The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is a high-energy-density-physics, experimental user facility that focuses up to 1.8 MJ of UV light in 192 laser beams onto a mm-sized target at the center of a target chamber. This paper describes how we conduct experimental shots on the NIF. We review processes and tools used to facilitate experiment planning and operations. Safety and radiological aspects of NIF’s operations are discussed. We also describe efforts to continuously improve operational efficiency and further increase shot rate.