Faster, better, cheaper OK

Rather than abandon its "faster, better, cheaper" philosophy, NASA must

strengthen the people, processes and technology used to carry it out, according

to two reports released Monday by the space agency.

The reports — "NASA Faster, Better, Cheaper Task Final Report," by the former

Mars Pathfinder project manager, and "Report on Project Management in NASA,"

by the Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board — call on NASA to

focus on:

* Attracting and training skilled workers.

* Creating strong program management.

* Developing advanced technologies.

* Using new information technologies to minimize the risk of space missions.

The "Faster, Better Cheaper" report suggested that "information technology

can be used to develop and design visualization aids for the front end of

project development. The designers walk around their "virtual spacecraft'

as they design it."

It further suggested that similar technology be used to develop "visualization

domes, which immerse the flight operations team, the press, the public on

the distant planet."

But because no plans exist for such advanced technology, the report recommended

strengthening project management. The report called on NASA to create an

agencywide integrated IT development plan, unifying NASA's Intelligent Synthesis

Environment, Information Technology operations, Intelligent Systems operations

and the Consolidated Super Computing Management Office into one plan.

The report on the Mars Climate Orbiter Mission noted that a project must

be adequately staffed and all roles must be clearly defined. The mission

was designed under NASA Administrator Dan Goldin's faster, better, cheaper

approach, but a project management problem — miscommunication — doomed the

spacecraft's entry into orbit around Mars. The agency and contractor miscommunicated

about the measurement units — English vs. metric — used to calculate the

orbiter's distance from Earth.

Two other assessments of NASA program management practices are being released

this month. A report from the Space Shuttle Independent Assessment Team

was released March 9, and a report from the Mars Independent Assessment

Team is due by the end of the month.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.