As remote work and the digitization of work become the norm, the corresponding surge in new workplace information systems has scattered records across the digital landscape. At the same time, many organizations continue to rely on email as a one-size-fits-all solution for digital coordination, despite its inability to facilitate efficient coordination on complex processes. When these challenges became increasingly problematic for one major agency at the Department of Defense (DoD), it hired Throughline to design and develop a digital product that would solve its coordination issues.
Throughline's client oversees the disbursement of financial resources to DoD agencies, inservice of funding national security and foreign policy initiatives. As part of this responsibility, the agency receives and adjudicates funding requests from national security programs.
The agency manages several funding processes, which were conducted almost entirely over email. This became a significant stumbling block. In addition to anxiety and frustration resulting from poor coordination, the processes' inefficiencies slowed operations and resulted in duplicative efforts, frequent data loss, and weak accountability for following protocols.
These problems rippled out to the broader DoD community. As one major stakeholder said,"You have 10 people routing information to one person, who then has to route that back out to 10 people. The center of the funnel is starting to break."
Throughline set out to design and develop a tool that would streamline the funding request processes and resolve the client's serious coordination issues.
In order to design a single, cohesive and overarching solution suited to the needs of all DoD agencies involved in the funding request processes, we collaborated with finance and policy personnel from 14 DoD agencies.
Using Agile and Human-Centered Design best practices, our multidisciplinary product team investigated coordination problems across the security cooperation space, quickly iterated to a robust design solution, and rapidly developed a workflow engine capable of centralizing the entire funding request process.This workflow engine, called TaskDynamics, was then used to develop a customized tool adapted to the needs of our DoD client.
With this TaskDynamics-powered tool, users can:
"The [TaskDynamics-powered tool] is a very comprehensive system with great capability. The quality is impeccable, which is really astounding when you think about how quickly it was produced."
—SES Officer of DoD Agency (Client)
“We want to put everything into the [TaskDynamics-based tool]. The coordination in one central place helps us with what we do and it keeps things organized.”
—DoD Finance Personnel
Less than a year after starting, the agency's TaskDynamics-powered tool went live, and it currently has more than 100 users at over 20 DoD agencies, with the user base expected to grow as the tool is further disseminated in the coming years. The tool was the first successful digitalization of a process of its size at this DoD agency. The new tool:
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