Peggy Wilhide Headquarters, Washington, DC March 13, 2000 (Phone: 202/358-1898) RELEASE: 00-37
ADMINISTRATOR PRAISES WORK OF REVIEW TEAMSNASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today praised the work of two panels reporting on NASA project management issues, noting that the teams "have done a great service to the Agency and to the Nation."
The Phase II report by the Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board, led by Marshall Space Flight Center Director Arthur G. Stephenson, and the Faster, Better, Cheaper report by former Jet Propulsion Laboratory project manager Anthony Spear, are part of a top-to-bottom review of Agency programs Goldin chartered within the past few months.
The two reports released today join the work of another review panel, the Shuttle Independent Assessment Team, led by Ames Research Center Director Dr. Henry McDonald, which looked into Space Shuttle processing issues. That report was released March 9. An additional review, by a team under former Lockheed Martin executive Thomas Young, is due to NASA this week, and after a short period of study will be publicly released later this month.
"These teams have performed magnificently," Goldin said. "They have zeroed in on problem areas and have provided a roadmap for improving our performance in the future. The American people have said loud and clear they desire a government which costs less and does more. NASA has heard that message and embarked on a fundamental cultural change over the last several years.
"We knew this change would not be easy. We knew we would have problems," Goldin said. "We pushed, we monitored, and we initiated these reviews to find the areas which need correction. These reviews make clear there is no turning back from our overall goal and have identified where we can and must do better."
Goldin has asked NASA Chief Engineer W. Brian Keegan to lead an internal group of experts in considering the reports as a whole and developing an integrated set of responses. "I have asked the Chief Engineer to work with the heads of each of the major NASA Enterprises and the NASA field centers to develop an across-the- board approach to implementing these recommendations. Specific actions will be defined by mid-summer," Goldin said.
Among the report findings, Goldin noted the following:
Goldin said copies of all the reports will be provided to NASA managers to share with their employees to help incorporate the lessons learned into NASA management practices. "NASA has an incredible team of employees and contractors," Goldin said. "They are the best in the world at what they do, and I am proud to be a part of that team."
- The Shuttle Independent Assessment Team documented 81 recommendations set against four time frames: immediate, short- term, intermediate and long-term. "We have already implemented the immediate recommendations," Goldin said. "I have asked Joe Rothenberg (Associate Administrator for Space Flight) to prepare a plan for implementing the other recommendations We are adding a significant number of people to the program, but we're not going to stop there. This report raises very significant technical and management issues, some going back to the origins of the program. We are systematically working on each of the issues, and this report has given us 20-20 vision. In the meantime, we must guard against the notion that simply adding more people to the Shuttle program will solve all of our problems. As Harry McDonald's team has noted, our challenge is more complex than simple addition. It will involve augmenting an already highly accomplished team with new skills, the right skills, more training and more discipline. Because Harry's team and the Shuttle program had the courage to tackle these difficult issues, NASA will be better and the Shuttle will be safer."
- The Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board provided a comprehensive project management strategy - "Mission Success First" - for improving the likelihood of mission success in every NASA endeavor. "This represents a fourth element of the Faster, Better, Cheaper approach," Goldin said, "and that is, doing our work smarter. It means picking the right people, giving them the right resources, infusing the right technology, holding the right people accountable, and doing the right kind of risk management."
- The Faster, Better, Cheaper Report, a set of personal observations by Spear, "adds a wonderful dimension to these reviews," Goldin said. "Tony Spear was a legendary project manager at JPL and helped make Mars Pathfinder the riveting success that it was. If we could bottle his experience we would do so - this report is the next best thing."
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