Underestimating complexity led to Phoenix problems: Report

Review of troubled pay system released by federal government
By Sheila Brawn
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 12/01/2017
Public servants take part in a protest calling on the federal government to fix its Phoenix payroll system in Ottawa, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: REUTERS/Chris Wattie

The federal government’s failure to fully appreciate the intricacies involved in changing the way it administered payroll led to the problems it faced when it launched its Phoenix pay system last year, a recently released independent report said.

“It is our view that fundamentally it was the underestimation of the initiative’s complexity that led to its downfall,” said the report by consulting firm Goss Gilroy. Called Lessons Learned from the Transformation of Pay Administration, the report stems from a study it carried out earlier this year on the government’s Transformation of Pay Administration Initiative (TPA).

Problems with Phoenix have been ongoing since the government began rolling it out in Feb. 2016.