Case Study: Manpower and Talent Management

The Business Challenge

The Human Capital Management Offices at the Components of a large Department-level headquarters organization had trouble keeping track of its highly diverse workforce, consisting of General Schedule (GS) civil servants, Senior Executive Service (SES), military officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) from all of the service branches, National Guard and reserve officers and NCOs on short-term reserve orders and full-time assignments, personnel from other Departments filling temporary or rotational assignments under the Intergovernment Personnel Act (IPA), intradepartmental detailees, personnel from Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and Academia, and political appointees, as well as contractor personnel. 

The majority of these workforce elements are tracked individually in stand-alone enterprise personnel and pay systems that don't have interfaces and data that are readily available to the Human Capital Management professionals at the small to mid-sized headquarters Component organizations.  Many of their workforce components weren't being tracked at all.  HCMO professionals had to use spreadsheets to and manual, labor intensive processes to track all of their workforce components.  Within the offices, version control and data accuracy because severe issues.  Other key manpower data, such as special skills and credentials, career development, office locations, and emergency contact information often was nonexistent.  The HCMOs also lacked an automated tool to help track frequent reorganizations and physical office moves to and from leased space to accommodate renovations of the headquarters building.

QSMI briefed the customer and proposed a short-term pilot project to conduct a human capital management study and develop a prototype Manpower and Talent Management system for evaluation purposes.  If the prototype met with executive approval, the contract would be continued for a fully-functional Manpower and Talent Management system. QSMI's services were obtained through a "buy" from our GSA Schedule 70 contract.

QSMI's Approach to the Solution

We became a long-term program began as a six month study with a proof of concept prototype as the major contract deliverable.  We began the project with an manpower management tool from another project, however, first, we focused first on building a fully-documented business case.  Our project team consisted of a Human Capital Management (HCMO) subject matter expert (SME), a data architect, and a senior software developer with personnel management systems experience.  We began with the source code from a government-owned personnel system that QSMI developed for another customer.  Our HCM SME researched the laws, Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines, executive orders, directives and other regulations associated with each of the workforce components, and fully documented them. Our data architect developed a "should be" data model consisting of all of the core and secondary data elements needed by HCMO end-users.  He searched other systems and data repositories in the data enterprise to determine if data is being maintained elsewhere or in other automated systems.  If so, can a "should be" system access the data?  Meanwhile, our software developer used the Agile software development methodology to rapidly modify the software code and data model of the manpower management system to finish an initial prototype based on the emerging functional and data requirements produced by the other team members.  We presented our prototype and study findings to several executives including the Assistant Secretary and participated in a round table discussion.  After the briefing we received positive feedback, and the "green light" to proceed with the full development effort.

QSMI designed, developed, and deployed a modular system using Web and thin client interfaces to serve a variety of manpower and talent management objectives, using multiple data sources.  Throughout the rapid development and release cycles, our team partnered closely with HCMO stakeholders and end-users, as well as personnel security, information security teams.  The CAC/PIV enabled system utilizes roles-based security to enable users to manage personal, position, and support data, such as security information, parking permits, training and career development, special skills, and contact information, all of the personnel reporting directly to the respective component organization, as well as the parent agency.  All software development was accomplished in our advanced IT Lab.


For this development effort, QSMI utilized industry best practices including CMMI Level 3 processes for Quality and the Agile development methodology to develop and deliver high quality error-free code.  In addition to code development, QSMI supported the following tasks:

  • User acceptance, involving small group training for administrative staff, as well as desk-side training for executive personnel; development of a configuration management plan for maintaining the application versioning; and, validating software test plans.

  • Business process and Policy support: with each software product release, our HCM subject matter expert, provided training classes in Human Capital Management policies governing the various workforce elements, to help end-users better understand the functional requirements and the business rules that we built into the system.

  • Development of an XML based Universal Interface in order to share manpower data with external applications.The interface uses open standards and is compatible with a wide range of platforms and operating systems. The interface allows external applications to request data from the System, and once properly authenticated, the interface returns the results in XML format for parsing and use by the requesting application.

  • The Locator - a Web application that performs two very important organizational functions. First, the Locator allows employees to quickly find the organization, office location, and work telephone number of any person that has an active record in the System. Second, the Locator enables each employees to edit their personal contact information, as permitted by the user administrators. Employees can submit changes to administrators and, upon their approval; the information is dynamically updated, and is immediately available for display on the Locator or in any of the standard reports.

QSMI also delivered an add-on application called Reminders.  Reminders is a small Windows system tray client application on the end-user desktop, allowing the user to set task “reminders”.  Users can set up customized “reminders” on tracked dates, as well as “reminders” to run reports and generate data exports.

​​Benefits to the Customer

As a result of QSMI's involvement in this program, QSMI provided the right tools and business process support needed to enable Human Capital Management Offices at multiple high profile headquarters office component organizations to streamline their processes, and develop Human Capital Management best practices.  The system users were able to complete reorganiztions, manage all of their manpower elements, and generate reports in less than 10% of the time that had been needed prior to our involvement.  Additionally, the error rate in their data was reduced dramatically.

And, because of our comprehensive study of Workforce, Human Capital, and Personnel policies, our HCMO customers were able to more completely follow the relevant policies that govern Human Capital Management in the Federal space.

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