The Payroll Game Changer

Articles following on from the conference

How to get payroll agile! Part 1

Do you feel tired at the end of the day?

Worried that your payroll deadlines might not be met?

Not sure how you’ll get through everything?

At the Payroll Game Changer conference in February, we explored how you can use the principles of agile to make your payroll flow more effectively and efficiently. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, just read on because Agile might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Ming Yii and Dan Teo from Assurity Consulting talked through what agile is. It’s come from the technology sector and is a different way of thinking about processes and projects. There are a number of tools and techniques that you can use if you implement agile into your team, however what we wanted to share today was one of the key concepts from the discussion that several of the Payroll people attending the conference said they were going to try.

2017-02-17 13.55.19

The concept is about stop starting… and start finishing.

What often happens during a day is that we switch from task to task doing a little bit of each, rather than working on one thing at a time. This is called Context Switching. At the conference we completed an exercise writing out 3 people’s names. When you write each name separately it feels natural and is quite quick.

Have a go now. Grab a piece of paper and write down 3 of your colleagues names underneath each other. If you time how long this takes it’s a few seconds.

But then try writing the first letter of the first name, then underneath write the first letter of the second name, then underneath the first letter of the third name, then back up to the first name and write the second letter and so on. We timed this and it took most of us 30 seconds to a full minute!! It doesn’t feel natural.

Yet we do it every day at work without realising.

And by doing that we take 3 – 6 times LONGER to complete a task. It’s also tiring. If you in fact work on 20 things in a day but don’t finish any of them – you don’t feel any sense of achievement.

So here are some ideas for stopping context switching:

  1. TURN OFF YOUR EMAIL. Yes, turn it off. And only turn it on at 3 – 4 times during the day. Then focus on answering those emails in a clump – taking your phone off the hook and putting up a sign above your desk that for the next 15 minutes you are not answering questions. You’ll find you can whiz through them far quicker than trying to answer them ad hoc as they come in during the day.
  2. Write down on post it notes the key tasks that you have to do today. Then head one new post it note ‘To Do’, one ‘In progress’ and one ‘Done’. Put them up next to each other, put all your tasks for the day under ‘To Do’, then start working on one of the tasks. Move it to ‘In progress’ while you are working on it. If you start on another task before finishing, then put it into ‘In progress’ too. This can be a visual way to check you’re not switching and trying to work on too many tasks at once!! Also when you’ve moved things into ‘Done’ you feel a sense of achievement! People coming by your desk can also see what you’re working on (so don’t put anything confidential like ‘Calculating Sarah Smith’s redundancy’ up there!!).
  3. If you’ve got a team, then get everyone to write out what things they need to achieve that week on post it notes, and then use the same method of putting them in boxes for ‘To Do’, one ‘In progress’ and one ‘Done’. This can be great on a whiteboard in the office. Then you can have a stand up meeting after lunch or at the start of the day and update the board, check if anything else urgent has come in that needs to go and up and generally keep on top of what’s going on.

These are some simple ways to use a couple of the concepts of Agile. If you want to find out more about how Agile could work for your team, then Ming is very happy to have a chat with you. You can get his details by clicking here.

We’ll also be writing a Payroll Agile Part 2 about how you can tackle some of the processes that can slow you down.

If you’d like to keep updated on our posts just click here.


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This entry was posted on May 5, 2017 by in Uncategorized.
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