Chapter 5Performance Evaluation
5.1 Performance Evaluation Process
5.2 Agency Annual GPRA Performance Report and Other External Reporting Requirements
5.3 External Reviews
5.4 Independent Validation of Performance Measures
5.5 Education, Training, and Rewards in Strategic Management
Performance Evaluation Process
Whether NASA is successful in carrying out its missions is determined by the Agency's ability to meet or surpass the goals outlined in its strategic and performance plans. NASA uses objective and verifiable performance metrics, regular management insight and review processes, or comparable tools to assess its performance at all levelsAgency, Strategic Enterprises, Functional Offices, Centers, Crosscutting Processes, programs and projects, and the individual employee. Each level participates in setting performance targets, evaluating performance against those targets, and reporting the results. If performance measures are carefully and thoughtfully chosen and applied, the annual performance evaluation becomes one of our most important ways of identifying problem areas and opportunities for better management and greater organizational effectiveness (see Figure 5-1).
Figure 5-1. Performance Evalution
Agency Annual GPRA Performance Report and Other External Reporting Requirements
The external reporting required by NASA's performance evaluation process is extensive. The underlying principle is that the public and elected Federal officials are entitled to assurances that appropriations requested and received have been, and will continue to be, spent judiciously, efficiently, and effectively for approved goals and missions. Accordingly, the NASA annual Performance Report on its fiscal operations of the past fiscal year includes considerable discussion of plans accomplished and results achieved. In addition, of course, the annual budget formulation and justification process requires the linkage of performance plans to requested budgets, as well as justification for the acquisition of capital assets.
Information developed for NASA's performance-reporting obligations may be used as well to comply with additional reporting requirements, such as the Chief Financial Officers Act, the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act, and the Administrator's Performance Report to the President.
Much of NASA's success in carrying out its missions results from its close working relationships with researchers in universities and other nongovernment organizations, including the National Research Council's Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and with industry. All of these relationships contribute to planning and evaluating NASA's exploration of space while keeping the United States on the forefront of aerospace technologies. These diverse communities understand the varied nature of NASA's challenges and are well positioned to assess its progress in meeting them. NASA also maintains a broad and diverse system of advisory committees under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which includes the NASA Advisory Council and its subcommittees and the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, created by Congress. The Agency uses these advisory groups to obtain external input to its strategies and performance planning and evaluation activities.
Some other Federal agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Accounting Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Small Business Administration) are entrusted by Congress to assure that certain governmental activities comply with Federal laws and regulations for which those agencies have primary jurisdiction.
Independent Validation of Performance Measures
NASA's performance measures will be subjected to independent validation by organizations, including the General Accounting Office, NASA's Office of Inspector General, and other cognizant entities. Periodic independent audits may also be conducted by outside registrars to achieve ISO 9001 certification for NASA's principal processes.
Education, Training, and Rewards in Strategic Management
The Office of Human Resources and Education develops Agency policy for employee training pertaining to the general principles of strategic management, GPRA, NASA's strategic management process, the NASA Strategic Plan, performance planning and measurement, and the importance of all employees to NASA's success. This office also develops Agency-level policy and guidance regarding awards and other forms of recognition that foster and reward exceptional employee achievements and contributions toward the accomplishment of NASA's strategic mission and performance targets.