Given the size and significance of the government's investment in IT, it is important that projects be managed effectively to ensure that public resources are wisely invested. Effectively managing projects entails, among other things, developing reliable and high-quality cost estimates that project realistic life-cycle costs. A life-cycle cost estimate provides an exhaustive and structured accounting of all resources and associated cost elements required to develop, produce, deploy, and sustain a particular program. In essence, life cycle can be thought of as a "cradle to grave" approach to managing a program throughout its useful life. Because a life-cycle cost estimate encompasses all past (or sunk), present, and future costs for every aspect of the program, regardless of funding source, it provides a wealth of information about how much programs are expected to cost over time.