Making progress, more to come

Vicky White

In January I wrote about my first three months in the job of COO. The next three months were just as eventful and have seen progress on many fronts, as well as a few bad days with operational or safety issues that could have been avoided with better planning and work processes.

We began updating the laboratory’s Contractor Assurance System and started up a Policy Board. We also formulated a new single-page lab agenda, published internally in draft, though changes may come after the P5 panel delivers its report in May.

The Employee Advisory Group has been active and well organized. They provided four recommendations to management, with more to come soon. They will soon post the recommendations and their status on their website.

Paul Mantsch of the Technical Division led a working group of experienced project managers to combine the results of numerous reviews into a single set of recommended actions to improve project management at Fermilab. Eight additional working groups are active and looking into: time and effort reporting policies and practices; cost optimization; setting and communicating priorities; critical skills planning; scientific appointments; Wilson Hall space planning; a laboratory-directed R&D program; and issues management. The list of these short-term working groups and their statuses can be found here. In the next three months we are looking forward to important recommendations and results from all of these working groups.

I’m excited about the new FermiWorks system, which will go live in the summer and will let us support and maintain information on all employees, users, visitors and contractors in a single place. We will be able to do normal HR business (such as personnel requisitions, hires, promotions, performance reviews, salary increases and career planning) electronically using a modern system. I hope that we will be able to start one new project to modernize our business systems. This will be decided in April by the Information Systems Portfolio Management team.

Spring is in the air now, finally, and with it the sense of renewal and forward progress. I will continue to push forward to make improvements until the end of my tenure in the COO position. Let me know what you think — you can post to my blog.

Editor’s note: Access to internal work documents and to Vicky White’s blog are restricted to employees, users, visitors and contractors with a Fermilab Services computing account.