NASA Project Status Reports:

Congressional Requirements Can Be Met, but Reliability Must Be Ensured

NSIAD-90-40: Published: Jan 23, 1990. Publicly Released: Jan 23, 1990.


Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) ability to produce status reports that provide sufficient and reliable cost, schedule, and performance information on major NASA projects.

GAO found that NASA and its four principal oversight congressional committees jointly established and agreed to new criteria for NASA project status reports, including: (1) required development of status reports for all research and development projects that cost at least $200 million; (2) biannual preparation of status reports for each project; and (3) a new six-part report format, with information about project status, project cost estimates, funding for project development, principal milestones, project goals and objectives, and project background. GAO also found that NASA lacked adequate internal controls to ensure the preparation and processing of current, accurate, and complete status reports, since it did not formalize its report development process, lacked written guidelines, and did not specify report development responsibilities.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should examine the NASA process to develop project status reports (PSR) and establish the internal controls necessary to ensure that the project status reports using the new criteria are reliable.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA agreed to examine the PSR process and establish internal controls necessary to ensure that PSR using new criteria are reliable. On February 14, 1990, NASA distributed guidance to program offices for developing PSR. NASA enclosed a copy of the GAO report that specifies the report format and instructions for its completion. In March 1990, NASA submitted 19 PSR reports.

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