Can Agile Practices Be Incorporated in Payroll Processing?

Can Agile Practices Be Incorporated in Payroll Processing?

Software development is divided into two primary process models known as ‘waterfall’ and ‘agile’. The waterfall approach relies on a cascading series of tasks completed one after another until the job is done. Another way to look at it is developing software in phases, or stages, with each one relying on the completion of the previous phase before it can begin.

Payroll processing has traditionally followed a waterfall model. The waterfall begins with time tracking. It is followed by adding up and verifying hours worked, inputting time tracking data into the payroll system, cutting paper checks, and distributing those checks to employees. Each step of the process relies on the previous step being completed correctly and on time.

The second approach to software development is the agile model. Rather than completing tasks in succession, those tasks are completed in parallel. Teams responsible for the individual tasks remain in constant communication so that modifications can be made on-the-fly. This enables the entire development team to respond to anything that might have been unforeseen. The question is, can the agile method of software development be applied to payroll processing?

The 12 Agile Principles

When the Agile Manifesto was first published in 2001, its 17 authors established 12 principles that acted as the foundation of what agile software development would become and how it was to be implemented. If you look at those 12 principles through the lens of payroll processing, it becomes apparent that agility can be Incorporated into just about everything the payroll department does.

For example, the first principle is customer satisfaction. In payroll processing, the customer can be one of two possibilities: the employee (when payroll is handled in-house) or the employer (when payroll is handled by an outsourcing provider). Either way, customer satisfaction is the number one priority.

Another basic tenet is one of welcoming changing requirements as these occur. Other principles of agile development include cooperation between customers and developers, frequent product deliveries, face-to-face communications, measuring progress by the quality of software, continuous attention to technology and design, and using the best possible architectures.

Without going into all the details, each of the 12 principles of agile software development are easily transferred to the payroll arena. Indeed, agility should be an essential part of payroll in a day and age where more companies are taking their payroll online and into the cloud.

Working in Parallel

Incorporating agility into the payroll department involves that same model of completing tasks in parallel rather than cascading succession. Take a company such as Dallas-based BenefitMall, for example. They can offer clients an integrated payroll solution in which they provide some services while the employer handles others. Both handle their responsibilities in parallel.

To make it all work, BenefitMall provides a software platform that is easily integrated into the employer’s current systems. The payroll department and BenefitMall both use it. They also communicate regularly to ensure that things run smoothly.

Technology, Design, and Architecture

The strength of modern payroll in the digital era is computer technology. This is yet another area in which agility plays a significant role. The best payroll providers do not rely on outdated software or barely functional architecture in an attempt to provide best-in-class service to clients. Companies like BenefitMall are constantly working on their own technology and infrastructure to make sure it remains cutting-edge. This gives clients access to the latest tools for effective and efficient payroll.

Yes, the principles of agile software development can be Incorporated into payroll processing. It is simply a matter of wanting to do so.

Categories: Business

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