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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

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Location: Ontario, California, United States

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Implementation gone awry

So many technical implementations are dependent upon the people and processes used to implement them. Listen to this:

Two weeks after district officials said they were correcting problems associated with a switch to a new software program, some employees have yet to receive a paycheck for work over the summer.

When the district switched to a new software program called PeopleSoft in early July, employees complained about glitches, incorrect or confusing training manuals and fouled up or missing paychecks.

So many angered employees showed up to the district's payroll department to complain that school police were called in. This week, the district's payroll manager, Alvin Dunn, resigned....

The district spent $4 million on the software program and $14 million on consultants to implement it in 164 schools and district headquarters.

It replaced an antiquated program with a point-and-click program that allows databases in different departments to talk to one another. Hundreds of employees were trained over several months on the new program. Payroll dry runs went well.

In January, however, the director of the project, consultant Erick Sherman, resigned. Moore said the district hired the consulting company and had no say in how the company moved employees. He said the district had no complaints about their work. Sherman could not be reached for comment.


But COO Joe Moore figured out what the problem was.

Moore said in hindsight the district should have hired experts to teach employes how to use the system. Instead, it relied on a train-the-trainer model where employees got training and passed it on to colleagues.

And, of course, a committee has been formed:

Superintendent Art Johnson has expanded a standing committee on the project to include principals, secretaries and bookkeepers.

What about parents and students? We need the required amount of inclusiveness so that the blame can be distributed.

I just hope the new committee members weren't trained by the old members. We all know that train the trainer doesn't work.

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