Founded in 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is a Department of Defense (DoD) agency with the mission to provide the fullest possible accounting for service members missing from past conflicts. As part of their formation, DPAA needed to build a single Case Management System (CMS) to manage all data and content files, including laboratory remains analysis and processing, for the more than 82,000 missing U.S. Service Members from World War II, the Cold War, and the Korea and Vietnam conflicts. DPAA employs historical researchers, data managers, laboratory professionals, excavation mission planners, archaeologists, and IT staff, all of whom have different areas of responsibility and use multiple applications to do their jobs.
The Nakupuna Companies identified several commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software platforms that could be combined under a unified system to meet all of DPAA’s diverse case management needs. The CMS built by the Nakupuna Companies for DPAA combines OpenText Documentum, StarLIMS, and Qlik Sense Data Visualization to create a multi-faceted application suite that could be customized at the user-level to enhance efficiency and mission effectiveness throughout the agency.
During the initial development phases, the Nakupuna Companies utilized Agile methodology and worked closely with DPAA to define user groups and create user stories via the Atlassian suite of requirements gathering tools. We then conceptualized different application roles and functions while building the CMS, allowing us to make adjustments during development and identify ways DPAA could improve its business processes. A consistent approach to user testing and product releases ensured that the system was meeting the needs of both DPAA as an agency and the individual users who worked within CMS every day.
The Nakupuna Companies’ Agile approach delivered a successful and operational CMS built on the COTS systems we identified, as well as two custom applications plus a single, authoritative data set DPAA can rely on. The CMS is integrated with geographic information system (GIS) systems and DPAA’s public website, allowing the analysts, historians, and technicians at DPAA to not only manage their case data, but view it and communicate it in new, unique ways. The system gained initial operating capacity in February 2018 and reached full operating capacity one year later. Based on the success of the CMS project, DPAA has begun implementing Agile methodology into its regular operations.