Saturday, April 16, 2005

Now if the DOE and the new LANL contractor would get on the wagon

From Anonymous:

Now if the DOE and the new LANL contractor would get on the wagon...

Clearly not applicable to experimentalists or people working behind the fence, but I've never quite understood why those of us working on open projects that involve basically sitting at a laptop have met prohibitive paperwork, permission slips, and general scowling from management on this topic.

It would also be a nice change for commuters from outside Los Alamos, given that gas is getting pretty pricey.
How could you possibly trust anyone who works from home to really be working? If emplyees working overtime have to be monitored, how would LANL monitor home workers?

And if more people worked from home, then CCN would have to provide something better than the impossible to use VPN network. They'd actually have to do some work rather than whining about how they'd prefer not to allow any access to LANL from outside.
A good company (not LANL, but a good company) would judge an individual's contributions by the quality of his work, rather than the religiousness with which he punches his time card.

I repeat, that is how a good company would do this, not LANL.
As a LANL retiree and current contract worker at Sandia, I can attest to the fact that Sandia has a much better telecommuting policy. I know several Sandians who live around the country and telework from where they live. I left LANL partly because my boss wouldn't let me telecommute two days a week.
Here's an IQ test for LANL managers:
Which of the following should NOT be allowed to telecommute?
(1) A theoretical physicist
(2) A secretary
(3) A janitor
(4) A security guard physicist?
Which NUMBER, stupid!
Funny, now that our fearless leadership has forced us into a paperwork pushing, time card punching workforce, the quality and depth of work I see around me has dropped through the floor. All I see is parking lots that clear out at 4 and 5pm - now that it is clear that the QUALITY of work is no longer a measure of our productivity, the level of caring and dedication on the part of employees seems to have dropped.

So 12:16:18, clearly if someone works from home and meets or exceeds their goals, it's a success. Work-at-home is a benefit to corporations and other government agencies. Honestly, not much makes LANL different, so why that benefit wouldn't be manifest at LANL is beyond me. I'm not sure how it benefits anyone if someone is highly reliable in terms of punching the clock, yet produces nothing of value on company time.

Unfortunately, those in command, and those who provide the infrastructure (CCN), aren't even partially educated on how this actually can work and be both beneficial and not a huge effort to do right on the technical side.

This, in my opinion, is one area that having a company help run the lab would be a very good thing. Companies "get it" on these sorts of issues.
With LMT waiting in the wings to show us how to do computer networking, secure telecommunications and basic computer support, LANL CCN support folks here should be shivering in their boots...that goes for LANL facilities people too!
Do you suppose waiting-in-the-wings LMT could find the money and wherewithall to repair some of our aging facilities, such as the leaking roofs at TA-3 in SM200 and SM123? There have been multiple sets of LANL types viewing the increasing problems caused by the continuous leaking. And of course the rain today will add to the problems. But LANL, including facilities, just shake their heads at the problem and wonder why those who have to work in that environment should expect a better work environment.
Folks, all it takes is Division and Group management with huevos. Our Division has a defined "Work at Home" policy, and numerous staff who live in Santa Fe or Albuquerque or even farther away work at home 1-2 days per week.
In a scientific laboratory (note the term SCIENTIFIC), the output cannot be measured or regulated by time clocks or factory whistles. Competent management has to be able to assess the quality of the product without these devices that were designed for robotic kinds of assembly-line work.

The ability of management to measure the quality (not just the quantity) of scientific output at said laboratory should start at the top with a Director who is, de facto, the chief science officer.

If the Director of such a laboratory needs to appoint someone else to be CSO, then there may be an institutional problem of some serious magnitude. One might say that such a laboratory can no longer lay claim to being SCIENTIFIC.
CCN works really hard just to keep VPN allowed on for LANL people. NNSA auditors would have prefered that we got rid of that and dialups. So instead some of the CCN has to spend its time doing reports to Washington about why the lab networks have internet access. It is my guess that a lot of these extra reports will go away once Lockheed, Bechtel, or some other agency takes over as SNL doesnt seem to have these problems.

Another issue that comes up a lot and requires multiple reports to NNSA, DOE, Congress, and DHS are the number of Red Badge people and how do they have access to LANL computers at all. Or the fact that people are allowed modems in some places, or the fact that some divisions are allowed to manage their own computers and not use institutional services. Or the fact that LANL people have laptops.. and it goes on and on.

Most auditors, congress investigators, people from DOD, DHS, and DOE have to be told over and over again that open science is allowed here. It is a foreign concept and has been put down as a security problem in several audits (usually to be removed at Saint Pete's behest... for better or worse.)

That is why managers scowl so much when someone at LANSCE asks for a wireless node. The manager is going to spend at least 5 weeks a year (every year) talking to people from DC about how this isnt going to cause a national security incident. [And if somehow it were to occur via it.. his signoff is the one that says he would spend 20 years in Levinworth.]
Re: 4/17/2005 07:42:10 PM

Well, then. Let's all help UC win the recompete. They'll straighten this mess out. Won't they?
In the 7:42 post, the poster commented that "the fact that some divisions are allowed to manage their own computers and not use institutional services" has to be reported to DOE. Why would the DOE require this level of detail in audit reports? The poorest sys admin support at LANL comes from institutional services which are not cost effective no matter what CCN tries to sell the user community.

From this post it's clear that high level LANL management should get involved with the audits enough to communicate to DOE/NNSA what the cost of providing the amount of detail required is.

We need a link on the blog with a running list of all the wastefull activities required by the DOE/NNSA (unfunded mandates).

Start the list with the following:

1. having to explain how systems are administered;
2, having to explain why LANL employees have laptops;
3. having to explain why foreign nationals that LANL recruits need to use computers; and
4. having to explain why LANL employees need ouside access to the yellow.
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