Financial transformations are difficult for most businesses and for an Australian arts organisation, going back to benefits and project fundamentals helped to turnaround a stalled payroll project

Key deliverables

  • Project health check and recommendations
  • RFP delivery around benefits requirements
  • Workforce management project delivery
  • Capability uplift into the business


As one of Australia’s largest arts employers, our Client had experienced steady growth since its inception and was managing a nation-wide program with a workforce that was spread across multiple locations.

The organisation was in the process of replacing their payroll system and manual spreadsheets with a new payroll system as part of a larger financial transformation program, The new payroll solution incorporated rostering and time and attendance streams, including a number of interfaces to automate the payroll process

The additional streams added significant complexity and risk to the overall financial transformation program, however, there was also concern about whether the fundamentals for running the project were in place to ensure a successful outcome. A new Chief Financial Officer had joined the organisation and realised the project was in trouble and wanted an independent expert review.

Key milestones had been missed and there were some known areas of concern such as minimal business requirements, lack of visibility of a plan and overall approach, how the project was managing the complexities and associated risks, and how the change impact was being addressed.

After effectively putting the project on hold, the Client engaged Quay Consulting to undertake a project health check and prepare to re-establish the project and set it up for success.

The Challenge

The client had initiated the payroll project as part of their financial transformation program and had already selected a vendor to implement a new system without fully understanding the requirements nor executing a proper selection process via an RFP. Furthermore, the client was also managing the project utilising their own internal resources who were already stretched and did not have specific project delivery expertise.

As Quay began its review, it became clear that the project needed to remain on hold as there were clear implementation issues, no recommendations to implement against, and that the project lacked critical delivery components such as:

  • Business requirements (both high-level and detailed)
  • A fit/gap analysis
  • Implementation approach
  • Project controls (Risks, Issues and change registers, decision register)
  • Data migration, process maps, and procedure development
  • Detailed plans
  • Clear governance across all aspects of the project
  • Clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Change management strategy, communication plan or training

The project was not adequately resourced nor was there a workable project delivery team structure in place.

Quay presented its findings to the steerco with the recommendation that a proper requirement gathering process be completed, and to then initiate a project to proceed to an RFP to find an appropriate solution for the organisation.

The Approach

Quay worked with the client to develop the high level and detailed business requirements and take it through the RFP process, which included inviting the incumbent vendor to participate.

Quay facilitated and managed the RFP process but didn’t participate in the final vendor selection to ensure ownership remained in-house and to avoid any conflict of interest. We maintained a strong dialogue with the project’s sponsors and stakeholders throughout so that they understood the risks and quality considerations that should factor into the decision.

During the RPF process, it became clear that the incumbent vendor would not be able to meet the business requirements and that an alternative vendor could deliver a solution that could meet the business needs.. Quay had saved the Client significant financial costs and impacts to long term efficiencies of implementing a system that was not going to deliver its intended outcomes.

The review had also highlighted that the Client didn’t have the internal capacity to deliver the project or manage its risks. Upon vendor selection, Quay was re-engaged to provide project management, business analysis and Change Management support to the project, augmenting the Client’s team with the right resources to deliver the project.


Quay supported the client throughout the process of getting its payroll project back on track and ensured that the business requirements, project outcomes, governance process and risks were properly managed. We delivered a health check that uncovered potentially serious issues and risks and worked with the organisation to get the project back on track.

We built upon the relationships that had been established with the project’s stakeholders to ensure they were aligned to the project’s objectives and requirements throughout the journey. It was important that they understood the context for phased delivery of the payroll, rostering, and time and attendance functions, as well as to mitigate any risks to the project.

Quay also worked closely with the new vendor to ensure a smooth implementation, working through issues that arose when components of the software didn’t appear to be appropriate for the requirements. Getting the right people in the room during these times was a priority and soon made it clear that the solution was often straightforward, and most issues were addressed promptly.

Bringing in a project team highly skilled in workforce management enabled the organisation to see that they were implementing a system that would deliver a fit-for-purpose solution for payroll, rostering, and time and attendance and ultimately meet the business needs now and into the future.

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To speak to our team about how we can help your business deliver better projects, please contact us.

About Quay

Quay Consulting
Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...