Briefs

NASA neglects lessons learned

Fundamental weaknesses exist in how NASA program and project managers collect and share lessons learned, according to a recent General Accounting Office report.

"Lessons learned are of little value unless they are collected and shared with others," GAO said in its report. Yet, NASA managers said that while they are knowledgeable of lessons learned in their own centers or programs, they know less about what's happening in other parts of the agency.

In addition, GAO found that the NASA system used to collect and disseminate lessons learned from projects and missions, called the Lessons Learned Information System, is not widely used. In fact, 27 percent of program and project managers were unaware of LLIS, and only 17.5 percent of respondents have applied one of the lessons learned identified through LLIS.

In response, Daniel Mulville, associate deputy administrator at NASA, said the agency is improving how lessons learned are shared agencywide.

NSF plan heads to OMB

The National Science Foundation last week planned to submit a final plan to the Office of Management and Budget designed to help NSF better manage its large infrastructure and facility projects.

The plan "outlines NSF's goals and strategies for integrating its current procedures and processes into a next-generation system for selecting, managing and overseeing large facility proj.ects," said Rita Colwell, NSF director, at a House subcommittee hearing Sept. 6.

NSF spends about $1 billion a year on facilities and other infrastructure proj.ects. It makes awards to external entities, which actually construct and manage the projects. The NSF inspector general has cited management of large infrastructure projects as one of the top challenges facing the agency.

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