6. Execution

NASA executes its mission and achieves its goals through programs and projects. Underlying the programs and projects are the Agency's Crosscutting Processes. The details, guidelines, and procedures for the planning, execution, and evaluation of NASA's programs and projects are in NPD 7120.4 and NPG 7120.5.

6.1 Crosscutting Processes
NASA delivers its products and services to customers through work processes that cut across the Strategic Enterprises and Functional/Staff Offices. Implicit in the performance of all NASA personnel is participation in one or more of these processes, which are interconnecting mechanisms through which the Agency transforms inputs, such as policies and resources, into outputs, such as knowledge and technology, for the benefit of NASA's many constituent groups. Crosscutting Process owners work at all levels within the Agency to ensure that products and services are effective and delivered efficiently. These processes are documented in NPG's to provide general guidelines for execution across the Agency. Figure 6-1 depicts the interrelationships of NASA's Crosscutting Processes, which are as follows:

flow chart illustrating Nasa's crosscutting processes as described above.

Figure 6-1. Interrelationships of NASA's Crosscutting Processes

6.1.1 Provide Aerospace Products and Capabilities
The scope of this process is to provide space, ground, and aeronautical systems, technologies, services, and operational capabilities to NASA's customers so they can improve life on Earth and explore and develop space. The following is a description of the major subprocesses associated with this process:

Agency management and the Strategic Enterprises lead the development of the framework of activity, including the assessment of external requirements and customer satisfaction. The Centers are responsible for the execution of the process, whose flow is graphically shown in Figure 6-2.

flow chart illustrating Nasa's processes for providing Aerospace Products and Capabilities as described above

Figure 6-2. "Providing Aerospace Products and Capabilities" Top-Level Process Flow

6.1.2 Generate Knowledge
The scope of this process is to extend the boundaries of knowledge of science and engineering, capture new knowledge in useful and transferable media, and disseminate new knowledge to NASA's varied customers in academia, industry, Government, and the public. The process of dissemination of knowledge is coordinated with the "Communicate Knowledge" process. The "Generate Knowledge" process reflects the first and most basic part of NASA's mission statement and consists of at least the following steps:

Each of these steps is subject to review for the purpose of process improvement. However, the major improvement focus is the integration of the "Generate Knowledge" process — the connection of research themes across the Agency and the organization of research activities around fundamental questions and strategic themes. This task is undertaken in support of the NASA Science Council, which is the principal management mechanism associated with the "Generate Knowledge" process. Other important mechanisms include the various committees of the NASA Advisory Council, which support NASA's major fields of research. Figure 6-3 depicts the top-level process map for the "Generate Knowledge" process.

a flow chart illustrating the process of Generating Knowledge as described above.

Figure 6-3. "Generate Knowledge" Top-Level Process Flow

6.1.3 Communicate Knowledge
The scope of this process is to develop an effective mechanism to coordinate, integrate, and disseminate consistent information to internal and external audiences regarding the content, relevancy, results, applications, and excitement of NASA's missions of research, development, and exploration. Figure 6-4 depicts the top-level flow of this process. Opinion polls reveal that the American public holds a generally positive attitude toward the space program, but is not very familiar with the importance of the program or its activities and accomplishments. The polls also indicate that those most familiar with the program are the strongest supporters. As an area that could help improve this situation, the "Communicate Knowledge" process focuses on the following three subprocesses:

a flow chart illustrating the process of Communicating Knowledge as described above.

Figure 6-4. "Communicate Knowledge" Top-Level Process Flow

6.1.4 Strategic Planning and Management
This entire handbook serves as a detailed description of the manner in which this Crosscutting Process is implemented throughout NASA.

6.2 Crosscutting Process Performance/Improvement Metrics
A fundamental goal of NASA's Strategic Management Process is to ensure that the Agency provides its customers with excellent products and services in the most cost-effective and timely manner. To ensure that NASA executes its Crosscutting Processes in this manner, process owners should collect the following types of metrics:

Crosscutting Process metrics are to be developed annually and updated in September in parallel with the other performance planning activities of the Agency, or during the course of the year as new improvement/reengineering activities are initiated.

6.3 Policy Documents and Directives
To ensure Agencywide understanding and enable the successful implementation of integrated policies at all levels, policy documents and directives (NPD's and NPG's) are to be developed, approved, and implemented. NASA directives are developed in accordance with statutory requirements or as mandated by the Administration.