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:
Provide Aerospace Products and Capabilities
Communicate, Transfer, and Share Information and Results
Strategic Planning and Management
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:
Provide Space Operations Services provide services, facilities, and
systems necessary to support NASA Strategic Enterprise programs, projects,
and customers during the mission preparation and flight execution phases.
Develop and Use Aerospace Capabilities provide space, ground, and
aeronautical systems and services for scientific, industrial, international,
and government partners, as well as other customers.
Develop Space Technology and Enable Commercialization select, prioritize,
and implement technology development activities to meet the critical needs
of NASA's Strategic Enterprises and to seek and encourage the commercial
use of NASA technologies and resources.
Develop Aeronautics Technology pioneer the identification, development,
verification, transfer, application, and commercialization of high-payoff
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.
Figure 6-2. "Providing Aerospace Products and Capabilities" Top-Level
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:
Acquire Advice acquire advice on priorities for knowledge acquisition,
through formal and informal mechanisms, from groups representing all customers
for NASA knowledge products, including the National Research Council and
NASA-formed advisory committees.
Plan and Set Priorities develop Strategic and Implementation Plans,
based on advice received and other considerations, that articulate the rationale
for knowledge acquisition and the strategies for acquiring knowledge.
Select and Fund/Conduct Research Programs select and fund internal
and external science and technology research programs that are part of,
complement, or support the acquisition of knowledge through development programs.
Analyze Data (Initial) conduct the initial analysis that permits an
evaluation of the quality of the data acquired (and hence, in some cases,
modifications to the acquisition methods) and yields the first knowledge
Create Data Archives create data archives that are easily accessible
by and useful to the science and technology communities.
Conduct Further Research fund internal and external research programs
to derive knowledge from the full suite of data sets and other information
produced by flight and nonflight programs.
Publish, Patent, and/or Broadly Disseminate Results publish, patent,
and otherwise broadly disseminate the scientific and technical knowledge
resulting from these programs in forms accessible by and useful to the science
and technology communities in open or proprietary media, as appropriate.
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
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
Develop Themes and Messages Establish concise and consistent themes
and messages that NASA officials and employees can articulate to a variety
of audiences. These audiences primarily consist of our employees, the Executive
Branch, Congress, industry, academia, our customers, and the public. These
themes and messages must be simple so that everyone can understand them and
so they will be repeated consistently. In this context, a "theme" is an orienting
principle or idea derived from national interests that provides a solid
foundation for relating NASA activities to customer and public interests.
Themes are focused on important national, Agency, and Center objectives.
A "message" is a phrase that relates program issues, activities, or
accomplishments to the public interest. It should clearly communicate specific
and relevant information to our customers. An Agency Communications Team
defines a specific set of themes and messages for use in Agency communication
vehicles, as well as approve an overall Agency communication strategy. This
group also determines the criteria for assessment based on outcome-based
metrics. Team members include the Associate Deputy Administrator (Technical)
as the Chair, the White House Liaison, the Special Assistant to the Administrator
for Communications, the Comptroller, and the Associate Administrators for
Human Resources and Education, Legislative Affairs, Public Affairs, and Policy
and Plans. Identified themes and messages are coordinated with and disseminated
to Enterprises, Functional/Staff Offices, Centers, and employees for
incorporation into their activities.
Figure 6-4. "Communicate Knowledge" Top-Level Process Flow
Establish Integrated Communications Teams The Integrated Communications
Team (ICT) concept is the primary mechanism to coordinate, strengthen, and
implement communications programs, products, and services related to specific
Enterprises, programs, and projects. Each Enterprise determines the requirement
and number of ICT's to be established to communicate its activities. Team
members include scientists, engineers, technicians working with a particular
activity, and experts in education, public affairs, legislative affairs,
policy, and international affairs. The content of ICT-developed strategies
must be consistent with approved Agency themes and messages. The ICT strategies
should include specific timetables, products, and services that will be used
to disseminate information on Enterprise activities.
Communicate With the Entire NASA organization ("NASA Team") As the
Agency implements reengineering and organizational change, effective
communication with employees and our partners is vital. Keeping employees
informed affects morale, which in turn affects performance. Employee surveys
have indicated that internal communication is a major weakness in the current
management process. To improve this situation, the Office of Headquarters
Operations is to establish a World Wide Web site on the Internet, designed
especially to meet the needs of the NASA Team. This Web site will feature
up-to-date information on Agency policy and plans, information on human resources
and personnel issues, status of the NASA budget, messages from the Administrator
and senior management, and guidance on Agency themes and messages. In addition
to the Web site, senior managers have been encouraged to increase their efforts
to share information on critical Agency issues with the NASA Team in a timely
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:
Performance goals and target levels that measure the resources consumed in
the process, as well as output, cycle time, and life-cycle cost; and
Process effectiveness indicators that are determined by the processes' customers,
generally by the Enterprise, to measure the degree to which the products
and services produced by the processes meet customer needs.
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