Deltek Cobra allows for multiple rate files to be used within one program and is often the reason why some managers choose Cobra for their EVMS. The need to model and forecast different rates is a growing topic of concern for many program managers as the volatility of burden rate cost escalation increases.
This article looks at the Cobra tools available to help model multiple rate change scenarios and includes a detailed lesson download on the steps you can take in Cobra to support rate changes on in-flight project.
Cost Classes and Rate Files
The key to Deltek Cobra’s flexibility in modeling multiple rate scenarios lies in the fact that each cost class can use a different rate file. Further to this, Cobra has separated the Rates and Resource Calculations files allowing you to use different rates without having to create different versions of each resource defined in the project.
For example, an engineer might be defined with the following burdens:
The way the engineer’s values are calculated remains unchanged, but the underlying rates can be different depending on the Cost Class being used. When calculating the Engineer for the Budget cost class, Cobra can use the original rate file for these calculations. However, when calculating for a forecast class, Cobra might be using a modified rate file with different burden values.
The figure above shows how two Cobra cost classes are using two different rate files. The Budget Class is using the original rate file and calculates the fully burdened rate for the Engineer at $88.66 per hour; however the Forecast Class is linked to the new rate file and is calculating the Engineer at the higher hourly rate of $93.55.
In Cobra you can create copies of the original rate file and then modify the copy to reflect the changes.
In the above figure you can see two rate files, the latter having been updated to reflect 2016 G&A increases. BTW the SRA company acronym featured in this article (Space Research Alliance) is fictional and has nothing to do with real companies that share that name. This additional rate file can be used any of the Cobra cost classes to calculate a different result value.
In the above figure you can see the Rate File field has been set to point at the alternative SRA_RATE_2016 file for the forecast class. This will cause any resource assignment using this class to calculate a different cost for the G&A result.
Once a rate is approved and signed off as an official baseline change, the Project Rate File in the Files tab of the Project Information dialog can be changed to the new rate file.
At this point you will need to perform a project level “Recalc” process in Deltek Cobra to update all the budget and forecast classes. It’s imperative that you only recalculate periods that fall after the current period in you project; updating history after all is forbidden in an EVMS.
That covers the process in a nutshell, we hope that was helpful. You can click here to download a free workbook PDF that explains the steps in much greater detail. This is in the style of our training materials typical of those used for our Ten Six training courses for Deltek Cobra.