Please put it together so all of your contractors can be on the same page. All of the contractors have different job aides, reporting requirements, and production requirements. Tax payer costs could be lower if the playing field was leveled having all the contractors meet the same requirements. Not to mention this is one of the things that is making the job very frustrating. The other day I saw a post on glassdoor.com and they felt that OPM is trying to make the contractors fail in an attempt to bring the work back in house. I’m starting to think there might be some truth to this. We might want to get ready for a race to the bottom… Thoughts?
Funny discrepant, after I read that on Glassdoor I’ve been thinking the same thing. Prior to that I chalked it up to Orwellian-on-steroids bureaucratic madness. Or just stupid gubmint people in senior positions having to justify their existence by creating more bureaucratic BS to make investigations as idiotic and fool-proof (i.e., non-investigatory) as possible. I go back and forth on this, either anti-contractor conspiracy or 360 bureaucratic BS. The reason I am a little skeptical of the former is because I know some OPM Inv and they are subject to the same crap and stress. When I started this job it was not easy, but doable. Kind of like running a mile in the morning. It became like running a mile in dry sand on the beach. Now it’s become like running a mile, at night, in neck-high water with jellyfish stinging you and a constant fear of sharks (i.e., being fired).
Hahahaha! Its good to know that I’m not alone! Since we work remote there is no way to talk to fellow coworkers and figure out how to work around everyday frustrations. Yesterday was the end of the month push for us at CACI and the most stressful time of the month for me. It is very frustrating not being able to meet the goals they set up and I let it stress me out. I beat myself up every month for not being able to meet my budget. We send cases back today and due to the amount of I transmitted last month it took me over three hours to get the shipment together. Time that I have to eat against my production. And why do we need to breakdown what is in the envelope anyway (CAT, Case Papers, Notes, Medi Rel, Genl Rel, Spec Rel)? Is it a bigger deal if a medical release is lost over a general release. Makes no sense! Just an extra burden for everyone in the process. To top it off we have type all the info into fillable pdf’s. Its a joke! It doesn’t take much knowledge in process improvement to see how broken this is and I don’t even have a college degree. The system is set up to treat investigations as widgets but I don’t think anyone realizes how cumbersome the process has become. What does upper management do all day anyway?
I have to agree with you discrepant…CACI makes you virtually whorl off your own personal computer (take the IT Training - ha) and everything work related is download to your own PC and then printed off your own personal computer. Manifests, dates to send back, WTPS expectations is ridiculous …file an expense report off an Mac, communicate off a Mac…secure? I doubt
I haven’t even started my expense report yet but there goes another two hours down the production drain.
…and we are doing national security background checks/investigations in a 40 hour time period?
This is where the complaints come to die! We all know management reads these posts but nothing ever changes. I think management is too busy looking for new jobs Which is something I should be doing! Its just this job could be awesome with some changes. OPM needs to invest in a web based system that all the contractors can use to check out daily case material, enter source contact info for quality checks, monthly manifests, investigator mileage, and expenses. This would allow the contractors to reduce some overhead so they can focus on case quality, timeliness, and production as well as give the investigators a badly needed raise that we have not seen in a decade. This would also increase computer security, so no repeats of last years fiasco, as well as make it easier for investigators to switch if a contractor gets out of the game. There is one complaint that I have been needing to get off my chest and it will dies here like all the others before it
I do not work off the clock! I take an occasional long lunch but then there are days that my break and lunch are built into the drive time to the next interview. I remember during a recruiting conference call one of the CACI recruiters was like we expect you to work hard, no hour lunches with the spouse or surfing the web, just work solid for 8 hours. I mean give me a break! Like no one takes a long lunch, shops the web, checks facebook at the PMO? We are all guilty equally of having some non production time. the one difference is they have the production stats stacked so far the other way it is absolutely impossible for the investigator! Relax management I will not be billing any of my time spent on here today!
Even though I should be charging time because my idea that OPM develop or purchase a web based system that all the investigators use is flipping priceless. It would save millions!
Timeliness is inversely proportional to quality. Current level steps for production are inversely proportional to quality. Hell, what counts for quality (headers, disclaimer statements, i-note formats) is inversely proportional to real quality (good info, leads run to ground) in investigations. The slavish adherence to investigative guidelines doesn’t produce quality, it produces pre-fab background investigations. And eliminating things like collateral sources doesn’t create more thoroughness, it causes greater reliance on the Subject to provide a lot of names and contact numbers.
On your other point, some Silicon Valley startup whiz needs to be tapped to create a completely, radically, different system that allows for easy and secure access. On the fly and in the field of all info needed. It really shouldn’t take a complicated, eight-keystroke sequence on a laptop to find out if someone has some foreign travel. Then another complicated half-dozen keystrokes to see if he or she has an arrest record. All pertinent case info should take up no more than one page on a tablet screen. The tablets should have small detachable printers for printing releases (only print what you need). The rest is all done electronically. No paper. No mountain of notes to Fed Ex back. No freaking out and spending an hour looking for an employment record which you inadvertently placed in the wrong folder.
I meant to say/include a description of a cloud-based system, such as Amazon. This should be the model for a new system. Medical and financial informatics is already using the cloud. OPM investigations involve no classified data, and the data dealt with is no less sensitive than medical and financial information (both personal and institutional).
I envision a really efficient cloud-based retrieval and report-transmitting system which could allow for real-time reporting and real-time review and clarification. E.g., as the investigator is making changes and clarifications to the the security questionnaire, including additional remarks in fields, they are auto-saved to the cloud so a reviewer can be looking it over and request specific additional info. At the end of the interview the Subject and investigator can chat for a bit while the reviewer goes over everything and gives the thumbs up that all looks good. You can cut down the time of investigations by about 5000%.
Again, the USG needs to tap into Silicon Valley talent to develop such a system. You could incentivize it for them while appealing to his/her/their sense of patriot duty.
Those are some ambitious plans! Maybe one day but for now I think we should dream about being able to use wireless one day. I propose using the systems already in place just differently. For SPINS how about investigators entering the eqip system and filling out version 2 of the subjects case papers with issue resolution narrative in the comments section. For the administrative stuff I have experience at all the contractors aside from OPM and in my opinion Keypoint had the best web based system in place. The backside is so easy to enter in sources, expenses, and manifests. The pay structure at Keypoint left much to be desired but their systems were great! OPM should develop their own or purchase it and when the contract is up change up the bid so the primes can all use the same technology.