The "Cost Estimate" field contains an estimate of the resources (time and/or money) needed to complete an item. The primary purpose is to facilitate planning (the spending of time and money).
Costs are expressed as one or more of
money $dollars or $dollars.cents money rate money/rate staff time, to complete the work hours:minutes or hours (h|hrs|hours) rate of staff time, in FTE's percentage%
A rate can be one of "day", "week", "month", "term" or "year".
If the monetary cost of work isn't yet known, other than that money will have to be found and spent, use "$?". In general, if the cost is uncertain, a "?" can be appended. Costs can use units of K to represent $1000. Comments may be added between cost estimates by surrounding them in parentheses.
Some examples are:
- $1.1K (purchase) $100/year (maintenance)
- as the comments say, this is a $1100 one-time cost, and $100/year thereafter.
- $15K 20h 20%
- is $15000 one-time cost, 20 hours of staff time, provided as 20% of an FTE. So that's expected to take a little more than 14 work days (20 / 20% / 7).
At one time, once the (financial) spending had been approved, and financial administration informed, the cost estimate was removed from this field, quite likely by financial administration. That is no longer the case (at least in CS).
There are no separate fields to record the various subsequent intermediate states money can be in. That may change, if some experiments using the keywords field prove to be useful.
The display of this field in the item display or update page may include an estimate of the minimum time rate required or the time to be taken, when enough information is supplied for time estimates to be made.
When specifying this field in a customized sort or display, any of the names "cost_estimate", "Cost Estimate" or "$?" (for terse output) can be used.