The scope and duration of the requested generic waiver are especially important considerations. NPRs and Center Directives are typically updated in 5-year cycles, making this a reasonable upper limit for waiver duration in this situation. The program's/project's life cycle can range from less than a year to 30+ years within NASA's environment. While it may be tempting to make the duration of a waiver last until project retirement, this approach is strongly discouraged for long-duration projects. The scope of generic waivers is closely scrutinized by the NASA Headquarters' Chief Engineer, as unintended risks to current and future projects are difficult to analyze. NASA has well documented classifications for project categories and priority levels (NPR 7120.5, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements ; NPR 7120.7, NASA Information Technology and Institutional Infrastructure Program and Project Management Requirements; and NPR 7120.8, NASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements), payload categories (NPR 8705.4, Risk Classification for NASA Payloads ), and software classification and whether it is Safety Critical (NPR 7150.2 and NASA-STD-8739.8, NASA Software Assurance Standard). It is recommended that the scope of generic waivers be stated in well-understood terms and categories.
Risk is always one of the primary considerations in evaluating a waiver for approval by a NASA Technical Authority (TA). Requesters are to ensure that risks are well documented with sound rationale in the waiver request. In some instances, alternative techniques can mitigate these risks. The mitigating factors are documented so the TA can clearly understand the resulting risk being accepted by the Center or program/project. This Handbook has a section on related NASA Lessons Learned for many NPR 7150.2 requirements. These Lessons Learned provide a good start to identifying risk related to projects not performing specific requirements.
The second type of generic waiver addresses the replacement of specific with alternative requirements by the Center or program/project. Advanced software technology and/or tools may mitigate risks associated with not implementing a set of NPR 7150.2 requirements but may fail to meet the requirement itself. Alternative Center-specific requirements might be proposed as a replacement to one or more requirements in the NPR. The likelihood that the waiver will be approved lessens if the alternate requirements set negatively changes the projects' risk profile unnecessarily, reduces safety, or impacts quality.
While on the surface this appears to be related to the partial Center (P (Center) requirement discussion (see SWE-140), the key differences are (1) the implementation of P (Center) provides only partial relief from the full requirement, (2) results of the SWE-120 waivers are intended to last for an extended time, and (3) they cover multiple instances of requirement relief. The SWE-140 application, on the other hand, is intended for a particular project's implementation and/or life cycle or a portion of its life cycle.
To assure the broad applicability of the request to a Center under SWE-120, the requestor makes certain that all work areas and/or elements of a Center's mission are reviewed, e.g., space, aeronautics, research, advanced technology, institutional infrastructure).
Note that NPR 1400.1E, NASA Directives and Charters Procedural Requirements , only allows approval of request for waiver relief from NPRs for a specific period or duration.
(Editor note: Please contact the Handbook Development Team if you have an example of a general exclusion waiver request that is shareable with the software community.