This requirement primarily applies to the NASA Headquarters Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE). The requirement states that the leadership of the NASA Software Initiative resides with the NASA OCE. The OCE has the responsibility to lead, maintain, and fund the Agency leadership and Agency-wide Software Initiative activities. Centers have the responsibilities to lead, maintain, and fund the Center software improvement activities and Center or organizational software process activities, including the flow down of Agency policies and requirements into Center or organizational processes, requirements, and policies. The final decision on the direction and selection of implementation approaches for the NASA Software Engineering Initiative is made by the NASA OCE.
The NASA Software Engineering Initiative (NSEI) began in 2002. The SEIP "defines a NASA-wide comprehensive approach for improving software engineering to a quantifiable maturity level commensurate with mission criticality in order to meet the software challenges of NASA." NASA's plan employs common frameworks for software process improvement, which it does through the establishment and maintenance of an engineering infrastructure. This approach includes the implementation of advanced practices, the establishment of an integrated requirements set, and integrated training in advanced software engineering. The OCE assures the achievement of these activities by providing funding and coordination.
NSEI came into existence as one of three basic components of the NASA Engineering Excellence Initiative (EEI). (Systems engineering and project engineering are the other two main components.) In coordination with Center software engineering improvement activities, the Software Engineering Initiative Plan (SEIP) contains a NASA-wide comprehensive approach for improving software engineering to quantifiable maturity levels commensurate with mission criticality in order to meet the software challenges of NASA. As a part of the SEIP, the OCE (Office of the Chief Engineer) leads the Agency Software Working Group (SWG) to provide assistance and guidance to the OCE for implementing and assessing this software engineering initiative. The OCE's Program Executive for Software oversees and approves Center Software Engineering Improvement Plans (see SWE-108), Center Software Training Plans (see SWE-107), reviews benchmark results of the Center's progress (see SWE-004), and oversees updates to these plans.
Because the requirements in this NPR also incorporate elements of best practices, the OCE assesses the Centers' use of these practices through the compliance review of these requirements (see SWE-129). Because all NASA projects and activities have a finite length, the Centers and their software engineering organizations are expected to capture, maintain and support the software engineering improvement activities within their Center activities once the OCE Software Engineering Initiative concludes.