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NEWS | March 15, 2023

All hands on deck: Integrated Project Team Development Expo 'sets the tone' for Sailors, PSNS & IMF personnel as availability begins

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

When a submarine arrives at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, there is more to availability preparation than staging materials, preparing tool kits, completing paperwork and setting schedules. There is a human component as relationships among Sailors, government civilians and contract personnel come to the forefront. Each availability brings together hundreds of people who work in tandem over a series of months, or even years. In many respects, a project forms its own small community. March 2, Sailors assigned to USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) and PSNS & IMF personnel came together at an Integrated Project Team Development Expo at the Kitsap Conference Center to help bring cohesion and alignment between the boat and the shipyard. Pennsylvania arrived at PSNS & IMF March 1 and will be undergoing an Extended Refit Period, which is a scheduled maintenance requirement to include upgrading combat systems, performing preventative maintenance, and conducting other preservation work. This unique availability marks the shipyard’s first ERP on a Ballistic Missile Submarine.

“At the start of the availability, it really boils down to communication and coordination at all levels of the chains of command for the project and boat,” said Dave Fleck, Pennsylvania project superintendent. “There is a huge wave of things to be done by both entities. These coordination efforts also allow the project to help our ship’s force teammates learn on the spot about PSNS & IMF operations that they may be unaccustomed to, and close knowledge gaps. Other than the time period right before undocking, start of availability is the busiest time for the boat and the project, and sets the tone for the remainder of the time in yard.”

The expo was phase three of a four-phase plan to integrate the project team. The event featured booths staffed by PSNS & IMF personnel and allowed attendees to learn about Naval Sustainment System- Shipyards, environmental and industrial safety, fall protection, test house and work controls, Employee Resource Groups and process improvement. The expo saw more than 200 attendees throughout the day.

“During the IPTD phase three, many Sailors stopped by the NSS-SY booth and received a high-level overview of NSS-SY, as well as detailed answers to any of their questions,” said Carlene Ludwick, NSS-SY representative. “Shipyard managers and supervisors that stopped by the booth received details at a more granular level. We presented three videos to include Production Control Center, Supervisor Support Meeting, and Digital Crew Boards, along with explanations.”

Initiated in 2000, the IPTD is an ongoing NAVSEA Industrial Operations initiative to train and develop personnel from the naval maintenance community in project management applications and performance improvement. Project management methods and processes are presented and explored, as well as shipyard-specific business practices in each of the five practice areas determined to be critical to success. The practice areas are leadership, management, technical skill, perspective and team building.

The submarine team IPTD is delivered in four phases. Each step is conducted at strategic times in the project lifecycle and is designed to directly support and address the needs of the project team. The core idea is that improved planning will result in schedule adherence and provide the project team with skills designed to enhance performance.

Some of the topics presented during IPTD phase three include:

Presentation and reinforcement of the project’s workforce identity as one integrated team.

• Introduction of the core project team leadership and structure.

• Clear definition of supervisor and zone manager responsibilities.

• Summary of key strategies and deck plate-level support required.

• Review of the project’s key events, milestone and major work issues.

• Distribution of supporting documents such as rosters, schedules, maps and other project-relevant materials.

As the project progresses in the coming year, bonds and relationships will continue to grow and strengthen, benefitting both the crew of Pennsylvania and PSNS & IMF.

“As Pennsylvania enters PSNS & IMF, we are excited to finally be co-located with our project team and able to execute the extended refit period which has been in planning for a long time,” said Trevor Conger, commanding officer, Pennsylvania blue crew. “IPTD was an opportunity to interact with our team counterparts. We look forward to continuing to build close working relationships between ships force and the PSNS & IMF team to get Pennsylvania maintained, upgraded, and back out in the fight.”