bannera

Book A.
Introduction

Book B.
7150 Requirements Guidance

Book C.
Topics

Tools,
References, & Terms

SPAN
(NASA Only)


SWE-098 - Agency PAL

1. Requirements

4.5.1 The NASA Headquarters' Office of the Chief Engineer shall maintain an Agency-wide process asset library of applicable best practices.

1.1 Notes

The Agency-level process assets can be viewed from the NASA Software Process Asset Library (PAL) Web site http://swpal.nasa.gov, from the NASA Software Engineering Web site at http://software.nasa.gov and from the NASA Engineering Network Web site at http://nen.nasa.gov/portal/site/llis/OCE/\* (http://nen.nasa.gov/portal/site/llis/OCE/*). The repository may contain information in many forms including, but not limited to, processes, Web sites, design principles, books, periodicals, presentations, tools, examples of documents, and conference descriptions.

EHB Editor note: The websites (swpal.nasa.gov and software.nasa.gov and nen.nasa.gov/portal/site/llis/OCE/) are no longer valid for accessing the Agency PAL. Use the NASA Engineering Network (NEN) url given here: https://nen.nasa.gov/web/nen/home
.

1.2 Applicability Across Classes

Class

  A_SC 

A_NSC

  B_SC 

B_NSC

  C_SC 

C_NSC

  D_SC 

D_NSC

  E_SC 

E_NSC

     F      

     G      

     H      

Applicable?

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

Key:    A_SC = Class A Software, Safety Critical | A_NSC = Class A Software, Not Safety Critical | ... | - Applicable | - Not Applicable
X - Applicable with details, read above for more | P(C) - P(Center), follow center requirements or procedures

2. Rationale

The adoption of a NASA Agency-wide software engineering Process Asset Library (PAL) 266 promotes the continued development of a strong engineering culture. The development, capture, and dissemination of software engineering best practices, examples and lessons learned through the use of the Agency PAL enables continuous improvement among the software engineers. The assignment of this responsibility to the Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE) assures that relevant software engineering assets and guidance materials are made available to the NASA Software Engineering community. Funding for and maintenance of the PAL are provided by the OCE, thus making the PAL independent of Center and projects resources. Centers and projects still have a responsibility to utilize and occasionally share assets via the PAL.

3. Guidance

Electronic documentation that is intuitive and highly searchable gives software engineers the ability to quickly find the information they need, allowing them to do their jobs more effectively. Recognizing this, NASA is implementing its NASA Strategic Plan 117 objectives in part by moving forward aggressively with intelligent content publishing to increase staff productivity. The Agency PAL 266 supports this objective.

Current Process Asset Library (PAL) capabilities are centered on a collection of folders arranged in hierarchical fashion. Folder topics are searchable to help the user quickly locate content related to the user's need.

(The intent behind future implementation updates to the Agency PAL is to install an information system that is database driven, that includes defined mechanisms to access the assets, and that allows the website to be dynamically delivered via updates to the information system (database)).

The Agency PAL was established and is managed to satisfy two primary goals, as follows:

  1. Provide a repository of software engineering assets.
  2. Encourage sharing of these assets within the Agency.

The main types of information that reside on the site include:

  • Products: Documents (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and Adobe pdf) plus handbooks, checklists, reports, presentations, proceedings, course materials, tools, worksheets, tool catalogs, metrics repositories).
    • Usage note: Products may be released or be up for revision.
    • Training note: Check the PAL for future related online training.
  • Special Topics, such as the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). 157
  • Information that supports the Continuous Improvement Subgroup of the NASA Software Working Group.
  • Usage metrics information. (See the NASA Community of Practice leader if you have a need or use for the accumulated statistics on usage of the PAL).

Training and help for the users of the Agency PAL are vital if the Agency PAL is to be a successful and useful tool.  Capabilities in this regard include the following:

  • Training.  Agency PAL training can be provided for domain owners, users, and maintainers. 
  • Web page specific help is provided to assist the user via the NEN Editor's contact mechanism at the bottom of the web page.
  • Upload and management of file help is available with an account (currently held by Center representatives to the NASA Software Working Group):
    • Upload and Describe Asset.
    • Classify Asset.
    • Send for Approval.
    • Notified of Results.
    • Prepare asset for NASA PAL.
    • Up load a file from your computer.
    • Reference a resource on the web.
    • Provide asset unique name.
    • Selecting keywords for an asset

The following entries provide key notes about the Agency PAL and its format. Additional information is available from the "NASA PAL Rqts 71.14.04" document on file in the OCE.

  • The implementation of the Agency PAL is based on Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products such as database engines, web publishing tools, etc.
  • Legacy PALs may remain in place as 'heritage' asset libraries, but their assets are envisioned to be migrated to the Agency PAL. Migrated assets may require some rework to assure compatibility.
  • The Agency PAL will not contain classified information.
  • The Agency PAL will be available to any individual having access to internal NASA websites. Access to specific assets will be restricted based on information protection requirements of asset owners at Centers/projects, and any other applicable data security regulations as documented herein.
  • The Agency PAL will not guarantee hyperlinks contained in the content of assets (i.e., the text of an asset contains a hyperlink), or support hyperlinks into the content of assets (i.e. the ability to hyperlink to a specific paragraph of a PAL asset). Both of these features are viewed as non-essential, and require levels of technology and maintenance disproportionate to their merits.
  • The Agency PAL will not guarantee tools, simulations, and related assets. Such assets are "use at your own risk," so the user is encouraged to investigate the tool thoroughly (via point-of-contact information) before use. Also, the Agency PAL's feedback mechanisms (comments, ratings) will help those who use a tool to pass their experiences on to other prospective users.

4. Small Projects

Small projects will find value in searching the Agency Process Asset Library (PAL) for examples, templates, tools, and best practices prior to needing them on their project. This could prevent "reinventing" assets that may already exist and may lead to more efficient execution of the project.

5. Resources

5.1 Tools

Tools to aid in compliance with this SWE, if any, may be found in the Tools Library in the NASA Engineering Network (NEN).

NASA users find this in the Tools Library in the Software Processes Across NASA (SPAN) site of the Software Engineering Community in NEN.

The list is informational only and does not represent an “approved tool list”, nor does it represent an endorsement of any particular tool. The purpose is to provide examples of tools being used across the Agency and to help projects and centers decide what tools to consider.

6. Lessons Learned

No Lessons Learned have currently been identified for this requirement.