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Canada to Scrap IBM Payroll Plan Gone Awry Costing $1 Billion

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  • Mar 1st, 2018 3:46 pm
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It may not be in the interest of Union bosses to simplify things, but it certainly is in their interest to in-source

http://www.pipsc.ca/news-issues/press-r ... stem-works
Ottawa, November 14, 2017 – The Phoenix pay system needs to be replaced with a new system that works built by the government's own IT professionals, says the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents over 50,000 federal government employees.

"After nearly two years of problems with IBM's Phoenix pay system, our members have lost confidence in the promise of fixing Phoenix," said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. "Despite all efforts to fix Phoenix, the number of open cases of pay problems has grown to 330,000 as of October 2017 – with no end in sight. Enough is enough."

In its proposal, PIPSC calls for parallel processes to deal with the immediate pay crisis plaguing public servants and the long-term needs of the government.

To address immediate needs, PIPSC is calling on the government to hire additional staff to help employees impacted by the Phoenix pay system. For a faster, longer-term solution, PIPSC is calling on the government to task its own IT professionals with building a new pay system based on the latest version of PeopleSoft, the widely used human resources management system, and adapting it to the complex needs of the Government of Canada pay environment.

"The government needs to stop throwing good money after bad and start investing in a system that works," added Daviau. "As it happens, we already have the expertise and the people within the federal public service capable of designing and building it. They just need the opportunity to do so. The longer the current government delays investing in a properly designed pay system, the longer it will continue to waste tens of millions of public dollars on private contracts to patch a faulty system that was broken from the start. And the longer federal employees will be made to suffer for a bad system."
So is she saying that the IT professionals currently within the federal public service don't have enough work to keep them occupied that they have the spare time to design, build, and implement a major IT system? Or does she want to government to hire more IT workers to build the system (and increase the number of members in PIPSC)?
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MrWhiteCoffee wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 8:06 pm
You do know it was the Conservatives who implemented Phoenix right?

i am aware of that, however the liberals have had 2 years to fix this and have failed so far. to me that says alot, regardless of the complexity, i expect better from the government.
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CheapScotch wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 6:38 pm
....So is she saying that the IT professionals currently within the federal public service don't have enough work to keep them occupied that they have the spare time to design, build, and implement a major IT system? ....
lol.....baaaaaaaaaaaaazinga

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MrWhiteCoffee wrote:
Nov 13th, 2017 8:06 pm
You do know it was the Conservatives who implemented Phoenix right?
brandonly wrote:
Nov 14th, 2017 8:06 pm
i am aware of that, however the liberals have had 2 years to fix this and have failed so far. to me that says alot, regardless of the complexity, i expect better from the government.

Actually, I will use the words correctly and tell you that the Conservatives instigated and contracted development of Phoenix but, against all warnings by public service an unions, the Liberals ordered the implementation.
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ph ... -1.4461500

My future manager told me there was zero issue with the old pay system in the department.
I don't understand how such fiasco could occur:
1. why can't the departments just roll back and using their old system?
2. Didn't they thoroughly test the system before the deployment of the system to all departments?
3. Why didn't they just roll out the system to a few department first, after confirm no issue then deploy to others?
4. Don't they have a backup system /plan when things go wrong?

Aren't these the very basic of software deployment?

I do application development as well as deployment, albeit in a completely different scale than phoenix. Those are some of the things I would do.
Can anybody answer my questions here? will be appreciated.
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It is a system provided by IBM(outsourced). There were well known issues with phoenix before hitting prod but some exec probably push it through to get their bonus. These kind of migration should happen in stages. The existing old CWA (in house developed) was much better. Another issues was that it was not possible revert back or rollback as they said (I do not know how true it is). It probably y had very minimum testing was done to meet the deadline. At the end, it was all finger pointing as nobody would own the issue and try to resolve it.
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crow wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2017 11:40 am
There were well known issues with phoenix before hitting prod but some exec probably push it through to get their bonus. These kind of migration should happen in stages.
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These types of problems are quite routine in IT and happen often, just not as public since it's usually private/corporate companies

No amount of testing can incorporate reality especially with the scope of such a project
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FredPerry wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2017 12:26 pm
These types of problems are quite routine in IT and happen often, just not as public since it's usually private/corporate companies

No amount of testing can incorporate reality especially with the scope of such a project
Then you shouldn't deploy it to all department all at once.
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One of the problems was that the bosses got "bonuses" for getting it out "on schedule". Never mind that people warned them of the problems.
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JoeBlack23 wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2017 10:56 pm
One of the problems was that the bosses got "bonuses" for getting it out "on schedule". Never mind that people warned them of the problems.
If they were responsible for the getting out, then they should be responsible for the problems as well.
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I've been in medical (ie critical life saving stuff) systems for most of my professional life and what I've seen doesn't surprise me one bit when it comes to roll-outs especially if it includes migrated data. Screw-ups happen all to often... so often that many hospitals don't want to do any types of upgrades or updates to critical systems unless they are forced to - ie legacy hardware going bye bye. I've never had an issue with my upgrades and my company had very few issues in general but in talking to hospital staff, a 'problem free' upgrade almost NEVER happens as they expect operational difficulties and missing data post upgrade and that seems to be par for the course regardless of what system was upgraded.
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1000islands wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2017 12:49 pm
Then you shouldn't deploy it to all department all at once.
How would that help? It doesn't. With complex systems with lots of legacy programs, just because one Dept/group is fine doesn't mean another will be as well

There are many things where you can't have two systems running at once, at some point you will need to switch

All the testing in the world can never predict what will happen when it goes to production for some complex systems and there will always be issues not appear during testing.

Especially with all the different classification, grandfathering, union groips, sheer number of employees. Could've been fine for all the groips/depts and then they roll it out and crap hits the fan

As someone in CS...you should know this is common and the norm in big complex projects
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FredPerry wrote:
Dec 23rd, 2017 2:39 am
As someone in CS...you should know this is common and the norm in big complex projects
Yeeeeeeah..... as someone who works in IT this is NOT the norm in the slightest lol. If you were the PM on this project, and I came to ask you what the issues were in this project and you responded “meh it’s the norm” you’d be job hunting in no time.
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1000islands wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2017 12:49 pm
Then you shouldn't deploy it to all department all at once.
You’re absolutely right. Any project, basic to advanced, will have some sort of testing phase and will identify client groups to be a part of this testing phase - it’s not rocket science.

They actually did implement in some departments first, and ignored the complaints of those staff.

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