“Even more important than the contingency dollars was the contingency
planning we did on various risks,” Dr. Dierker says. This allowed the team to be
“very effective at maintaining costs as we went forward.”
Based on lessons learned from past projects, the team also had set aside
sizable contingency budgets to cover procurement risks. For instance, it had
allocated US$85 million to account for uncertainty around bids for the US$200
million conventional facility construction. But when the bids came in, the esti-
mates were right on target.
“We were able to let that contract go for about the same amount that we had
estimated, which meant a large amount of contingency was now available to use
on other things,” Ms. Hatton says.
But adding scope also came with its own risks. The team had to make sure
that, in addition to funds, staff would be available at the right time to purchase,
install and test new items. By setting drop-dead dates and outlining dependencies for each addition at the outset, the team was able to successfully add more
than US$68 million in scope enhancements.
FOR THE FUTURE
The project’s innovative—and scientifically diverse—technical requirements
called for a specialized staff. To ensure it could attract top global experts to the
project when they were needed, the team worked with DOE to develop a human
resources toolkit that would help compensate people for relocating to Brookhaven
for a project role.
“That provided sign-on bonuses, performance bonuses, retention bonuses and
incentives to bring people on quickly,” Ms. Hatton says. “All of those things helped
us to ensure that we had the right people at the right place at the right time.”
Specialists from different fields needed the tools to collaborate efficiently, so
Erik Johnson, PhD, PMP,
NSLS-II deputy director for
Location: Upton, New York, USA
Experience: 30 years
Other notable projects:
1. Deep UV Free Electron Laser, an R&D
facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory
completed in 2002. Dr. Johnson was
2. NSLS-I improvement projects, which
included synchrotron beamlines and
accelerator modifications, completed in
2007. Dr. Johnson was portfolio manager
for the operations and engineering division.
Career lesson learned:
“Establish deep and transparent
relationships with the project sponsor and
other stakeholders as early as possible.
Success in the project is much easier
to achieve if the stakeholders have a
shared vision of the long-term objective
and are comfortable holding each
other accountable for their respective
responsibilities during the execution of