The story of QSM and software application estimation begins during my time in the Army. I was assigned to Sandia Base, NM to research methods for protecting soldiers from the effects of nuclear explosions. I had to do several calculations to determine the impact of an explosion (blast calculations) on soldiers using a slide rule, which was very tedious. Sandia National Laboratory was next door to my office, and they had just gotten the biggest and best engineering computer available at the time. They offered computer time for anyone needing it and even offered to teach me programming, so I decided to take a course in FORTRAN programming over my lunch hour so I could do my blast calculations quicker. These lessons aided me in completing my work at Sandia and followed me to my future assignment at the Pentagon.
For my tour at the Pentagon in the 1970s, there was not a lot of need for my nuclear experience so I was assigned to the Army’s computer program. We had to defend our program budget to the Department of Defense (DoD) budget review authority (OSD). One system, SIDPERS, the Army enterprise personnel system, had been in development for five years and after having a peak staff of 110, we were projecting 93 people for the next five years. The analyst looking at the budget asked what should have been a simple question, “What are these people going to do?” I did not have a good answer, and later, going back to the project team, neither did they. Because of this we lost $10M in our budget.