CDT PAL Process

Picture of CSPS Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) timeline

The California State Payroll System Project (CSPS) is progressing through the California Department of Technology (CDT) Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL). The PAL is divided into four stages: Stage 1 Business Analysis, Stage 2 Alternatives Analysis, Stage 3 Solution Development, and Stage 4 Project Readiness and Approval, each separated by gates of approval.  Rather than picking up where the 21st Century Project left off, the State Controller’s Office (SCO) examined lessons from the past and started the project anew. The project team worked with the business owners to identify problems and opportunities with current business practices, establish a solid business case and identify objectives aligned with SCO’s strategic direction.

The project team worked with subject matter experts from SCO and 39 state departments to create end-to-end current state documentation of the business processes required to process payroll. This process reaffirmed the opportunities documented in Stage 1 Business Analysis (S1BA) and guided the team in defining future standardized and streamlined state business processes.

A mega project possessing this level of complexity calls for extensive market research. Working with CDT, the project team conducted market research that included interviewing other states and large local government entities who replaced their human capital management (HCM) and payroll systems to learn from their experiences.  The project team also held formal review sessions with subject matter experts (SMEs) to document initial requirements and clarify policies and processes. Future state workflow diagrams were created to validate key data elements with SMEs and gain stakeholder approval of the identified procurement strategy. The project team submitted the Stage 2 Alternatives Analysis (S2AA) to CDT in September 2020, moving closer to a solution that addresses project objectives and provides for the needs of all stakeholders.

While the project was guided through its initial planning stages under an advisory body, it became clear in early 2020 that an Executive Steering Committee (ESC) was needed to address a broad scope of decisions that cross departmental areas of responsibility. The CSPS ESC includes executives from SCO, Department of Human Resources (CalHR), Government Operations Agency (GovOPS), Department of Finance (DOF), and CDT who provide a blend of policy, business operations, financial, and technical perspectives.

The CSPS Project is primarily an organizational change management (OCM) project with a substantial information technology component. As such, the project established an Organizational Change Management team to address the “people” side of change the project will face in coming years. Beginning with a broad range of change-readiness assessments at the executive, management, and staff levels across stakeholder departments, the OCM team has developed change management strategies, training plans, and communications plans to maintain stakeholder engagement and keep every affected employee informed along the way.

In late 2023, following several months of evaluations, proof of concept demonstrations, and negotiations, vendor negotiations for the Solution Integrator contract concluded without awarding a contract. The ESC, along with support from other high-level stakeholders concluded the most beneficial action is to revise and reissue the CSPS solicitation. While this development was unexpected, SCO and CalHR are as determined as ever to bring forward a modernized Human Resources and Payroll system. 

The CalHR, SCO, and CDT project team has incorporated relevant bidder feedback to modify the CSPS Project’s solicitation requirements and structure and will seek bidders for a revised solicitation. The project team will update Stage 3 Solution Analysis with the relevant procurement methodology details. The project team will continue to track and evaluate Bargaining Unit contracts and MOU changes to align project requirements and find new opportunities to transform the current HR system.

The CSPS Project scope includes modernizing and centralizing the State’s position control, personnel and benefits administration, employee time management, travel and expense management, and payroll systems. Once complete, CSPS will enable employees to make changes to their benefits, receive their pay stub, change withholding allowances, and many other benefits using an online portal as opposed to the current process, which requires submission of paper documents to their human resources office for manual processing.