Patent office workers bilked the government of millions by playing hooky, watchdog finds - The Washington Post:
The USPTO wins, hands down. They have implemented 101 of the all time worst management practices, all at one time.
It may be worthy of a method patent application since no one has ever considered implementing all know mis-management practices at once in one organization.
In reading the Washington Post article by Lisa Rein, you move from groan and wonderment, to GROAN and bewilderment, to actual PAIN and anger.
All processes are broken as designed. It is reasonably hard to manage with a Union. There is no good rationale for unionization within government, really. Combine that with a cozy relationship where there is no accountability and no direct responsibility.
To accommodate the new technology and new ways possible of working (telework, computer record searches, cloud computing, etc.) they regressed to pre-computer processes, measures and methods.
People who work at home, don't have to log in to work. People who come to work have to time-clock in, but never clock out. People who don't work much during the week, log in huge amounts of overtime and receive big bonuses.
When you read a report like this, you assume that you are likely reading the worst of the worst. This seems to be so prevasive, however, that it is embedded in the culture and the protocols, i.e., standard operating procedure (SOP, or in this case SOL). It appears that this is only a sample, so the problem is likely approximately a multiple of the problem. That is, the report is not a measure of the problem, but can be used to generate a huge estimate of how BIG the problem really is.
This is painful to read at so many levels. This is a case study of government failure, management structure decay, and leadership incompetence. It is all the best of bad leadership practices integrated into one office.
We at SBP love innovation and want to see the USPTO do the best job possible for the world of innovation. We at SBP love telework, and believe telecommuting is one of the easiest, fastest, and bestest ways to start improving our carbon footprint (while savings massive amounts of time and money doing so).
The only bright spot in the whole report is that poor performers are monitored (read managed) and consequently only 4% of the identifiable problems of fraud come from the poor performers. Good news, poor performers don't do a very good job, but they also don't do a spectacular job of cheating taxpayer, either.
Managers are obviously a huge part of the problem in so many ways and at so many levels. This whole environment is not salvageable; congress needs to kill off everything USPTO related, and rebuild the organization with proper structure and incentives.
Oh this is ugly...
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