Projects Inc.

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

We are in the process of re-establishing a competitive world-class scientific program after the closure of the Tevatron. This means building several projects at once while at the same time operating the largest accelerator complex in the United States and carrying out physics research across all three frontiers of particle physics. We completed our recent projects MINERvA and DECam on schedule and under budget. Also, we are committed to finishing NOvA on schedule and on budget.

While we ultimately achieve the desired outcomes, we do so with much unnecessary drama, alarming us and more importantly our funders along the way, as happened recently with the NOvA construction. This drama arises from not anticipating and addressing problems well ahead of time either during construction or in the transition to operations. We need to improve our game. In the next couple of months I will describe in these columns some of the changes we are making to manage projects in a better, more effective and transparent way.

The Dec. 4, 2012, Director’s Corner highlighted some important organizational changes at Fermilab that went into effect in late 2012. With the updated structure in place, I’d like to focus this column on one of the changes: the newly formed Office of Integrated Planning and Performance Management.

IPPM emerged from what was originally the Office of Program and Project Support. Since the realignment, which also included the merging of the Quality program and ES&H, IPPM has focused on two main goals:

  • The development of an integrated, five-year laboratory strategic agenda—or plan—that supports the three frontiers of high-energy physics. The agenda is a living document that identifies the infrastructure projects, systems and capabilities necessary to achieve Fermilab’s strategic goals. The agenda has been put through intensive scrutiny and evolution during management workshops. We will be sharing the agenda with everyone at the lab in the coming weeks.
  • The development of an integrated planning process that includes all essential information regarding coordination and alignment of laboratory and DOE-HEP program budgets, staff resources, skill needs and readiness of facility infrastructure and systems. This process has been used since November and is proving to be a valuable tool to ensure integration of goals, effort and priorities across the lab as our mission evolves for the future.

Also under way in IPPM is the recruitment of a program head (Carl Strawbridge has been interim head since April). The search is in progress, with a goal to fill the position this spring.

IPPM is an important element in planning and managing performance across the multiple activities of the laboratory, integrating all the necessary human, financial and technical elements. In particular, IPPM supports the execution of multiple projects now under way and in the future.