Effective Date: September 14, 2018
Expiration Date: September 14, 2028
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1.1 The project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a key element of project management. The purpose of a WBS is to divide the project into manageable pieces of work to facilitate planning, control and performance measurement of cost, schedule, and technical content. As per section 2.3.1 of this document, R&T projects can be either technology development or research projects.
2.1 The WBS standard elements defined in this appendix are only applicable to R&T projects.
3.0 PROJECT BUSINESS RULES
3.1 Purpose: The standardization of WBS elements for R&T projects is being driven by requirements for more consistent insight into project performance both internally and externally to the project.
3.2 Business Rules:
a. The standard R&T project technical product-based WBS applies to new projects established from the issue date for NPR 7120.8 and may be tailored. It is not intended to be applied retroactively to existing projects.
b. The R&T project WBS applies to the entire life cycle of the projects.
c. R&T projects will use the standard Level 1 and Level 2 WBS elements. (See Section 4.0 of this appendix.) Specifically:
(1) The project name will be WBS Level 1 (corresponds to Agency project six-digit alphanumeric designators).
(2) The title of each WBS Level 2 element can be modified to facilitate project-unique titles, such as adding the name of the project in front of the title. However, the content and definition of each WBS element remain the same, and if the linkage of the project-unique title to the standard title is not intuitive, the project-unique title is cross-referenced to the standard.
(3) The project manager is responsible for establishing the technical product-based WBS, and the complexity of the project will influence how many of the Level 2 WBS elements are needed. For extremely small ($100s of thousands annually) R&T projects, the use of only one Level 2 WBS element may be appropriate since further breakdown could cause the project unnecessary burden and provide no better insight into performance.
(4) Although very rare, additional WBS Level 2 elements may be added as long as the proposed new Level 2 content does not fit into the content of any existing standard WBS elements and there is a compelling rationale.
(5) For each WBS, project managers should coordinate with the OCFO to ensure visibility of all capital assets, whether fabricated or acquired.
(6) The project can establish its own WBS elements below Level 2 different from other projects. However, these lower level elements are subordinate to the standard parent WBS elements.
(7) There is only one project WBS, which will be technical and product based. Each project is unique, and it is understood that not all Level 2 elements are needed for each project. Therefore, only the WBS elements needed by the project at any level will be established in MdM. WBS elements can be added further in the life cycle if or when the project work dictates.
4.0 R&T PROJECT
4.1 Project WBS
Standard Level 2 WBS elements for projects are shown in Figure I-1. The standard WBS template below assumes a typical project with no flight elements. The elements that are not applicable do not need to be used (entered in the MdM).
Figure I-1 Project WBS
4.2 Project Standard WBS Dictionary
Element 1 - Project Management: The business and administrative planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, controlling, and approval processes used to accomplish overall project objectives, which are not associated with specific hardware or software elements. This element includes project reviews and documentation, non-project owned facilities, and project UFE. It excludes costs associated with technical planning and management and costs associated with delivering specific engineering, hardware, and software products.
Element 2 - Systems Engineering: Includes the activities to define the needs, goals, and objectives of the project; the development of advanced concepts; performance of analyses, developmental testing, and any formal verification or validation activities as defined in the Project Plan. This WBS element encompasses low-level studies (possibly including laboratory experiments) intended to explore the feasibility of new ideas or approaches to accomplish programmatic or technical objectives. The product test, verification, and validation aspects of this element provide for a focus on specific activities to test, verify, and validate products when those activities represent a critical aspect of the overall Project Plan. Not all R&T projects require this level of attention on test, verification, and/or validation. The element encompasses the development hardware/software test validation articles; development or acquisition of special test or validation equipment or procedures; scheduling and staffing facilities or ranges; and development and execution of the test, verification, or validation plan.
Element 3 - Safety and Mission Assurance: The technical and management efforts of directing and controlling the safety and mission assurance elements of the project. This element includes design, development, review, and verification of practices and procedures and success criteria intended to ensure that the delivered product meets performance requirements and function for their intended lifetimes. This element excludes mission and product assurance efforts at partners/subcontractors other than a review/oversight function.
Element 4 - Technology Development: This WBS element encompasses the execution phase of implementing a Project Plan. Typically, most of the lower level (Level 3 and below) WBS elements associated with achieving the technical objectives (e.g., performance metrics) of the project are contained within this element. Once a project has started, technology development will include the continual assessment of progress, redistribution of resources, and schedule updates necessary to meet key milestones within the planned budget and time frame. When the intended outcome cannot be met within plan, the function of re-planning at the project level falls within project management. The primary project deliverables, including technical progress reports and documenting technical accomplishments, are part of this WBS element.
Element 5 - Funded Research/Awards: The awards from either competed or directed elements of the R&T portfolio project. This includes, but is not limited to, grants, Independent Assessment Teams, Research and Technology Objectives and Plans Summaries (RTOPSs), and contracts. This element provides for a focus on specific activities to test and validate products of technology development when those activities represent a critical aspect of the overall technology development plan. Not all technology projects require this level of attention on test and validation. Typically, a separate test and validation element will be part of the project that intends to achieve TRL 6/7. The element encompasses the development hardware/software test validation articles; development or acquisition of special test or validation equipment or procedures; scheduling and staffing facilities or ranges; as well as the development and execution of the test or validation plan. Often the full context and content of test and validation may not be known at the beginning of the project and will be developed as required. In some cases, if extensive use of large-scale facilities is required or the test/validation takes on the characteristics of a flight project (e.g., space-flight project), it will be conducted as a flight project (e.g., space-flight project) within this WBS element or transferred to a project managed under NPR 7120.5.
Element 6 - Facilities, Testbeds, & Operations: The non-award infrastructure costs and activities that support the R&T Projects. This may include the renting/use of existing special or multi-purpose facilities, work associated with the update or generation of a facility or testbed necessary to perform the research or technology development and work associated with operating the facility or testbed. May also contain the work associated with the operation of the project's product during testing or operations.
Element 7 - Technology/Research Transfer and Education: This WBS focuses principally on three types of activities: (1) transferring knowledge (research) and technology development products developed within the project to non-NASA entities that are not part of the project either as direct participants or as direct beneficiaries of the project, (2) acting on behalf of the project to identify and transfer into the project knowledge or technology from sources not directly participating in the project or benefiting from the project, and (3) providing supporting expertise to transfer knowledge and technology products between NASA and non-NASA entities, including project participants. Typically, technology transfer requires special expertise not associated with any specific project or required to accomplish primary technical objectives/milestones/metrics. Also, technology transfer activities are often an integral part of the overall Project Plan but not necessarily an integral part of the technology development process. As such, it is often appropriate to fund, implement, and manage research and technology transfer as a distinct element of a project. As part of transferring knowledge, this element also provides for the education and public outreach (EPO) responsibilities of NASA's missions, projects, and programs in alignment with the Strategic Plan for Education, including management and coordinated activities, formal education, informal education, public outreach, media support, and Web site development.
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