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Monday, August 12, 2013

Let us talk ratios!

What ratio of managers and or support worker to programmatic workers would be appropriate?


Anonymous said...

OK, I'll bite.

How about 1 direct level manager per every 50 "worker bees" and around 1 support worker per every 5 research or tech staff member. Follow that up by doing what LANL's Sig Hecker did back in the mid-1990s and wipe out half of the bloated Directorates and Division through consolidation.

That would put the labs more in line with what you see in a normal research environment and would drastically lower the operating costs at these labs.

Anonymous said...

When I worked in the private sector there was a VP of research, two senior directors,4 directors and about 200 worker bees (scientists, techs etc). That covered the research effort. Seemed about right. Managers had to work, actually work, there was too much to do and not enough time or people. None of this stuff like LLNL where managers create needs that they then manage and justify their existence.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting and amusing LANL technical report, which can be readily found on the web, which discusses this very issue: G.H. Canavan, "The Leadership of Philosopher Kings," LANL Tech. Rep. LA-12198-MS (1992). This report, to pique any interest, actually argues for MORE layers of management, to free up time/energy for managers to do scientific/technical work themselves... Not advocating this at all, simply putting this out there for giggles.

Anonymous said...

Follow that up by doing what LANL's Sig Hecker did back in the mid-1990s and wipe out half of the bloated Directorates and Division through consolidation.

August 12, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Hecker was a great leader, but a terrible manager. His "Flat Land" management structure was a colossal failure. The lack of a hierarchical structure resulted in 27 essentially independent fiefdoms with inconsistent rules, policies, and management tone. Chaos reigned until John Browne took over.

Anonymous said...

interesting article:

Anonymous said...

Then there are those of us who already have a full time technical assignment, and then are asked to be first line supervisors of a small group - 17 in my case. Engineering Directorate is famous for this - we GET NO Project/Task number to be a supervisor (author PAs, help guide careers, plan work, handle administrative issues, ride our folks to insure they are in LTRAIN compliance, etc. etc. Guess what? What? We cannot be effective supervisors when we get PAID NOTHING from our organization to do this thankless task. And Engineering wonders why morale is so low??? And the real loser in this whole shell game is the honest, hard-working young employee who needs a strong, knowledgeable Supe to provide that function. Dysfunctional? Yep? Does UM care? Nope? Will this idiocy continue? Of course!!! And the punchline? We are still way to expensive to compete in the marketplace for quality work - EVEN THOUGH FIRST LINE MANAGEMENT IS FREE! ha!, THE JOKE IS ON YOU, SUPERVISORS! SUCKERS!

Anonymous said...

Hecker, Agnew, Bradbury, and Oppenheimer had it right. Science has no hierarchy.

Anonymous said...

A year ago McMillan bemoaned the fact that we are top heavy with managers at LANL and need to reduce the number of managers. And of course LANL did.
In a lot of divisions they got rid of many teamleaders. The way they did this is saying you are not a TL.
The work however stayed the same.

This is probably also what happened in a similar form to the poster
August 14, 2013 at 9:46 PM

And then we have a few division leaders at LANL who are sitting together and working out a new
"nuclear pillar strategy". A few town meetings later, where they happily ignored the community input, voila we have a new "pillar"; more like the pillar of ignorance. No wonder we need a lot of managers, when all they do is chasing rabbits down the holes.

I would have liked to see people like Bethe and Oppenheimer and Fermi discussing nuclear pillars, but when I bring this up, I am told times have changed.

Yes times have changed, science is marginalized, and we all pray to the god of PBIs

Anonymous said...

I swear, LANS upper management must be shooting for a 1:1 ratio of managers to working staff. I'm sure they will eventual achieve this goal.

Anonymous said...

And the top levels are where the money is at. No offense, Maybe they deserve it, but ought to be considered when cutting people to save money.

Additionally, as the number of real workers decrease, why wouldn't the labs need less management and support positions?

Anonymous said...

It is not so much the number of managers, but the number of people on their bloated staffs. How many flunkies does it really take to bring fresh coffee to "the man"?

Anonymous said...

Very frustrating when you hear from multiple managers to employees, "you can manage yourselves". Then why does the lab need you, Mr. Manager. If the government was smart, then take a good look at the heavy stack of managers

Anonymous said...

The sad joke is that we do manage ourselves.

Managers have staffs and go to meetings. Worker accomplishments provide them with talking points.

Some of that is necessary, but not to the extent it currently exists.

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