The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) 10 major spaceflight projects discussed in this report have not yet fully implemented earned value management (EVM). As a result, NASA is not taking full advantage of opportunities to use an important tool that could help reduce acquisition risk. GAO assessed the 10 projects against three fundamental EVM practices that, according to GAO's best practices cost guide, are necessary for maintaining a reliable EVM system. GAO found shortfalls in two of three fundamental practices. Specifically, we found that *More than half of the projects did not use an EVM system that was fully certified as compliant with the industry EVM standard. *Only 4 of the 10 projects established formal surveillance reviews, which ensure that key data produced by the system was reliable. The remaining 6 projects provided evidence of monthly EVM data reviews; however, the rigor of both the formal and informal surveillance reviews is questionable given the numerous data anomalies GAO found. GAO also found that 3 projects had reliable EVM data while 7 had only partially reliable data. For the EVM data to be considered reliable per best practices it must be complete and accurate with all data anomalies explained. NASA EVM focal points, headquarters officials, project representatives, and program executives cited cultural and other challenges as impediments to the effective use of EVM at the agency. Traditionally, NASA's culture has focused on managing science and engineering challenges and not on monitoring cost and schedule data, like an effective EVM system produces. As a result, several representatives said this information traditionally has not been valued across the agency. This sentiment was also echoed in a NASA study of EVM implementation. Also cited as a challenge to the effective use of EVM was NASA's insufficient number of staff with the skills to analyze EVM data. Without a sufficient number of staff with such skills, NASA's ability to conduct a sound analysis of the EVM data is limited. However, NASA has not conducted an EVM skills gap analysis to determine the extent of its workforce needs. NASA has undertaken several initiatives aimed at improving the agency's use of EVM. For example, NASA strengthened its spaceflight management policy to reflect the industry EVM standard and has developed the processes and tools for projects to meet these standards through its new EVM system. While these are positive steps, the revised policy contains only the minimum requirements for earned value management. For example, it lacks a requirement for rigorous surveillance of how projects are implementing EVM and also does not require use of the agency's newly developed EVM system to help meet the new requirements. NASA has attempted to address EVM shortcomings through policy changes over the years, but these efforts have failed to adequately address the cultural resistance to implementing EVM.While these are positive steps, the revised policy contains only the minimum requirements for earned value management.
|Title||:||NASA Earned Value Management Implementation Across Major Spaceflight Projects Is Uneven|
|Author||:||United States Government Accountability Office|