NPR 7120.5, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements, describes the generic roles and responsibilities for the ETA (Engineering Technical Authority). Because this document is written for general Agency-wide use, its content tends to be generally stated and avoids providing an elaboration of Center-specific instructions and explanations. To assure these roles and responsibilities are recognized at the Center level, NPR 7120.5 calls for the Center ETA to develop a plan for local TA implementation. This requires the Center ETA Implementation Plan to contain specific direction for complying with the Headquarters' OCE (Office of the Chief Engineer) lists of roles and responsibilities. The development of a Center-centric implementation plan and subsequent updates needs to proceed with conversation and involvement with the Headquarters' OCE, as well as with consideration for the Center's mission.
The software development team is expected to familiarize itself with the content of the Center implementation plan, which typically discusses the following:
- How the delegation of software ETA is officially documented at the Center level, e.g., in an approved TA Plan, Center Director Letter, Center Software Directive.
- How approval of deviations and waivers will proceed.
- The need to convene and support reviews.
- The method for identifying Center best practices.
- How review resources will be provided.
A Center may have one software TA or multiple TAs. Collaborative discussions and planning between or among these TAs regarding best practice implementation of the responsibilities from a software perspective will support consistent and fair decisions.
The software TA typically assists in developing compliance methods to SWE-124 based on the Center's ETA Implementation Plan. Typical activities might include software TA training, negotiations with the Center ETA regarding specific software discipline areas of responsibility, and discussions and planning sessions with software managers, working groups, and line management.
Approaches, decisions, and their rationale for applying the Headquarters-provided set of TA roles and responsibilities are included in the implementation plan.
Expending sufficient effort and planning up front to develop precise descriptions and processes for exercising TA will help negate nebulous and multiple applications across Center projects. This information will be important for future training of new software TA personnel, as well as for lessons learned activities.
Updates to the ETA Implementation Plan include any modifications or additional adaptations of the roles and responsibilities received from the Headquarters' OCE.
Additional guidance related to TA compliance may be found in the following related requirements in this Handbook:
Technical Authority Appointment
Waiver and Deviation Considerations