After embracing Agile, IPPS-A welcomes new leader

Col. Matthew Paul assumed the IPPS-A charter on April 24, 2024.
Col. Matthew Paul is IPPS-A's new project manager. (U.S. Army photo by Cecilia Tueros)
Susan McGovern, Strategic Communication Specialist, IPPS-A
May 17, 2024

Eighteen months ago, Col.(Promotable) RJ Mikesh parachuted into Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A) during the middle of two large Increment II user-acceptance tests.

During his tenure as IPPS-A’s project manager, Mikesh and his team rolled out three software releases, transitioned to Agile, transformed an old program and rebooted a new program recently added to IPPS-A's portfolio. These milestones paved the way for IPPS-A to deliver modern, intuitive solutions to Soldiers. 

On April 24, Mikesh handed the IPPS-A charter to Col. Matthew Paul

“Col. Mikesh and team have been steadily transforming IPPS-A and driving the speed, simplicity and excellence ethos that now pervades PEO EIS,” Reg Shuford, acting deputy program executive officer for EIS, said during IPPS-A’s Change of Charter ceremony. 

IPPS-A achievements
Col. Mikesh and the IPPS-A team put in a herculean effort to produce software enhancements that support Soldiers. 

  • The Increment II team launched the Army’s largest enterprise business system and the world’s largest implementation of PeopleSoft — serving 1.1 million Soldiers. Seven months after the launch of Release 3, Increment II transitioned to Agile software methodology. Increment II also initiated the next major enhancement to the IPPS-A system by finally adding “pay” to the IPPS-A acronym.
  • The Operational Medicine Information Systems – Army team “transitioned from 25 years of software and hardware support to a new modernization program and is about to start ushering in new technologies that will greatly enhance medical Soldiers’ capabilities at the tactical edge.” 
  • The Reserve Component Automation System/Force Management System team “continues to provide outstanding support to the functional communities while staying singularly focused on increasing efficiency and succession planning to move legacy capabilities to modern platforms,” and, 
  • The Accessions Information Environment team made a courageous recommendation to completely pivot the program. “This complex restructuring … has already seen benefits, and the new azimuth is pointing us in the right direction,” Mikesh said. 

Tackling tough tasks 
Mikesh expressed gratitude for IPPS-A’s triad, a collective team composed of three groups: acquisition professionals, functional communities and industry partners. 

“Leading and managing these complex business systems is not for the faint of heart,” Mikesh said. “To the product leads and your deputies, thank you so much for your leadership, acquisition excellence and willingness to take on these tough jobs.”

Mikesh thanked the functional communities in IPPS-A’s portfolio, including the Army’s Accessions community, G-1, Medical Command, National Guard, Reserve and Surgeon General. “I want to especially thank my two functional battle buddies over the past 18 months: Col. Rebecca Eggers and Col. Becky Lust. Becky, you and your Functional Management Division (FMD) team have been absolutely incredible. IPPS-A would not have been developed and fielded and surely would not operate as it does today without the team of incredible professionals and subject matter experts that FMD provides and your collective leadership.” 

Mikesh also expressed appreciation for the IPPS-A portfolio’s industry partners, integrators and original equipment manufacturers. “The Army cannot develop, test, deploy and operate these systems by ourselves,” Mikesh said. “Your partnership is critical for the combined team model. Clearly, there are always contractual aspects of this partnership, but I am continually impressed by the innovation and dedication to mission displayed by your teammates.” 

IPPS-A’s new leader
Before leading IPPS-A, Paul served as project manager of Mission Command under PEO Command, Control and Communications-Tactical. At Mission Command, Paul helped the Army craft software acquisition reform policies that make it easier to adopt Agile continuous integration and continuous delivery methodologies. “Like other EIS leaders, Matt is known for leading bold, innovative acquisition professionals navigating challenges successfully to deliver capabilities to our Soldiers,” Shuford said.

“I am deeply honored to have been entrusted with this role, and I am keenly aware of the weight of responsibilities that come with it,” Paul said. “There will be obstacles that will test our resolve as well as our ingenuity. But I am confident that with determination, resilience and a shared sense of purpose, there is no challenge that we cannot overcome. Together, we will rise to meet these challenges head on and will emerge stronger and more united than ever before.”

Mikesh’s next chapter
Mikesh now serves as the deputy program executive officer of EIS. Mikesh’s Army acquisition expertise and experience leading complex projects will help the Army solve some of its toughest problems, Shuford said. 

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