John Graf, Technical Lead at Head Start Information & Communications Center speaks at HighGear User Conference

Company: Trans-Management Systems Corporation (TMSC)
Location: Head Start Information & Communications Center
Washington, DC

Industry: Web Management and Communications

Company Profile:
Trans-Management Systems Corporation (TMSC) is a government contractor and professional services firm that specializes in improving human services delivery programs. TMSC has a long history of serving the communication needs of the Office of Head Start, currently operating the Head Start Information & Communications Center which develops and manages the Head Start websites, social media management, and a contact center handling all telephone and email communications, much of which is generated from the websites.

Size: 30+ employees associated with the HSICC contract.

Benefits of Implementing HighGear:
Ability to produce more work with fewer people
Performance reporting with time tracking
Real-time visibility into project status
Automated routing and handling of calls and form submissions
Document archive for questions submitted through the website
Ability to quickly and easily change workflow and processes to achieve real-time, continuous process improvement.

Scope and Complexity:
The ECLKC website is the information hub for the broad-based Head Start community. Receiving 1 million unique visitors a year, it provides educational resources and program locators for families, policies, regulations, and conference schedules for program staff, training support materials, reports and financial document required of a government entity, and even an employment opportunities exchange.

TMSC handles the creation and management of over 12,000 content objects, many of which are presented in both English and Spanish. Formats range from simple HTML pages to multimedia learning modules. The creation, quality assurance, posting, and updating of this content required tracking the many workflows specific to different kinds of content, and yet accurately maintain an overall process from submission and design through production and quality checks.

TMSC has worked with Head Start for over 25 years, initially print production and dissemination which was managed through a central inventory system. With the advent of the internet and the creation of Head Start’s website in 2006, the pace and type of work changed dramatically. With constant updates to the website and the addition of managing email communications and social media, the number of projects and tasks being handled could no longer be kept in individuals’ heads or on spreadsheets. The submission of tasks and projects by ten or twenty separate client inputs still kept key parts of the process in email and, thus, often improperly tracked.

As the website grew, the HSICC Contact Center similarly saw the work increase, now receiving over 1,300 phone calls and 800 email or form submissions per month which must be handled individually by a call center staff of five within 48 hours of receipt. An earlier system collected complaints and suggestions, but was becoming overloaded, was not designed for team-based work, and tended to be inefficient at the expanding scale.


In 2008, TMSC acquired HighGear to manage this expanding work and it has become the central hub of all website production. HighGear logs all the individual tasks related to projects, Q&A, time logs, and approvals for compliance and accountability. HighGear maintains efficiency and on-time project completion with its integrated task management for teams. In addition, direct email submission is used to automatically capture work orders placed on the website and import them as tasks within HighGear.

HighGear was also implemented in the HSICC Contact Center to help manage the individual communications being generated by the Head Start website. With HighGear’s visual workflow, TMSC was able to create statuses that automatically route communications and handle responses. Further, special workflow branches can assure various government requirements are met. Most notably, the HighGear web service is used to integrate an independent records archive so that all user questions and the responses provided are permanently housed in separate document repository.

John Graf, Technical Lead at Head Start Information and Communications Center has worked with HighGear since day one. “The workflow is gorgeous. It is just so easy. I was blown away by how fast I could adjust things. And I could literally just see it without writing any code. When users want an improvement, I add a new step. It doesn’t break anything and the work doesn’t get interrupted. It just keeps going. That’s its real beauty. We just keep modifying it, through contract changes and people changes. “

HighGear allows TMSC to deliver more effectively for Head Start. John adds, “Head Start is extremely happy with us. We’re doing a great deal more work, with possibly one or two less people. We don’t lose anything. Nothing gets misplaced. We’ve had great success with HighGear.”

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