Question: During final testing just before launching a new payroll system

During final testing, just before launching a new payroll system, the project manager at Reutzel Legal Services found that the purchased payroll system was doing the following:
• Writing checks for negative amounts
• Printing checks with names and employee numbers that did not match
• Making errors; for example, $8 per hour became $800 per hour if a decimal point was not entered
• Writing checks for amounts greater than a full year’s salary
Fortunately, payroll was still installed on time, and only 1.5% of the checks had to be manually reissued every payday until the problem was solved.
Other problems were that no one had made sure the new system was compatible with the existing payroll database, and there appeared to be no formal transition between the development of the project and the implementation of the project. The system was never run in parallel.
Although the programming manager lost his job, the payroll problems helped raise awareness of the company’s growing dependence on IT. Lacking a major problem, there was a perception that the information system did not affect operations.

a. What does “the system was never run in parallel” mean?
b. If the company had run the system in parallel, what should have occurred?
c. What other testing methodologies could have been used by the firm?
d. What other types of problems are evident from reading the case?

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  • CreatedDecember 19, 2014
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