisure may be a way to alleviate this problem to a degree.