Hello from the Office of Project Support Services

Marc Kaducak

Marc Kaducak, head of the Office of Project Support Services, wrote this column.

This is my first column on the Office of Project Support Services, or OPSS, so I’d like to offer a brief overview of our office and what we do to support the lab’s mission.

It wasn’t long ago that DOE project language such as “CD-0 approval” was somewhat obscure at Fermilab. The now daily use of such terms in all corners of the lab is indicative of the reach of our project portfolio. In response to the prevalence of projects at Fermilab, the lab organization has been adjusted to raise the visibility of project issues, assemble strong teams for new projects and grow the project management knowledge base.

Completing our projects on schedule and on budget requires careful planning and disciplined execution, especially since they typically involve technologies or approaches that have never been used. The role of OPSS is to help projects in any way we can.

For example, we work with project teams to establish standard project management processes, as well as tools and training designed to both maximize project success and comply with DOE rules and expectations. We supply project controls resources. We help organize and prepare for reviews, which advance the projects. And like at least some other organizations, we also do anything else our boss tells us to.

OPSS itself comprises only a few full time staff, but we have a large work list and interact with a large range of projects and programs, including the CMS upgrade, the IARC program, LARP, LBNF, MicroBooNE, Mu2e, Muon g-2, Muon Campus, LCLS-II at SLAC, PIP and PIP-II, the Science Lab Infrastructure – Utilities Upgrade Project and SuperCDMS.

My career to date both inside and outside Fermilab has been spent working on construction projects, so I have a deep appreciation of their challenges. I am excited to help out in OPSS and look forward to working with all the projects.

I’d like to thank my predecessor, Dean Hoffer, who started with an essentially blank slate and very limited resources and worked tirelessly for over a decade to build the OPSS group and project controls systems that exist today. There is plenty of work remaining to strengthen and optimize our project management systems, but I believe the science that our projects will yield makes it worthwhile. The chase to get there isn’t bad either.