CS 9622 - Fall 2017 : Phoenix Pay example (new Canadian Federal payroll system circa 2016)

While this kind of computer system stuff happens a lot, usually you just hear the end results like ``Wells Fargo Accidentally Releases Trove of Data on Wealthy Clients'' ( https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/business/dealbook/wells-fargo-confidential-data-release.html ).  Unlike large corporations, when the government misses up, much more of what happened is visible and reported on.  Since large government systems now incorporate significant computer components, there are many examples probably more significant than Phoenix pay, such as the online registration system rollout for Obamacare in the United States (cf https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2015/04/09/a-look-back-at-technical-issues-with-healthcare-gov/ , http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/millions-log-obamacare-crashing-sites and https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/us-business/canadian-it-firm-at-centre-of-obamacare-foul-up-furor/article14786763/ ).  In the case of Phoenix pay, this took more than a year to unfold and is not done yet (the notes here simply reflect how things had progressed at the last time I looked into the matter).  

Also of interest on the topic is http://psacunion.ca/fix-phoenix the Fix Phoenix Paysystem! web site of the PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada) Union which includes an archive of past announcements to members.  Another useful source is The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada website on Phoenix Pay System http://www.pipsc.ca/news-issues/phoenix-pay-system which also contains an archive of past announcements on problems with the system.  On CBC, stories related to this are tagged ``Phoenix Falling'' http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/topic/Tag/Phoenix%20Falling .


Compensation Annual Report 2009‐2010 (2011) http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2011/tpsgc-pwgsc/P1-9-2010-eng.pdf -- Includes announcement of ``Transformation of Pay Administration Initiative''

Transformation of Government of Canada Pay and Pension Administration 24 Nov 2011 http://www.igf.ca/media/old/BRIEFING_TO_FMI_24-NOV-2011_EN.pdf

Government of Canada Transformation of Pay Administration Initiative, presentation, 27 Nov 2013  http://www.fmi.ca/media/381149/Claire%20Caloren%20EN.pdf

      • In August 2010, the Prime Minister announced that the Government of Canada will transform its pay administration.
      • expected savings: 78.1 M per year
      • Modern, commercial off-the-shelf pay system (PeopleSoft)
      • System Integrator, IBM Canada, responsible for the design and implementation of the new pay system and processes.
      • Phoenix will be deployed in three separate roll-outs in July, October, and December 2015
      • Public Service Pay Centre opened in Miramichi, N. B. in March 2012.

Hot Topics: Government of Canada's Pay Transformation (24 Nov 2015) http://www.fmi.ca/media/765533/Rosanna%20Di%20Paola_GoC's%20Pay%20Transformation.pdf

      • On budget on scope: schedule adjusted by 2 months
      • project completion date of April 2016
      • large quote (how things looked Nov 2015 before it would all go sideways – see item 10):
      • Lessons learned to date:
      • 1) Strong governance and oversight: Hands-on oversight at the senior management levels facilitates responsive, decisive decision making to deliver project's scope on time and within budget
      • 2) Strong negotiation skills: leveraged knowledge and expertise in leading negotiations with the private sector vendor to ensure outcomes are to the advantage of the Crown
      • 3) Strong financial management discipline: plan for the unexpected: Prudent management of funds by increasing the contingency envelope. As a result, the project is well prepared to mitigate risks, unforeseen issues & challenges.
      • 4) Clear accountabilities/responsibilities: clear accountabilities between Crown, vendor and key partners (i.e., Shared Service Canada for infrastructure; Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer for business processes, Canada School of Public Service for training) is essential.
      • 5) Strategic risk taking: Risk-focused governance approach results in the successful management and mitigation of the risks.
      • 6) Communication with stakeholders: a substantial level of communication is required to engage stakeholders, both internally and externally. The project initially underestimated the level and extent of required communication and subsequently adopted a more comprehensive engagement plan.
      • 7) Phased implementation: Phased implementation approach will help the project team learn from each successive phase to implement the next phase more effectively.
      • 8) Co-locating Crown and Vendor: Co-locating Crown and vendor teams enables greater information exchange between technical and business experts and allows more expedient issue resolution.
      • 9) Preparing departments for the transition: Departments require ongoing support to perform all preparations and transition activities. Departmental readiness is one of the keys to the success of the project.
      • 10) Believe!

New Public Service Pay System ‘Phoenix’ Launches Today February 24, 2016 http://thepublicservant.ca/new-public-service-pay-system-phoenix-launches-today/

Despite complaints, government intent on second rollout of new pay system (19 Apr 2016 Ottawa Citizen)  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/despite-complaints-government-intent-on-second-rollout-of-new-pay-system

 MP Weir on Phoenix Pay Problems (May 17, 2016)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzbilkTy07k

MPs Weir & Mendicino Debate Phoenix Pay on CBC (July 18, 2016)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv0_XyfrXdU

Phoenix pay system mess affects 80,000, government officials say (19 July 2016) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/phoenix-payroll-problems-fix-1.3683735

+++  Phoenix Payroll Implementation – An Example of the Value of Change Management July 25, 2016 | http://www.quarksoftllc.com/single-post/2016/07/25/Phoenix-Payroll-Implementation-%E2%80%93-An-Example-of-the-Value-of-Change-Management

Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates ; PARLIAMENT EVIDENCE Thursday, July 28, 2016 http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=e&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8396283

Phoenix pay system also breached federal workers' privacy (The National, 19 July 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuaT_tADlR4

Phoenix pay system: Officials say all files will be processed by Oct. 31 (28 July 2016) http://globalnews.ca/news/2853127/phoenix-pay-system-officials-set-to-provide-update/

+++ Federal government encountered “unanticipated complexity” in rolling out payroll system August 8th, 2016 http://www.itworldcanada.com/blog/phoenix-payroll-report-by-michael-wernick-the-clerk-of-the-privy-council/385370

  • quote: The contract to develop and operate the Phoenix payment system was awarded to IBM in 2011 after a lengthy RFP process that was only slightly shorter than the first F-35 jet fighter procurement process. At that time, Public Services and Procurement was impressed by IBM’s repeated assertion that its payroll software package could handle the complexities of paying federal government employees. As you undoubtedly know, their pay, benefit plans and pension contributions are governed by a myriad of union agreements made by the federal government with PSAC.
  • quote: Beginning in early 2012 and continuing to today, IBM has not been shy about initiating many change orders to handle complexities that were not referenced in the original requirements documents issued by the federal government as part of the RFP process. The approved change orders have added millions in cost to the project and created delays as the project team worked hard to test all the added functionality.
  • quote: Unbeknownst to us, Miramichi, NB is located beyond the edge of the known world as defined by the Internet backbone. As a result we have discovered that remotely located payroll advisers, which are rapidly increasing in number as described above, cannot effectively access the Phoenix system.

+++ The Rise & Fall of Phoenix: Lessons in Change Management Posted by Caroline Kealey on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 http://www.resultsmap.com/the-rise-fall-of-phoenix-lessons-in-change-management/

80,000 people suffer pay crisis in Canada after IBM system debacle (31 Aug 2016) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-01/canada-ibm-payroll-debacle-echoes-queensland-health/7802944

Government of Canada update on the Phoenix pay system for 7 September, 2016 https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/remuneration-compensation/paye-centre-pay/2016-09-07-00-eng.html

Who should shoulder the blame for Phoenix fiasco? (21 Sept 2016)  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-payroll-problems-ibm-1.3770947 -- Government has avoided laying blame on IBM for IT disaster, saying training the issue 

Conservatives took payroll training responsibilities away from Phoenix creator IBM (29 Sep 2016) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservatives-took-phoenix-training-away-from-ibm-1.3779917

Shared Services Canada defends progress in merging IT systems, vows to do better October 13th, 2016  http://www.itworldcanada.com/article/shared-services-canada-defends-progress-in-merging-it-systems-vows-to-do-better/387384 

** Phoenix Pay isn’t 'Taking Care of Paychecks' ('Taking Care of Business' parody) | 22 Minutes (CBC Comedy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ4i-Of5wOY  (13 Nov 2016)

MP Weir on the Phoenix Pay System Boondoggle (Nov. 24, 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US2WYLdr7tg

Phoenix pay system leaves Ottawa man broke while recovering from nearly fatal heart issue (7 Dec 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkMlrtVbM1M

Phoenix Pay System (CTV news 14 Dec 2016, 34 minutes special) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQvo1tz0VcY

Court order says government must work with unions to fix Phoenix (20 Jan 2017 ) http://psacunion.ca/court-order-says-government-must-work-unions-fix    

** Heritage Minute: Phoenix Payroll System (The Mercer Report) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqQpxQcb-6Y (25 Jan 2017)

Underpaid civil servants priority as payroll woes persist: Foote (7 Feb 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4cn6bh7mSA

MP Weir on the Phoenix Pay System’s 50,000 Incorrect T4s (Feb. 23, 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmPTy70W-Oc

Archived – Status report on transformational and major crown projects—2016–17 Report on Plans and Priorities (last modified 1 Mar 2017 -- includes info on Phoenix Pay) http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/rapports-reports/rpp/2016-2017/trs-tps-eng.html?wbdisable=true

Phoenix backlog for parental leave, disability benefits easing: Lemay (8 Mar 2017) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-technical-briefing-update-march-8-1.4013719

Upgrade to military pay system stalled as DND backs away from Phoenix Pay (21 Mar 2017) http://www.ottawasun.com/2017/03/21/upgrade-to-military-pay-system-stalled-as-dnd-backs-away-from-phoenix-pay-4

Message to Government of Canada employees regarding acting pay (22 Mar 2017) http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/remuneration-compensation/paye-centre-pay/2017-03-22-00-eng.html?wbdisable=true

While Phoenix struggles continue, executives get $4.8M in performance pay (5 Apr 2017) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-pay-system-executives-performance-pay-1.4056716

Government takes new approach to fixing Phoenix pay system (27 Apr 2017) http://globalnews.ca/news/3408861/new-approach-to-fixing-phoenix-pay-system/

Emergency pay available to employees on maternity, parental or disability leave and experiencing Phoenix pay problems (1 May 2017) http://psacunion.ca/emergency-pay-available-employees-maternity

Department running troubled Phoenix pay system vows 'tighter control' of sensitive information (1 May 2017) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/public-service-investigation-into-phoenix-leak-1.4086197

Price tag for fixing Phoenix pay system now tops original cost -- Repair bill has risen to about $402M — more than $309.5M payroll implementation cost in the 1st place (24 May 2017) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-pay-update-may-24-1.4129049

Government of Canada update on Phoenix pay system - 2017-06-02 (June 2, 2017) https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/remuneration-compensation/paye-centre-pay/2017-06-02-01-eng.html

Phoenix pay problems rise from the ashes amid summer hiring, new labour contracts -- The backlog affecting the public service pay system surged by about 10 per cent last month with new pay requests, officials say. (2 June 2017) https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/06/02/phoenix-pay-problems-rise-from-the-ashes-amid-summer-hiring-new-labour-contracts.html

Federal scientists latest group burned by Phoenix pay problems -- 1,700 chemists and biologists underpaid or overpaid after new collective agreement (21 June 2017) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-pay-system-scientists-collective-agreement-1.4169959

Danielle Smith: federal government’s Phoenix pay system still a fiasco (26 June 2017) http://globalnews.ca/news/3556869/danielle-smith-federal-governments-pheonix-pay-system-still-a-fiasco/

No end in sight for Phoenix pay fiasco (July 24, 2017) http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1488695-no-end-in-sight-for-phoenix-pay-fiasco

The Phoenix debacle: a conversation with Robyn Benson (31 July 2017) http://psacunion.ca/phoenix-debacle-conversation-robyn-benson -- contains video of interview with union president on the topic

Problems with Phoenix pay system extending to pension plan members (4 August 2017) http://www.benefitscanada.com/pensions/other-pensions/problems-with-phoenix-pay-system-extending-to-pension-plan-members-101825

Nearly half of public servants paid by Phoenix have reported problems (8 Aug 2017)  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-data-released-radio-canada-1.4259636 -- 156,035 employees up from 80,000 reported 19 July 2016 above -- also as of last month, 228,000 outstanding issues requiring resolution.

The dog days of summer -- and Phoenix (23 Aug 2017) http://www.pipsc.ca/news-issues/phoenix-pay-system/dog-days-summer-and-phoenix

Phoenix questions still loom (25 Aug 2017) http://psacunion.ca/phoenix-questions-still-loom

Office of the Auditor General -- Planned Reports (checked 27 Aug 2017)  http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_fs_e_29401.html -- for Fall 2017, one on Pay Operations (once completed, it will presumably be in the collection here http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_lp_e_933.html )