For acquired software development, milestone reviews are incorporated into the contract because the contract is the binding document for contractor performance and deliverables. Regardless of whether the development is in-house or contracted, the development agreement needs to contain, among other key elements, surveillance activities including monitoring activities, reviews, audits, decision points, meetings, known contract milestones, etc.
Other items related to milestone reviews to include in the development agreement are:
- Review periods for deliverables.
- Time period for making corrections to resolve findings.
- Formal reviews, such as those found in NPR 7123.1, NPR 7120.5, NPR 7120.7 (IT and Institutional Infrastructure) and NPR 7120.8(Research and Technology).
- Technical reviews.
- Progress reviews.
- Acceptance reviews.
Consult Center guidance on the following topics as Center guidance may provide insights into reviews and review topics to be considered for inclusion in the Statement of Work (SOW) and contract:
- Process Monitoring and Control (PMC).
See the 7.3 - Acquisition Guidance and 7.9 - Entrance and Exit Criteria topics in this Handbook for additional guidance on this topic. The references in 7.3 - Acquisition Guidance may provide additional guidance on project milestone reviews and topics for consideration. Topic 7.9 - Entrance and Exit Criteria describes inputs, material that will be reviewed, and outputs for each life-cycle milestone review which may be useful as input to the development of checklists for these reviews. Consult the NPR 7120 family of requirements documents for definitions of milestones and approaches for different project types.
Additional information and resources regarding software milestones are available in Software Processes Across NASA (SPAN), accessible to NASA users from the SPAN tab in this Handbook.
Keep in mind that reviews not included in the contract, may be difficult to require of the contractor, so it is important to ensure the SOW and other contract elements are reviewed by the proper project management and/or technical authority for completeness.