The Novopay Technical Review

March 24th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Ben Gracewood does a dummies guide to the Technical Review:

1. In some areas system functionality does not adequately support the business processes.

The system, as built, does not do what it was meant to do. This could be because the requirements were poorly documented from the outset (probably), but also because the system is an “off the shelf” system that has been “customised” to meet the requirements.

At some point, a decision would have been made that the “off the shelf” software was an 80% (or 70% or 90%) fit for requirements, and the rest could be built as customisations. Hold that thought and read on.

The moment I read that, I understood where all the subsequent problems probably came from.

A custom built system would, in my opinion, be far more flexible and what is needed. It will be very interesting to see in the full review on what basis the decision was made to go with an off the shelf solution.

2. Usability issues and lack of data input validations contribute to processing errors.

To me, this is the most egregious finding. As I understand it, the entire purpose (or at least a key selling point) of Novopay was to reduce costs by moving from Datacom’s human-intensive workflow to a system whereby schools do all the data entry, and the “system” just needs to calculate pay.

For a system like this to work, a massive amount of time and focus has to go into usability of the front-end system. Later on in the review there are comments about tab keys not working properly, and links between pages of the same input form not working. This is fundamental stuff, and points to Talent2 and ALESCO not giving a flying shit about end-users.

This, while fairly typical of an “enterprise” system build on Oracle Forms, is completely unacceptable if it’s so utterly important that data is entered correctly and quickly. It is an absolute core failure of a system intended to be user-driven.

Yep. It all started to go wrong when schools would not enter in casual staff details and had to fax them off for manual processing.

6. A high degree of customisation in high-impact areas has made on-going development more difficult.

This is another one that really sets my alarm bells ringing. Talent 2 sold Novopay to the government as an ALESCO system with some customisation (see point 1). This is the dirty not-so-secret of any “out of box” enterprise software installation: the base system is next to useless without massive amount of customisation.

More often than not, when you add up the cost of an “out of box” solution PLUS the required “customisation”, a greenfield development fine-tuned to your own requirements becomes a much more comparable solution.

I agree.

Like I said on Twitter: Novopay appears to be the wrong solution sold by people with a poor understanding of the problem, implemented with the typically lax approach of enterprise software development.

In other words, pretty much business as usual for Enterprise IT.

If you think this thing has run its course, you’re kidding yourself. I’ve seen Oracle systems quoted as costing $6m run up $30m of cost before being completely scrapped – as in yes, uninstalled and reverted to the system they were meant to be replacing, completely wiped away.

It will be interesting to see if they deem Novopay fixable.

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42 Responses to “The Novopay Technical Review”

  1. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    There is a fairly well known rule of thumb in purchasing application software products where customisation is supported (pretty much the norm nowadays). If you need to customise more than about 10-15% (you can argue 20%) to fit your requirements it is normally cheaper to write the system as a bespoke solution and the application solution will be worse and more expensive then a bespoke system. It will also have enormous on-going problems. Of course it is madness to write a bespoke solution for something like payroll.

    This of course gets worse as there is another rule of thumb in that the initial implementation costs are normally less than 20-25 % of the life time costs of the product. So, any initial mistake is magnified a lot more than it appears at face value.

    As DPF says with the Oracle example, many large corporates got burnt this way especially with SAP.

    As a result of this type of problem (KNOWN IN THE INDUSTRY SINCE THE LATE EIGHTIES!) it is recommended to modify business processing to match the product wherever possible.

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  2. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Check this article on solving the Novopay debacle:
    http://www.thecivilian.co.nz/novopay-debacle-solved-by-restarting-computer/
    My wife got halfway through with a furrowed brow until I gently pointed out that it was satire.

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  3. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    This Novopay mess is just a complete clusterf**k. Amazing.
    It brings back memories of the INCIS debacle (remember that?).

    It may not have helped either that Oracle Forms is a proprietary “solution” rather than an open-source one. Ok, open-source software doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a lot more flexible than going the proprietary route.

    I wonder if the Education-wallahs who selected Novopay looked at solutions from Catalyst IT (who specialise in open-source business software)? I’m betting they didn’t.
    ( I don’t work for Catalyst but I’ve seen and heard very good things about them.)

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  4. Reid (16,509 comments) says:

    Of course it is madness to write a bespoke solution for something like payroll…

    It sure is. Alesco is the poor-man’s version of Oracle’s Peoplesoft but it’s real attractive to the decision-makers when the RFP comes in at millions, yes millions, below the Oracle solution. Often the decision-makers will rationalise that even if it does cost more to customise, that still leaves a heck of a lot of wriggle-room to get it right.

    What appears to have happened here is the self-service portal module wasn’t sufficiently transparent to allow for reasonably accurate data entry from the individual schools. I don’t know why – at the end of the day it’s only a GUI after all, but I suspect this is the root cause of the call centre overload.

    As a result of this type of problem (KNOWN IN THE INDUSTRY SINCE THE LATE EIGHTIES!) it is recommended to modify business processing to match the product wherever possible.

    Which is where things turned turtle. Because the Ministry wasn’t prepared to take on the unions and rationalise all the myriad award agreements, which is the root cause of the problem. It’s like designing a race track full of hairpin bends and wrongly banked corners and then blaming the car manufacturers when they can’t make fast times on it.

    We’re also still waiting for the comparison figures from the Datacom solution. We still don’t know for sure if this is a storm in a teacup generated by petulant and arrogant teachers who hate change of any kind and take any opportunity to embarrass the hated tories. I’m NOT saying that IS the case, I’m saying WE STILL DON’T KNOW YET if it is or not.

    People who don’t understand payroll systems yet feel free to pontificate on this matter don’t seem to get a very simple thing, the level of complexity that myriad awards with its commensurable permutations introduces. This is not just to do with variable hourly rates, it arises from holiday pay calculations, leave calculations and allowance calculations as well.

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  5. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Major Stumblefuck keeps stumbling from one major clusterfuck to the next.

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  6. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    I understand that Novopay was selected on the recommendation of Chris Hipkins, among others. Can anyone confirm that, or is it just a rumour?

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  7. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @thor42

    “It may not have helped either that Oracle Forms is a proprietary “solution” rather than an open-source one. Ok, open-source software doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a lot more flexible than going the proprietary route.”

    I’m sorry that’s BS – open-source is no more and no less flexible and as proprietary as commercially sourced solutions. They typically have common technologies and design approaches. I use both in my work and find that they are remarkably similar except the open source solutions tend to be technically ‘sharper’ and require greater technical expertise but commercial ones more business focussed.

    Which is more appropriate is more to do with the customer mostly.

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  8. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Yeah sure Lloyd… Time to blame Labour.

    Fuck off with that shit.!!!

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  9. Liberty (267 comments) says:

    The nova pay lemon was purchased by Mallard and adviser Hipkins
    It is true National signed it of. But at that stage it would have just been rubber stamping.
    Hipkins reeks of hypocrisy when he blames National.

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  10. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @slijmbal: correct. You’d be mad to custom build a payroll system, that would almost certainly go wrong. You’d also be mad to heavily customise a package. What’s left? As you say, change your business process to match the system. Payroll is payroll, there’s no particular reason for teacher’s payroll to be different than everyone else in the world. But a Labour govt commissioned the system, and Labour govts are scared to change awards to simplify things (that’s what changing the business process really means). This is also what went wrong with Qld Health payroll.

    @thor42: I’m not aware of an open source payroll system. Are you?

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  11. muggins (3,787 comments) says:

    Datacom had problems at the start.
    What should have happened is that Novapay should have been trialed for longer until all the bugs were ironed out.
    It was run in tandem with Datacom in parts of the South Island and there were problems.but instead of waiting for those problems to be sorted it was decided to go full on with Novapay.
    When a new system is brought in to replace another system that is working ok, as was Datacom, then that system should be run in tandem with the old system.
    Some primary schools should have been run in tandem, then once their payrolls were error free all other primary schools could be brought on . Then the same thing could have been done with secondary schools.
    In my opinion the government were in too much od a hurry to bring Novapay in and now it is costing them.

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  12. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    The current gov’t signed off and paid for it Liberty.

    The buck stops with them!!!

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  13. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    A custom built payroll solution built from crap requirements will still produce n expensive lemon.

    Dollars to donuts the MoE signed off on, and possible were in charge of writing, the business requirements that were woeful.

    Anyone know?

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  14. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    The Queensland Health payroll system has cost $1billion so far. Novopay has a long way to go yet…

    Wouldn’t it be better just to get each school to do their own payroll, then any issues would be contained to each school?

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  15. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Pass the buck expat…all roads lead to Helengrad eh?

    Novopay is just another example ,following on from Sth Canterbury Finance and now Solid Energy, of National not exercising due diligence in overseeing good governance on behalf of their involuntary shareholders….the taxpayer at at large.

    It’s time the average kiwi battler woke up and realised the dream of a brighter future under these chumps is just that.

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  16. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    You are a caricature of a lefty tosser blacky

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  17. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Still looks to me that the persons who sold the system to (Trevor the duck and his advisors) the Education Department were not fully acquainted with the quality of the school wages clerks, in terms of skills to handle such a system.
    From my experience for well over 30 years with integrated computer systems and development, that such a system requires firstly to look at who is to operate it and guage the skills required, thence design the system accordingly.

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  18. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    All I can say is that the writer is either ignorant or has little real experience with bespoke systems. Whatever Novopay has cost so far, a bespoke system would almost certainly cost more and end up like INCIS. Change the system to fit what works, or run an expensive human intensive system like the Datacom one. But remember, the change was made because Datacom wanted out.

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  19. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    So what were the specifications, what was in the tender documents and who made the final decision? All roads lead to Mallard and Chris Carter.
    Then National was landed with it, called in independent experts to advise them and took the advice to proceed.

    I loved salary bulkfunding in principle and in practice. Perhaps it’s time to let schools operate their own payrolls. Not hard either for a two teacher school with only two people to pay or a large school with plenty of admin staff. Principals and unions could hardly complain after they have been so critical of the centralised system.

    Sorry, of course they could. Whenever did consistency matter?

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  20. newslists (2 comments) says:

    @Ed Snack: What evidence do you have that Datacom “wanted out”? All what I’ve read publically is that Datacom had provided an excellent service covering extremely complecated requirements for 7 years past its contracted requirement. Moreover, Datacom had responded to the MOE request for companies interested in tendering for the payroll business. Both of those facts on the face of it seem to contradict your unproven assertion that Datacom did not want to continue it’s business relationship with the MOE. MOE wanted to operate the payroll in a different way. I find it difficult to believe that NZ’s largest privately owned, NZ owned, IT outsource provider, Payroll provider – and the (then) incumbant MOE payroll provider, did not want to hold onto existing business – especially when it patted its own employees on the back for having provided a high quality payroll service to the MOE for the best part of 2 decades!

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  21. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @Ed. My view is that the write probably works for, or has worked for, a small local development shop. Many of the smaller vendors have pretty big aspirations based on doing some small things well. They often have little understanding of how much pain and complexity goes into a larger system.

    On the question of who is to blame, it was started on Labour’s watch and continued under National. But if you think it’s a Minister’s job to understand the ins and outs of an IT system, you’re crazy. The MoE are the ones who were in charge of that, and the people in the MoE don’t change between governments.

    If we want the political side of government to be accountable for stuff like this, then we better start electing IT professionals to parliament. If we want them to oversee it based on advice the same as any other portfolio area, then we need to look at the adequacy of those providing advice. The MoE have a dreadful track record on IT projects so far as I can tell.

    On bulk funding, I think a decent chunk of the problem is people who are paid across multiple schools. I presume the award requires that their pay reflect the aggregate, so it cannot be done at a school level. Otherwise yes, that would be much more attractive.

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  22. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    [DPF] A custom built system would, in my opinion, be far more flexible and what is needed.

    To which I would have responded with what I feel is the root of the problem in my own words, but Reid has already a good job of it…

    [Reid] …the Ministry wasn’t prepared to take on the unions and rationalise all the myriad award agreements, which is the root cause of the problem.

    An early point in the excerpt from Ben’s review above is that the requirements were probably ill defined and poorly documented. While that is extremely poor in itself, any business that would allow 10,000 permutations for payroll and NOT take the opportunity a new payroll project offers to rationalise those is really just begging for problems.

    Which is exactly what they got. It is inconceivable (hat tip to The Princess Bride) that rationalisation didn’t take place. Talent2 may not have done the best of jobs, but they were on a hiding to nothing with such a complicated beast. Hopefully the inquiry will actually help to uncover the extent to which the requirements, or lack thereof, contributed to the outcome.

    [Reid] It’s like designing a race track full of hairpin bends and wrongly banked corners and then blaming the car manufacturers when they can’t make fast times on it.

    Not a bad metaphor really. Especially with the F1 GP on tonight in Sepang. Now there is a track that is designed to work well. Apparently it is something of a favourite with the drivers as it really brings out the best in the cars.

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  23. peterwn (3,275 comments) says:

    A few points:
    1. Kiwibank successfully purchased and customised an off the shelf system which got Kiwibank up and running – in fairness Kiwibank could define its service offerings and processes to suit the system.
    2. There were contractural issues involving changeover – the Ministry would want to terminate the Datacom contract at a suitable allowable ‘break’ date that had to be decided well in advance to Datacom could deal with the loss of business. This would have set a strict deadline to bring a new system on stream and it appears there would have been no time for parallel running. A softer transition would have been possible but would have come with a several million price tag much of it payable to Datacom. If it had transitioned smoothly and on time there would have been political criticism over apparently wasted expenditure, windfall for Datacom, etc, etc.
    3. Talent2 presumably owns the ‘code’ so it does not seem feasible for the Ministry to grab the code and lock Talent2 out. The Ministry presumably could have contracted for a liberal licence over the base code and ownership of the custom code, but that would have cost extra.
    4. IT has been cited as an area of opportunities for New Zealand. Rod Drury is seizing this oportunity with Xero. However in many other IT areas NZ is effectively an importer of IT. I wonder whether the Government can use its IT needs as a catylist for an expanded IT industry in NZ. However there would be a thin line between giving the local IT industry opportunities to develop a NZ IT industry and whether the ‘catylist’ just becomes subsidy to NZ firms with no overall benefit to NZ.

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  24. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Just saw DPF comment “A custom built system would, in my opinion, be far more flexible and what is needed.”

    Absolutely not – payroll while complex is an example of a repeatable solution that must be satisfied by an application software product.

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  25. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Agree slijmbal. Payroll is something that is very complex to implement, but that same complexity is present in pretty much every organisation that does payroll. So a great candidate for packaged product – amortise the costs of building a flexible system across many installations.

    I wonder whether part of the problem is that the particular package chosen was not a particularly good one?

    It also sounds like the bit of the solution that is causing the problems is a data entry portal. It sounds vaguely like that data entry portal was actually custom built using Oracle Forms. In which case it was custom anyway.

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  26. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @PaulL

    “It sounds vaguely like that data entry portal was actually custom built using Oracle Forms. In which case it was custom anyway.”

    The various comments on underlying technology is all a red herring. It is possible that there are bespoke elements of the solution but it would be bespoke because it was built specifically and not because it used Oracle Forms.

    So long as the underlying technology is relatively up to date and not about to be orphan then it is more important that the application product ALREADY does what is needed than anything else.

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  27. V (720 comments) says:

    Why do teachers have such a complex payroll system in the first place? Simplfy the business process, reduces the chances of errors occuring.
    It is a worry that the education system/teachers have such an “afraid of change” attitude, in a world where they should be teaching our kids to adapt to change because that is a skill employers will be looking for.

    In short we ain’t in the 1950’s anymore.

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  28. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @slijmbal: yes, agree. Oracle Forms is not a product, it’s a development platform. If they built a portal in Oracle Forms, then it’s custom built. If they had a portal built in Oracle Forms as part of their overall product (i.e. existing functionality), then the question is whether that portal had the necessary functionality. Ultimately, as you say, Oracle Forms or not Oracle Forms is a red herring. Although my personal view is that it’s not a great technology, that’s sort of immaterial. Peoplesoft still has COBOL in it, and that’s immaterial to whether it does what you need.

    My guess is that they’ve gone with a second tier product (this ALESCO product) rather than a first tier product (SAP, Peoplesoft etc). But I’ve not come across ALESCO, it might be big in the bureau processing industry.

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  29. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Yes V, it’s all the teachers fault. They just love not getting paid. (rolls eyes)

    V sets the kiwiblog record for the most pathetic attempt to create an opportunity to teacher bash. (And on this site that’s saying something!)

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  30. lilman (960 comments) says:

    These teachers are a bunch of moaning unprofessional cretins.
    Nothing but contempt for their childish attitudes and moronic behavior.
    As a former BOT member on Primary and Secondary levels, I am amazed that the real world has passed them to such an extent that they are so pathetic.
    As for Headmasters and principals complaining about extra work and time that is wasted that could be spent teaching ,I have gone on MOE sites and all 4 schools I checked on had walking Principals so do what the rest of us do and work harder when required.
    Simply pathetic.

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  31. newslists (2 comments) says:

    @peterwn: hadn’t the contract ended 3 years ago?

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  32. alloytoo (546 comments) says:

    I have this perception (based on personal observation) that large companies and parastatals tend to spend exponentially more than small to medium size businesses and achieve solutions which are significantly less fit for purpose.

    While the added complexity of large organizations should account for some additional cost it doesn’t explain the exponential increase.

    The real reason is that invariably large implementations are guided (and I use the term loosely) by committees which by in large consist of business analysts recruited for the project, company IT personal far removed the coal face of business process, and vendor representatives.

    None of these people have any real interest in completing any project under time or budget.

    Small to medium size businesses on the other hand implement projects on shoes string budgets, they’re normally managed by a single responsible person (or a very small internal team) who knows he will have to work with the finished product.

    SMB’s aren’t afraid to hold vendors to account mostly because they haven’t been stupid enough to issue bullshit press releases about how the vendors system is going to turn vinegar into wine.

    Another thing SMB’s do is go to a competitor, client or supplier in their industry with prior experience of the vendor and ask them how their implementation went, and whether the damn thing actually works.

    Large business are apparently too busy issuing press releases to do this little common sense task.

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  33. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Glad that NZ’s IT revolution will be expedited by the Kiwiblog air chair CIO’s.

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  34. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Yes lilman, how dare those ungrateful teachers moan about not getting paid.
    What’s “simply pathetic” is your post.
    You sound bitter and twisted. I’m guessing you became a Board Member to try to stick it to those teachers, but much to your disgust the rest of the Board had good intentions and wanted to do the best for the school. So your little power trip amounted to nothing.
    Every organisation has a little man (and it’s always a little man) trying to act tough. They huff and puff and get red in the face when everybody else ignores them.

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  35. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Thought I would read the actual report

    http://www.ben.geek.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Novopay_Technical_Review.unlocked.pdf

    The graph on page 60 says it all. It is a common mechanism to track defects at a glance. The shape of this graph matches one I would expect to be seen PRE release and tells us that the product went live months too early and is still not at a stage one would expect to see PRIOR to going live.

    The shape should look like the crude outline of an eye at about a 35 degree angle and the lower ‘line’ of the eye should be getting close to the top line. The top line should also be starting to flatten out, which it isn’t. At a glance this suggests the project is about 4-5 months from getting vaguely stable unless there are substantial changes.

    We can also see that there was a period of > 2 months over Xmas when they fixed practically no defects – that is just unforgiveable.

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  36. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    It amazes me that so many people are prepared to say that if software doesn’t do what is needed it is best to change your behaviour to match it.

    A very odd attitude to take – change the hardest thing to alter to avoid altering the easiest thing to change.

    The long and the short of this is that Talent2 is incompetent. They have been given enough resources (i.e cash and time) to provide the required product. They failed. And among the consequences of that failure we see very poor management of their employment in contracts that insulate them from failure.

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  37. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    For this layman’s curiosity, WHY exactly is an off-the-shelf payroll system no good?

    Surely what the schools need is a system for paying their large number of employees, who are working a large range of full- part- and over-time hours, at a large range of different hourly rates?

    I.e. exactly the same thing that Farmers, The Warehouse, McDonalds presumably have been doing successfully week in, week out for years and years?

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  38. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    McDonalds and other businesses run on well understood models providing a template to which many, many tools may have been shaped.

    And therefore there are likely many payroll systems that fit them exactly because they are so well understood.

    But teachers and schools are not cut from the same template. They do not employ as predictable a collection of people to do as predictable work as supply a limited menu of fast food. Their agreements and terms differ, and likely don’t fit a simple template used by any business in New Zealand (and possibly the world).

    What constitutes work and how work is measured and remunerated and therefore the data structures which describe and record that and the methods for recording it leading to the calculations of amounts and sums which need to be integrated with any number of holiday and seniority measurements may be largely unique.

    There may be a close fit in some product that could be bent into required shape, or it may have been cost effective to start from scratch.

    The Novopay debacle says nothing about which of these would have been the best option because whichever was the option chosen Talent2 executed it incompetently.

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  39. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    RRM: no insight into this specific example. But typically the problem is overly complex award structures which make the pay calculations far more complex than they’d otherwise be (and far more complex than someone like Farmers typically have). This is particularly the case with people who get some form of penalty rates for overtime, and work in more than one location – perhaps like relief teachers.

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  40. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @Fentex

    “It amazes me that so many people are prepared to say that if software doesn’t do what is needed it is best to change your behaviour to match it.

    A very odd attitude to take – change the hardest thing to alter to avoid altering the easiest thing to change.”

    That’s not really what is being said. There are typically many ways to get the same set of tasks performed with similar quality. An application product tends to support a small number of specific ways. I’ve been involved in many organisations where the same tasks are performed in a large number of different fashions. Where there are manual aspects this is the norm.

    I often see bad user requirements documents where it is documented how the work is done currently done in a specific example (and in some cases multiple ways!) and then the IT department goes looking for a solution to automate current processes. Good requirements document the outcomes and any restrictions and basically say give us software that enables that. That generally means changing processes to fit the product.

    It is also a damn site easier to change the way people work (based on 30+ years in IT) than to customise a product to death or write an application from scratch.

    @RRM
    “For this layman’s curiosity, WHY exactly is an off-the-shelf payroll system no good?”

    It is most likely a combination of:
    – Bad Requirements similar to those described above – probably highly complex needs that did not get simplified
    – A product that did not match the requirements
    – Resulting in high levels of customisation (a nightmare)
    – Awful Project Management by all parties.

    As with the vast majority of IT mega screw ups it will be a team event i.e. all parties combined to screw up. The problems will have started at day 1 when the scope of the project was probably too large and unachievable.

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  41. JerJer (9 comments) says:

    The simple fact is that the Novopay product, is basically no good. The payroll system for the ministry is not overly complex, it is just that the people involved are not overly competent and/or do not understand the problem or the solution at all.

    The company that I work for, and the software we develop, which is also payroll software handles payments to tens of thousands of people, over 5.5 billion dollars in payments (more that Novopay by quite some margin I believe) per annum across five countries currently. I would however argue that the the problem is more complex in our case, with the variables around payment to each and every person, changing each and every day.

    My team of less than 10 people handle this with no issues. As I understand it there are loads of people entering data that is not verified into a system that does not work, right now. It is pathetic.

    From the technical report it highlights that there are some major issues within the Novopay system, firstly the instability of the underlying system, and secondly the lack of verification of incoming information. Both of these flaws are fatal. Un-screened data coupled with a useless system, not fit for purpose is a recipe for complete disaster, and clearly this has happened. This is kindergarten stuff.

    However, this is nothing new. Governments and companies all around the world get themselves into particularly sticky situations with unsuitable selections from the likes of SAP and Oracle that take them years and tens and hundreds of millions of dollars to back out of. By comparison Novopay is only a small time failure….currently. There is no fix for this. The plug needs to be pulled on it. But, it won’t be. No one at the ministry will be prepared to admit that they screwed up, and support an alternative solution that would work. This is the reason that crappy solutions get to hang around and slowly drain the resources that they were supposed to save.

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  42. V (720 comments) says:

    Ah bc, born into the school of teacher exceptionalism, life must be tough. Every other business on the planet can manage to simplify pay structures to allow automated payroll, but not the teachers they need all sorts of hairbrained penalty rates, and awards dating from god knows when in the past.

    How many bulk funded schools would have this problem? answer:none because they would manage their own payrolls.

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