Planning is everything

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote that “Plans are nothing; planning is everything” is right on target for particle physics. Our circumstances change quickly in response to new physics observations, budget changes in the middle of the fiscal year or unexpected agency decisions such as the recent failure to secure interim funding for DUSEL. Reacting quickly and adjusting our plans to re-optimize our program is a necessity. We want to elevate our game in this regard, and to do so we need to be more systematic.

Planning is ultimately a line management responsibility. Many of our programs and projects, however, cut across laboratory organizations, making planning a collective enterprise. To facilitate the development of programs and projects and their integration into the laboratory we are establishing the Office of Program and Project Support (OPPS). The charge to this office is to support the Divisions, Sections, Centers and the Directorate across a broad front. OPPS responsibilities include strategic planning, project and program planning from construction through operation of facilities, human resources planning, integration of the site development plan with the strategic plan, and the support of laboratory systems and standards such as the Organization Human Assets Plan (OHAP), the Earned Value Management System (EVMS) and the Engineering Manual. There are three offices under the OPPS:

Office of Quality and Best Practices (OQBP):
This office exists and its mission stays unchanged. It supports the integration of quality assurance across the laboratory and the introduction of best practices throughout laboratory processes.

Office of Project Management Oversight (OPMO):
This office exists and its mission stays unchanged. It provides support to project managers in structuring projects and support systems and supports senior managers in the oversight of projects and the organization of reviews.

Office of Integrated Planning (OIP):
This new office supports the Directorate, Divisions, Sections and Centers in:

  1. Maintaining the strategic plan,
  2. Acting as a technical interface between the Directorate, Divisions, Sections and Centers and the CFO in developing budget plans for the laboratory,
  3. Ensuring that that the OHAP is kept up to date and supporting the Directorate to maintain plans for the evolution of the work force across the laboratory,
  4. Providing oversight and aiding the planning for the integration of projects into laboratory operations, and
  5. Improving the support systems and standards for engineering, project management and quality assurance.

We are very fortunate that Peter Garbincius has agreed to head the new OPPS. He brings great experience and a deep knowledge of the laboratory to the job. He will report to me. I look forward to his involvement and his leadership of this important function in the laboratory. Garbincius will need the support and cooperation of all of us at Fermilab to attain these goals.