Report: Fine-tune 'faster, better, cheaper'

"Faster, Better Cheaper: Policy, Strategic Planning, and Human Resource Alignment"

NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" approach to managing projects and space missions suffers from a lack of clear definition and inadequate inclusion in the agency' strategic planning, according to a new report from the agency's Inspector General Office.

"Without written policies or guidance, NASA cannot effectively communicate FBC to program/project managers and contractors, which could negatively affect mission success, weaken accountability for results and lead to increased cost and delays," according to the report, released Thursday.

Among other things, the inspector general recommended that NASA:

Develop a process to clearly define what "faster, better, cheaper" means. Incorporate the approach in key planning documents. Report on the approach's success in NASA's annual performance report. "The agency has not incorporated sufficient FBC goals, objectives, and metrics into NASA's strategic management process," the report stated. "Therefore, missions completed using FBC are outside the strategic management and planning process, and progress toward achieving FBC cannot be measured or reported."

The "faster, better, cheaper" approach has been championed by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin as a way to decrease the amount of time and money involved in launching space missions and to increase their frequency.

After the failure of four missions based on that philosophy, however, Goldin ordered several independent reviews to examine the approach and recommend changes, according to the report.

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