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NPR 7120.5E
Effective Date: August 14, 2012
Expiration Date: December 14, 2020
Printable Format (PDF)

(NASA Only)

Subject: NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements (Updated w/Change 18)

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Engineer

| TOC | ChangeLog | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | AppendixH | AppendixI | AppendixJ | ALL |

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1 Key Policy Changes in this NPR

1.1.1 This NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) has been substantially restructured to streamline the requirements for space flight programs and projects and place complementary guidance and contextual information into a companion handbook. The NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Handbook describes how programs and projects are managed in NASA and contains explanatory material to help understand the requirements of this NPR. The Handbook can be found on the "Other Policy Documents" menu in the NASA On-Line Directives Information System (NODIS) under the tab for Office of the Chief Engineer. The requirements of this NPR may be tailored in accordance with Section 3.5.

1.1.2 NASA Centers, Mission Directorates, and other organizations that have programs or projects shall develop appropriate documentation to implement the requirements of this document.

1.1.3 For existing programs and projects, this NPR's requirements apply to their current and future phases as determined by the responsible Mission Directorate, approved by the NASA Chief Engineer (or as delegated), and concurred with by the Decision Authority. The Mission Directorate shall submit their plan for phased tailoring of the requirements of this NPR within 60 days of the NPR's effective date.

1.2 Background

1.2.1 NASA space flight programs and projects develop and operate a wide variety of spacecraft, launch vehicles, in-space facilities, communications networks, instruments, and supporting ground systems.1 This document establishes a standard of uniformity for the process by which NASA formulates and implements space flight programs and projects.

1 NASA space flight programs and projects often need to mature technologies to meet mission goals. These enabling and/or enhancing technologies are also covered by this NPR.

1.2.2 NASA approaches the formulation and implementation of programs and projects through a governance model that balances different perspectives from different elements of the organization. The cornerstone of program and project governance is the organizational separation of the Mission Directorates and their respective programs and projects (Programmatic Authorities) from the Headquarters Mission Support Offices, the Center organizations that are aligned with these Mission Support Offices, and the Center Directors (Institutional Authorities). (See NASA Policy Directives (NPD) 1000.0, NASA Governance and Strategic Management Handbook and the NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Handbook.)

1.2.3 This NPR distinguishes between "programmatic requirements" and "institutional requirements." Both categories of requirements ultimately need to be satisfied in program and project Formulation and Implementation. Programmatic requirements are the responsibility of the Programmatic Authorities. Programmatic requirements focus on the products to be developed and delivered and specifically relate to the goals and objectives of a particular NASA program or project. These programmatic requirements flow down from the Agency's strategic planning process. Table 1-1 shows this flow down from Agency strategic planning through Agency, directorate, program, and project requirement levels to the systems that will be implemented to achieve the Agency goals.

Table 1-1 Programmatic Requirements Hierarchy

Requirements Level Content Governing Document Approver Originator
Strategic Goals Agency strategic direction NPD 1000.0, NASA Governance and Strategic Management Handbook; NPD 1001.0, NASA Strategic Plan; and Strategic Planning Guidance NASA Admin-istrator Support Organiza-tions
Agency Requirements Structure, relationships, and principles governing design and evolution of cross-Agency Mission Directorate systems linked in accomplishing Agency strategic goals and outcomes Architectural Control Document (ACD) NASA Admin-istrator Host MDAA with Inputs from Other Affected MDAAs
Mission Directorate Requirements High-level requirements levied on a program to carry out strategic and architectural direction, including programmatic direction for initiating specific projects Program Commitment Agreement (PCA) NASA AA MDAA
Program Requirements Detailed requirements levied on a program to implement the PCA and high-level programmatic requirements allocated from the program to its projects Program Plan MDAA Program Manager
Project Requirements Detailed requirements levied on a project to implement the Program Plan and flow down programmatic requirements allocated from the program to the project Project Plan Program Manager Project Manager
System Requirements Detailed requirements allocated from the project to the next lower level of the project System Requirements Documentation Project Manager Responsible System Lead
MDAA = Mission Directorate Associate Administrator; NASA AA = NASA Associate Administrator Institutional requirements are the responsibility of the Institutional Authorities. (See Section 3.3 for details on Technical Authority.) They focus on how NASA does business and are independent of any particular program or project. These requirements are issued by NASA Headquarters (including the Office of the Administrator and Mission Support Offices) and by Center organizations. Institutional requirements may respond to Federal statute, regulation, treaty, or Executive Order. They are normally documented in NPDs, NPRs, NASA Standards, Center Policy Directives (CPDs), Center Procedural Requirements (CPRs), and Mission Directorate requirements.

1.2.4 This NPR is focused on improving program and project performance against internal and external commitments. Figure 1-1 shows the flow down from NPD 1000.0, NASA Governance and Strategic Management Handbook through Program and Project Plans. The figure identifies the five types of institutional requirements that flow down to these plans: engineering, program/project management, safety and mission assurance, health and medical, and Mission Support Office (MSO) functional requirements. These terms are defined in Appendix A.

Figure 1-1 Institutional Requirements Flow Down

1.3 Overview of Management Process

1.3.1 Although this document emphasizes program and project management based on life cycles, Key Decision Points (KDPs), and evolving products during each life-cycle phase, these are embedded in NASA's four-part process for managing programs and projects, which consists of:

a. Formulation—identifying how the program or project supports the Agency's strategic goals; assessing feasibility, technology, concepts, and performance of trade studies; risk assessment and possible risk mitigations based on risk-informed decision making (RIDM) and continuous risk management (CRM) processes; team building; development of operations concepts and acquisition strategies; establishing high-level requirements, requirements flow down, and success criteria; assessing the relevant industrial base/supply chain to ensure program or project success; preparing plans, cost estimates, budget submissions, and schedules essential to the success of a program or project; and establishing control systems to ensure performance of those plans and alignment with current Agency strategies.

b. Approval (for Implementation)—acknowledgment by the Decision Authority (see Appendix A for definition of "Decision Authority") that the program/project has met Formulation requirements and is ready to proceed to Implementation. By approving a program/project, the Decision Authority commits to the time-phased cost plan based on technical scope and schedule necessary to continue into Implementation.

c. Implementation—execution of approved plans for the development and operation of the program/project, and use of control systems to ensure performance to approved plans and requirements and continued alignment with the Agency's strategic goals.

d. Evaluation—continual self- and independent assessment of the performance of a program or project and incorporation of the assessment findings to ensure adequacy of planning and execution according to approved plans and requirements.

1.4 Acquisition

1.4.1 NASA's program and project support of its overall mission is long term in nature, but the environments in which these programs and projects are conducted are dynamic. In recognition of this, NPD 1000.0, NASA Governance and Strategic Management Handbook and NPD 1000.5, Policy for NASA Acquisition have put in place a framework for ensuring that NASA's strategic vision, programs and projects, and resources remain properly aligned. The acquisition process and annual strategic resource planning form a continuous process to oversee this alignment. At the program and project level, the Acquisition Strategy Meeting (ASM) and the Procurement Strategy Meeting (PSM) support the Agency's acquisition process, which includes strategic planning, as well as procurement. The PSM is in NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) 1807.170. The PSM guide is at http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/portals/pl/documents/PSMs_091611.html.

1.5 Document Structure

1.5.1 Chapter 2 defines the different types of programs and projects, their documents, and how they mature through their different life cycles. It also describes how to establish baselines and approval processes. Chapter 3 describes roles and responsibilities relevant to program and project managers, the governance structure, Technical Authority, the dissenting opinion process, and how to tailor requirements. Appendix C contains the Compliance Matrix. Templates for required program and project documents are contained in appendices D through H. Appendix I encompasses the tables of program and project products by phase. Appendix J provides a list of references.

| TOC | ChangeLog | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | AppendixH | AppendixI | AppendixJ | ALL |
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