With many laboratory informatics projects starting up for January, quite a lot of you are now starting to think about the new temporary person or people you’ll have working with you. Whether you’ve got a new project manager, business analyst, configurer/programmer, or other types of people coming to work with you, they will all need some preparation from whomever is bringing them in. In the first part, I talked about access. In this second part, I will talk about equipment and licenses. Read Part 1 at:  Getting Ready for New Temporary People in the New Year: Part 1

Equipment and Other Hard Goods
As a professional consultant, I always tell people that they don’t need to supply me with a laptop, pens, paper, etc… My company supplies all that for me. But when you have one of these projects where you are bringing lots of people in for a long period of time, they pretty much are like your employees but that they get paid and get benefits with a different name on them. As such, it is common to supply these people with all the PCs and such that they need. Additionally, when you assemble a big team like this, you should have a supply cabinet with things like pens and pencils. Although the company might like to go around talking about how these people aren’t employees and shouldn’t be treated as employees, that is really what you’re doing anyway. While you’re at it, keeping them supplied with pens and paper is going to make the whole team happy and the employees are probably just going to get the supplies for the temps, anyway. So, make it easy – give everyone access to the supply cabinet so the “real” employees don’t become gophers to the temps when the temps need supplies.

One other exception to this is that, at some companies, system access can only be provided through a company machine. In these cases, rather than installing the customer’s VPN onto my own machine, I do have to use one of their laptops. In most companies, I find that there are not usually a big stack of laptops just sitting around for this purpose and so it usually takes planning for a project to get one for me and others who might be working with the project. As with the story about the consultant who came for two weeks and didn’t have system access from “Part 1”, I’ve seen similar problems when customers don’t plan ahead to get the right equipment.

Anyone working on your site for an extended period of time needs a desk and needs a locked drawer to leave their things each night. Anyone coming to work at your site, ever, needs a place to work. Juggling desks works when people are coming for a single visit of a few days, but when a person comes to the site even as much as a week a month, they need a place they know they can reliably use to work at.

There are a variety of other things companies need to do to prepare for people to come work with them, temporarily, but one of the most important is to have the proper software licenses. For example, if you have a LIMS license for 100 people and if you already have 100 people working with your system on a daily basis, it’s not reasonable to get 10 more people to work on your system without either buying 10 licenses or with getting 10 of the other people out of the system for the duration of the work of these 10 temporary people.

Additionally, each software vendor has their own rules on how licenses can be used. So, just because you understand the licenses of your LIMS doesn’t mean if you have another brand of LIMS or an ELN that the licensing will be the same.

One more tip: licensing does not usually apply to the software vendor’s people. So, they might have no license but have the ability to use all the software or they might have a kind of portable one-person license. However, regardless how it’s done, the rules that apply to the software vendor’s people are not the same rules that everyone else has to follow so don’t confuse them.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises