RIP effort logging

dead-parrot-sketchEffort logging is no more. Cactus. Kaput.

No longer pining for the fjords.

The last rites for the unpopular management reporting tool were performed at CSIRO’s recent ‘Strategy Start-Up Forum’ which brought together 270 staff to examine the organisation’s newly announced five year strategy.

In an email to CSIRO staff, Deputy Chief Executive Craig Roy confirmed the demise of effort logging.

Describing the decision in keeping with the themes of “empowerment, trust and risk taking.. the group agreed to put an immediate end to effort logging.”

“Yes… effort logging is gone,” Mr Roy said.

Victory for staff

Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed the move.

“Rest in Peace, effort logging. Although it’s fair to say there won’t be too many tears shed by CSIRO staff upon hearing the news.

“More seriously, this is a victory for staff and common sense. The Staff Association has led the campaign to reform or remove effort logging since 2008.

“For many staff, effort logging has long been a byword for senseless bureaucracy and red tape at the expense of time better spent on science and research,” Mr Popovski said.

Productivity saving?

The reporting tool had been the subject of work bans for the past four months since Staff Association members began protected industrial action to defend CSIRO working conditions.

“It’s hard to say whether the Staff Association bans on effort logging led directly to its demise. The truth is that effort logging was a time consuming, deeply flawed system with obvious defects,” Mr Popovski said.

“In the context of enterprise agreement negotiations, we’d encourage management to consider the removal of effort logging as a productivity saving and stop targeting the working conditions and rights of CSIRO staff.”

What happens next

“As recently as 2012, management’s own staff survey revealed that more than a third of respondents said that to boost CSIRO’s capacity to innovate, operating efficiency need to be improved through creating simpler processes and by reducing the administrative burden on scientists,” Mr Popovski said.

“Therefore it’s crucial that if management intend to introduce a replacement system, it must be developed and implemented with genuine staff consultation.

“CSIRO staff must spend more time on supporting great science and research rather than being tied up in management red tape,” Mr Popovski said.

Have your say 

Email csstaff@cpsu.org.au or post a comment below.

Media queries 

Email anthony.keenan@cpsu.org.au or call (02) 8204 6905.

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5 thoughts on “RIP effort logging

  1. To be fair to CSIRO management, it is my recollection that effort logging was imposed on CSIRO many years ago after the CEO got a grilling in Senate Estimates by one of the anti-science brigade at the time, asking if the government were getting value for money from the funding of CSIRO.

    That said, the implementation and morass of unpleasantness it developed into is entirely the fault of those in CSIRO management over the years that were responsible for it. As SP says, if you want a replacement, and they may not, then ask the staff about it!

    We shall watch with interest how the open-plan-cubicle model of office space progresses now.

  2. A Friday to celebrate the end of a 13-year management experiment!
    How many unsuccessful science research projects get funded for that long?

    It started in 2002 with the excuse that the National Audit Office required it, but they didn’t, it had actually been a management desire for a number of years and Geoff Garratt pushed it through.

    Initially introduced as a means to provide information to projects and project leaders, and implemented differently in different Division, it then got tied into the finance system and with the introduction of SAP it became a complete dog and also a joke because of the requirements to log honestly but also to log exactly 7:21 each day.

    In 2009, Megan Clarke said she’d get rid of it but it took another 6 years for Larry to slay the monster. I look forward to the official CSIRO report on it’s 13-year experiment, and the lessons the organisation has learnt from it. Not.

  3. First the matrix, then Flagships, and now effort logging – Geoff’s legacy isn’t looking too great. Time for a sequel to ‘Herding Cats’ – ‘Drowning Cats’ perhaps.

  4. While it was definitely a bit of a dog to use and I’m sure in many cases was unneccessary – in the current climate where staff cuts have meant more of us are spread across different projects and teams, effort logging at least created an incentive to properly plan and cost projects.

    I’m worried how we’re supposed to now deal with the inevitable complaints for access to technical staff when there’s no record or recognition of the amount of effort staff have contributed to various projects.

    Maybe I’ll have to print out some time-sheets for my team so we can ensure there’s a paper trail for how much time they’ve given different project leaders. 😛

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