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SLAC Improvement Initiative: Unfolding the Road Map

(Photo - road map)Our operations review consultants, McCallum-Turner, released their recommendations this week. These recommendations, based on information we provided and the observations, experience and expertise of the review teams, ranged from defining lab-wide management principles to specific suggestions for selected focus areas. The document is available on the M&0 Review website.

What comes next in this journey we call the SLAC Improvement Initiative (SII)? We will select and adapt consultant recommendations in areas we have known need improvement, whether customer service or efficiency, and generate a road map that will guide us to our desired "One Lab" destination. This road map will include a list of objectives agreed upon by the lab Senior Management with a schedule for completion, measurable milestones, tangible outcomes and the necessary resources to make it happen while we maintain our daily work. Each objective will have a responsible owner. Laboratory management will receive regular updates on progress, providing support and leadership. Mechanisms will be in place to make sure we stay on schedule and on budget, with the ability to reassess course as necessary.

I have the privilege of leading the development of this road map. This means considering the improvement ideas from consultants, from Stanford University and from within the lab, and drafting a multi-year framework by the end of December for review by the lab Senior Management. This framework will put in place foundational elements that integrate lab activities around vision, mission and core values, and will address the most urgent needs, i.e., the areas where we are delivering poor compliance, poor customer service, or both. The first actions in F2008 will be a combination of policy decisions, pilot projects to test new service delivery models and steps towards addressing larger issues. An important part of the work to be accomplished in these next nine months of gestation will be to further define the areas of improvement and resources needed for subsequent years as well as to evaluate how effective we are in reaching our goals.

SLAC management and staff already had a sense of where we can improve. We now are ready to put it all together and deal with how and when. The SII will engage us in a unique opportunity to apply our commitment to excellence to far-reaching improvements for the benefit of the lab. This is our chance to test our core values and to position ourselves for a successful future, a new director, a new contract and a renewed relationship with our sponsoring agency.

As the SII project manager in this first phase, I welcome your insights, ideas and advice.

Elizabeth Caplun-Cochrane, SLAC Today, November 30, 2007

Elizabeth Caplun-Cochrane is the Photon Science Directorate and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) Assistant Director, and is currently the project manager for SII. More information about her role as SII Project Manager can be found in the November 16 SLAC Today column from Persis Drell.