Minnesota company 3M pretends to get ready for Y2K

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This was sent to me by a fellow member of a listserv of which I am a member. Interesting, yes?

my website: www.y2ksafeminnesota.com

From: "T.King" TK D*mn, just when you thought you might could take a breath; (The title caught my eye, cause I was one/God help her) ------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 13:00:16 -0400 To: cpsr-y2k@cpsr.org From: Dick Mills Subject: Whistle Blower Rick Cowles and I frequently get mail from readers who tell us that things within their company are not at all like management and the public is being told. Alhough interesting, the vast majority aren't useable in a public forum because the senders don't want to name names or to expose themselves as public whistle blowers. The enclosed message is a remarkable exception to that rule. Ms. Kerr provides her own name and the name of the company and alot of details. She sent her letter to the Senate Committee. (I just heard that the committee wants to talk to her by phone.) She also gave me permission to repost it here.I think that her courage is admirable. Delivered-To: dmills@albany.netFrom: Snedaze@aol.com Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 01:41:32 EDTSubject: Y2k - My StoryTo: dmills@albany.net X-Mailer: AOL 4.0 for Windows 95 sub 10 I have read a lot of what you have written. Very good work. Below please find a letter I wrote to the Y2k Senate Committee. I'm sure you will find it interesting. Far too many of "us", who have followed this problem, or who have worked on it, are coming to the same conclusions. Letter to Senators Dodd and Bennett: With the utmost respect for the work you have done on trying to make sense of Y2k , I would like to relate my Y2k experience. Im really just your average citizen. A secretary. But this is my story. Ive just finished reading your Year 2000 100 day report. I read the previous one which, I believe, was written in April 1999. I had never given Y2k any thought, even though I have been an executive assistant for 20 years and in the last ten years I have seen technology, at the desktop level, change at a ridiculous rate. As assistants we would barely learn one software and a new one was coming out, and they didnt always show improvement. Im a 40 year old female. I have worked mostly as a temporary at the executive level. Ive worked in virtually every industry including banking, manufacturing, healthcare, aerospace, and on and on. Recently I spent five months in the IT department of a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company. I went there, as a temp, to "help" with their Y2K due diligence paperwork (you see, their primary concern was documenting for possible lawsuits). I was to assess their infrastructure, hubs, routers, desktop software, AS400 system, etc. In addition, I was to prepare a plan to fix everything. When I arrived in April of 1999 it quickly became apparent that nothing in the area of assessment had been documented for their infrastructure. Working closely with another temp, a man who generally fixes computers, called a wiseguy, we began this project. We actually took this project from a man who did not have the skill set of project management or basic computer skills to do the job he had been assigned. I wont go into details about the job, however, the task was huge. I managed to get most of my due diligence paperwork off of the web and filled binder after binder with vendor compliance statements. Next came their AS400 system, which included some home grown programs and about 800 different applications. The first project manager, who was to see that this system became compliant, walked off the job in Dec. 98 and sent an e-mail out stating that all work he had done to date was to be considered null and void. None of the programmers or the man who left wanted to sign any of the due diligence paperwork stating that individual applications of this vast system were compliant. I battled with this "applications group" until I left the company after 5 months. I never did get statements from them, and informed my IT management numerous times that this was a problem. I received an e-mail from the head of the IT department at the Corporate office. By the way, the company is 3M - they are Minnesota, Miningin Minnesota. Our company was in Los Angeles, California. She stated that, per their legal department, employees would be covered legally in the event of lawsuits, but not contractors, and that if contractors had a problem with this then they should be let go. I had to sign my name to all compliance documentation, or else. During my time there, a new head of IT was hired. I tried repeatedly to discuss the AS400 system with him. He told me that because of the cost, they would not be forward date testing the system, and that if it crashed he would simply send back-up tapes to the corporate office in Minnesota (not a solution). I also attempted to show him examples of what other corporations were doing as far as testing. He seemed to think this was funny, and wouldnt even look. Further complicating the matter, this system is considered validated. Which means anytime you alter the system, extra special testing and documentation is required. The plant manager knew I was there working on Y2k and would see me out and about and say hello, etc. Never once did he ask me about the project status. I also know that my management lied to the upper, upper management at a video conference at a Y2k update in July 1999. I feel for these people since they can only rely on the word of those who should be "in the know". They personally can be sued, I understand. I was told to present my numbers in a way I knew was wrong. Then they went behind the scenes to those working on the project and said they had to make major headway before the next management update. They told them, during this video conference, that systems were completed (some were in the plant, embedded systems, none of which were being tested (Fix on Failure) - other systems were given too rosey completion dates, and others were downgraded to non-critical. Thus, you didnt have to say anything. This is going on all over the world, I fear. Also, how many non-critical, not upgraded systems, equal a critical situation? This whole business of using percentages complete is questionable. We had trouble creating our Gantt charts using percentages and we just threw around numbers in meetings, hazarding a guess. The numbers changed drastically, up and down constantly. When do you just stop changing the numbers? We werent sure. We called our project "Creep" because one door opened leads to another and so on. I believe we are in real trouble. When I get on the internet to research, I stick to sites that state the facts. I form my own opinions. I have come to the conclusion that we have come too far, too fast, technologically and without much thought we have created the mother of all systems that no one totally understands. Too much information and a spoiled society. The public will not be patient, I fear. But, in one way you can be content. Since the media has been so quick historically to take anything negative and wring it for all its worth, and since they have yet to do that, most people I talk to couldnt care less about Y2k problems. When the yuppies I work with and live near cant get their favorite brand of toilet tissue, the finger pointing will start. It will get ugly. Politicians, corporate executives, and programmers will all be targets. "May you live in interesting times." Im sure we will. Believe 1/2 of what you read and nothing of what you hear. There is a lot of lying going on out there.

Erin Kerr Just a SecretarySnedaze@aol.com-- Dick Mills www.albany.net/~dmills dmills@albany.net

-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), October 01, 1999


It was interesting 33 threads ago.

-- Play it Again Sam (Deja@vu.allover again), October 01, 1999.

See also...

Y2K Whistle Blower To The Senate Y2K Committee About 3M (E-Mail Alert Via: Dick Mills)

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 001VIC

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), October 01, 1999.


Yes, very interesting. Thank you for posting this again. I don't get a chance to check the forum more than a few times a week so I appreciate the extra posting--especially since I live in Minnesota. :^)

Diane--Thanks to you, too.

Play it again--Go away....

-- Scarlett (ohara@tara.net), October 02, 1999.

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