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Management of Large Facility Projects Within the NSF. Mark Coles Deputy Director for Large Facility Projects BFA. Role of the Deputy Director for Large Facility Projects/BFA. The LFP Deputy serves as NSF’s principal agent for advising Program Officers on project management issues:

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Management of Large Facility Projects Within the NSF

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Management of large facility projects within the nsf l.jpg

Management of Large Facility Projects Within the NSF

Mark Coles

Deputy Director for Large Facility Projects

BFA

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Role of the Deputy Director for Large Facility Projects/BFA

  • The LFP Deputy serves as NSF’s principal agent for advising Program Officers on project management issues:

    • monitoring the business operations aspects of facilities

    • ensuring consistent representation on Project Advisory Teams for the purpose of transferring lessons learned

    • chairing and convening the Facilities Panel

  • The LFP Deputy is consulted on all policy matters involving facilities, including responses to inquiries made by

    • NSF management

    • NSF Office of Inspector General

    • Office of Management and Budget

    • Congress

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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View of NSF from LIGO vantage point

  • Successful $292 million construction project with excellent Foundation support

    • LIGO progress was always limited by rate of technical progress, never limited by cash flow or pace of NSF oversight

    • Cooperative agreement with NSF set a collaborative framework for establishment of a robust baseline scope, budget, schedule, and contingency

  • As the number of MREFC projects increases, there is greater need for resources to support their effective oversight

    • Creation of resources and formal processes for dealing with large projects will be of significant benefit to aid emerging projects in other disciplines.

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Initial view (ctd)

  • It’s also obvious that there are pressures to promote greater external visibility of the formal processes by which NSF conducts its oversight responsibilities.

  • The Deputy for Large Facility Projects position should facilitate visibility and transparency.

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Activities to date

  • Initial familiarization with broader scope of NSF facility related activities:

    • Site visits in support of NEES: U of Illinois and Oregon State, NSCL, NHFML, IceCube at U Wisconsin, other visits planned.

  • Started a monthly reporting system for MREFC projects summarizing financial and technical status, concerns, and near term milestones.

    • Goes to NSF Director and Deputy Director each month, via Tom Cooley, to brief them on the status of these projects

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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More activities

  • Developing supplementary materials to elaborate on newly released “Large Facilities Management and Oversight Guide”

  • Creation of an LFP web site with resource material

  • Began a monthly “lessons learned” seminar series on NSF oversight and management of MREFC projects

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Life Cycle Cost Accounting

  • NSB report on Science and Engineering Infrastructure for the 21st Century recommends:

    • “Develop and implement budgets for infrastructure projects that include the total costs to be incurred over the entire life-cycle of the project, including research, planning, design, construction, commissioning, maintenance, operations, and to the extent possible, research funding.”

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Plan to introduce enhancements to financial tracking system to facilitate full life cycle costing

  • Full cost accounting should tell an accurate story of the project, like a stock prospectus :

    • Successful projects may have significant cost growth as user community utilizes and adds scope to initial project.

    • This should be represented as success!

    • Cost accounting needs to distinguish this success from cost and schedule overruns with respect to initial scope.

  • Work with BFA and Bearing Point to augment existing financial reporting software to allow collecting this data

  • Work with Program Officers to utilize these tools

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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More about future plans

  • Work with emerging projects to create Cooperative Agreements, MOU’s, Internal Management Plans, and Project Execution Plans that reflect best practices adapted to each project’s specific needs.

  • Assist NSF Program Officers with external reviews to insure that best practices are used to assess project management, planning, and reporting.

  • Work with NSF Academy to ensure that project management training needs are met.

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Future plans (ctd)

  • Promote facility-related policy issues:

    • Inclusion of education/outreach objectives within allowed scope of MREFC where it makes sense to do so

    • Structure of MREFC scope to align technical boundaries and cost accounting boundaries:

      • Manage interfaces between construction, commissioning, early operations

      • Avoid potential funding hiatus due to gaps in funding between proposal development and MREFC award

      • Work with projects to make sure that awardees have flexibility to adapt a project to utilize new technical developments (example: LHC grid computing)

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Some open questions:

  • Should “Deputy Director for Large Facility Projects” be a line management responsibility?

    • Influence over project conduct results from good communication, building consensus, and providing resources, working closely with colleagues in BFA and Directorates

  • What is the appropriate size and skills mix needed for the Facilities Team?

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Open questions (ctd)

  • Can a “liens list” be created and managed within the NSF to anticipate and support full life cycle costs for each project?

    • A current list of possible future expenditures, such as maintenance,contingency repairs and spares, upgrades, possible scope expansions, interdisciplinary utilization, etc.

    • Useful to know what impact will be on future Directorate budgets as a consequence of taking on a new project.

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Supplementary Material

The Large Facility Projects Team

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Mark Coles

  • New to NSF – since June 9, 2003

  • Previously: Observatory Head, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO – NSF funded) Caltech

  • Project management experience at LIGO, SSC, and Schlumberger

  • PhD – High Energy Physics, MBA

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Team Members

  • Thad Konopnicki

    • On detail from DOE

    • 25+ years experience in program and project management, cost and schedule control systems, project assessment tools

    • BS mechanical engineering, MS electrical engineering, MBA

  • Patti McNamara

    • 14 years experience with budget and planning within NSF

    • On detail from MPS Directorate

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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Administrative Team Members…

  • Joan Miller (BFA Administrative Officer)

  • Shirley Byrd

  • Aprile Ryans

Advisory Committee for Business and Operations


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