Wednesday, April 13, 2005

To the hinterlands

From Anonymous:

With the departure of Admiral Nanos imminent and not a moment too soon, he should think seriously about taking DAVID BECK of ADWEM with him to the hinterlands----what a disaster this guy is..... Micromanager Supreme .... He's basically frozen all hiring in the directorate for more than 6 months while staff members leave in droves..... The attendance at his All Hands Meeting was hilariously SPARSE.... GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM, BECK.... THERE ARE PENCILS WAITING TO BE PUSHED.

Beck was brought here to increase the chances that UC would prevail in the management contract to run Los Alamos. While still at DOE/NNSA, he reportedly would boast that, if hired, he would raise UC's probability of success from 50-50 to at least 80-20. Questions of ethics aside, I can tell you that he has helped move the odds in the opposite direction, 20-80 or lower.
Why shame on you. Dave Beck is one of the most decent, caring upper managers recently hired into LANL. Hopefully Lockmart will make him a deputy director to Robinson.
Not knowing Beck myself, I can't tell if this is more sarcasm, or if 9:44 is genuine. Not, mind you, that I am against sarcasm, I just wish I could tell which it was here.
Dave Beck was incompetent even by NNSA standards.
As a member of the ADWEM directorate, "micromanager supreme" is a fair and accurate statement. Bye bye to the Admiral and Beck.
Dave Beck is a visionary. As with most visionaries the business as usual folks at Los Alamos are incapable of understanding what Dave is trying to accomplish. The typical attitude of “Just give us what we say we need and leave us alone” won’t work anymore. LET”S FACE IT GUYS AND GALS!! … WE ARE BEING FORCED BY CONGRESS TO CHANGE THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS. Dave knows this better than anyone. What do you (LANL) not understand? We must figure out how to do things better, faster and cheaper. EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD HAS FACED THIS CHALLENGE. We can no longer hide behind our reputation and Los Alamos has to get off its ass. No more 40 hr weeks to get through this crisis. You think anyone worked 40 hr weeks when it really mattered back in the good ol’ days? Let’s stop kicking the people like Dave who know how to save the NWC and start helping them accomplish our mission. Comments like to original post that makes me feel like UC needs to be canned for the sake of the nation’s security. I have 10 years invested in UCRP but I’m willing to cast that aside to assure my children’s security.
Re: the comment made at 4/13/2005 08:01:41 --

Two warning flags went up upon reading it:

1) I don't believe in the concept of "visionaries" working at national laboratories.


Other than that, it seemed to be a perfectly civilized comment.
8:01, given your reasoning, it seems as though you would also say the Director is a "visionary". Would you not?
For my own edification 8:01, can you please elaborate a bit more on who else is on the "stop kicking them list"?

Allowing for some fuzziness in your answer, I assume those not on the list are on the "it's OK to keep kicking them to various degrees list."
It sure seem to me that LANL is just:

The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our "Known World" consists of 18 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which may feature tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops, dancing, feasts, and more. Our "royalty" hold courts at which they recognize and honor members for their contributions to the group.
4-13-8:01 wrote: "We must figure out how to do things better, faster and cheaper. EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD HAS FACED THIS CHALLENGE."

Better-faster-cheaper is a siren's song. Project management professionals learn early on that the three dimensions of work trade off against one another.

NASA learned this in spades under Daniel Goldin, with not one but two consecutive smoking holes punched into the surface of mars. Whoops. Guess faster and cheaper traded off against "better." They also managed to destroy not one but two space shuttles, and all their occupants, with similar root causes.

While technology can trim some costs from each dimension, technology is not at the root of Los Alamos' problems and is not a critical thing to fix.

Lab culture, like NASA's, has some self-defeating pathalogical conditions, but running down the employees, hyper-bureaucracizing every activity, and belittling employees with lame jokes (the 'moron' joke before Congress for example) is obviously not effective at correcting these conditions.
I do not know Dave Beck from a hill of beans but I know one good thing that he, at least, cooperated in. He helped in the removal of Tresa Yarbro from an appointed management position in the directorate (NMT) of which her husband is the director.
This obvious case of nepotism was an embarassment to NMT management and employees and to the entire Laboratory.
We often hear Hispanics accused of nepotism, but this case clearly shows, nepotism is a part of more than one culture.
By the way, I have never met Ms. Yarbro. She may be a lovely person for all I know, but the same rules should be enforced on her as are enforced on others at LANL.
Wow that nepotism was sure a burning issue! I sleep better knowing the acting direcorate leader spends his time rooting out nepotism and counting the paper clips--a real multi-tasker. I bet he has one of his charts to track all this "progress".
It's all about filling in the different geometric shapes.
To 2:12pm 4/14: I do not recall Tresa Yarbro as a manager of any sort in NMT. She took a position with another organization when her husband became DL and is form B'd back to NMT. She was willing to go to another division entirely to avoid just the situation you are accusing her of.
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