NASA uses multiple methods, processes, and entities for monitoring and evaluating its performance. These same processes and procedures will be used for activities funded under the Recovery Act. NASAs programs are assessed for relevance, quality, and performance. A relevance review assures alignment with national priorities; alignment with the NASA Strategic Plan; impact on related fields of research or technology; and alignment with customer (users of NASA data, research results, etc.) needs. Determining quality is generally prospective and assures best value for an investment, using peer review processes. Performance reviews evaluate whether a program is on track to meet its baseline performance commitments (cost, schedule, science/technical deliverable).
Responsibility for program and project management and their control mechanisms (NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120 series)*, institutional management (NPR 8500 series)*, and financial management (NPR 9010 and 9120 series)*, occurs at all management levels of the Agency. NASA's management monitors different aspects of program or institutional performance, at the highest Agency levels, and uses a rigorous structure of program and management reviews for Agency-level decisions. To continue through each phase of development, programs must demonstrate, on an on-going basis and at key life cycle junctures, an ability to manage in a manner that produces identifiable results, and must document performance against previously defined commitments including multi-year outputs, annual performance goals, milestones and other metrics, as appropriate.
NASA internally monitors performance through monthly and quarterly reviews, at each management level. At the senior management level, program reviews, accompanied by an independent (internal) assessment, occur across all mission areas (aeronautics, science, space operations and exploration systems), with an in-depth review each quarter rotating among the mission organizations. Senior management also reviews institutional data (finance, human capital, acquisition, infrastructure), and aggregated Agency measures and metrics, e.g., safety, cross-cutting technical and non-technical issues. The data reviewed, and the accompanying analysis, allows the Agency to focus on, and proactively address, issues that could lead to not achieving desired performance goals.
Specifically, standard NASA construction-of-facilities processes and procedures are defined in NASA Procedural Document (NPD) 7120.7 (NASA Information Technology and Institutional Infrastructure Program and Project Management Requirements) and the facilities program as described in NPR 8820.2F (Facilities Project Requirements). Each construction activity will be monitored and desired progress evaluated through: periodic reports of project conditions and activities including safety related information from the construction contractor. Each SOW will also have defined metrics including where appropriate a schedule of values that will be used as the basis for reviewing and approving monthly progress payments to the contractor. Ensuring high quality of project work is also emphasized and included in SOW requirements to the contractor. As work progresses, the contractor receives regular quality assurance inspections from the project team, including documentation reviews, previews of materials and methods prior to installation, and physical inspections.
*The NASA Online Directives Information System Library, ensures access by NASA employees and contractors to the most current documentation.