Learning Curves and the Lore of The Slope


As I am editing the section of the ISPA parametric handbook course section i will be teaching in Saint Lewis I reviewed the great work of Galorath’s Evin Stump in learning curves.  The following are some of Evin’s guidelines on slope.  Learning curve can be a huge driver in cost estimating.  Evin also has a wonderful paper on learning curves.  I can provide upon request.

  • Fit learning curves to historical data when available
    • This is usually the best source, but not always
  • Guidelines for use when historical data are not available:
    • Operations that are fully automated tend to have slopes of 100%, or a value very close to that (no learning can happen)
    • Operations that are entirely manual tend to have slopes in the vicinity of 70% (maximum learning can happen)
    • If an operation is 75% manual and 25% automated, slopes in the vicinity of 80% are common.
    • f it is 50% manual and 50% automated, expect about 85%.
    • If it is 25% manual and 75% automated, expect about 90%.
    • The average slope for the aircraft industry is about 85%.
      • But there are departments in a typical aircraft factory that may depart substantially from that value.
    • Shipbuilding slopes tend to run between 80 and 85%.

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