Army boosts efficiency with task management tool
- By Stephanie Kanowitz
- Mar 21, 2018
U.S. Forces Korea has saved about $2.2 million on program management maintenance and hosting in seven months by using a collaborative task management tool.
USFK is the fourth Army entity to use the Task Management Tool (TMT), an Accenture solution that works with the Defense Department's non-secure and secure IP networks and allows users to complete "taskers" electronically in one application. Taskers are directives or action items at the executive level that require responses. TMT gives users a common place to store and manage documents so that at any given time, anybody involved in the task knows what’s going on with it.
Because it’s hosted by the Army’s Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Enterprise Systems and Services, TMT takes concerns about hosting and maintenance off USFK’s hands, letting users focus on completing their tasks. That’s led to a 25 percent increase in staff productivity and streamlined business process. The centralized hosting has decreased downtime by about 40 percent, said Army Enterprise Staff Management Systems Deputy Product Lead, G.W. Burnside II.
“The commands are putting ownership responsibility to us to make sure they’re getting what they need from TMT,” said Lt. Col. Toy Frasier, product lead with the Army Enterprise Staff Management Systems. “They’re just using TMT as it’s supposed to be used.… Now the [program management] shop is along to help them in their business process to get things done quickly and efficiently.”
The Headquarters of the Department of the Army (HQDA) deployed TMT in June 2017 for use at HQDA, Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command. Since then, there has been a 15.3 percent decrease in late taskers, a 1.9 percent decrease in the average number of days that a tasker is late and a 13.6-day decrease in the average time it takes to complete a tasker, Burnside said.
The Executive Communication and Control office, which issues the bulk of HQDA taskers, have seen a 14-day decrease in average time to completion, and a 33 percent decrease in missed due dates.
Those numbers exceed expectations, Burnside said. “Presently, we’re above the average metrics that we were looking for, so I would say it’s a positive note for HQDA,” he added.
Another benefit from the tool has been better accountability. TMT can assign tasks to individuals or teams and allows review and approval before the work is released.
“It holds ownership from leadership all the way down [to] accountability of taskers, making sure that taskers are completed in the right time frame,” Frasier said. “A lot of times, taskers get pushed down. They get lost in the shuffle as we do business, but [with] TMT, the tasker can’t get lost. We have accountability of where the tasker goes, and we know when it should be accomplished. That helps the Army engage in how they do business the right way.”
TMT will be in use at 10 more commands by the end of the fiscal year, and support roughly double the current 14,000 users. Frasier said he doesn’t expect to make changes to the tool, however.
“I don’t really see any major adjustments to TMT because right now it’s currently doing what it’s designed to do: make sure taskers get accomplished in the timely fashion, [and] pushing the Army from the dinosaur age to … this new age of how we do business,” he said.
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.