An Interview With FSO Anxious to Help the Bidding Tool Designers



FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDZ — As previously announced, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) anticipates that SmarterMatch will replace the Diplomatic Service Bidding (DSBid) application and serve as a unified source of information (currently stored outside of DSBid) regarding available Diplomatic Service positions and post data for Diplomatic Service employees. DSBid is the current system of record for internal bidding and assignment processes for the Ministry’s Diplomatic Service employees.

SmarterMatch’s primary goal is to bring about a more secure, reliable and dedicated system to support the Human Resource Division’s Career Development and Assignments Office (HR/CDA) business processes.  HR/CDA supports the mission of the Ministry by transparently and equitably assigning employees with the right skills to the right positions at the right time.

The Ministry’s SmarterMatch planned implementation was reported as widely supported and highly anticipated by employees and family members. We interviewed Foreign Service Officer Alexa Braveheart about this development, and while clearly perplexed, she agreed to speak on the record.

FSO Alexa Braveheart confessed — when she realized that Mikey, the 20 year old SmarterMatch graphic interface designer who was interviewing her, had absolutely no earthly clue how the Diplomatic Service bidding process actually worked — that she patiently tried to explain the entire DSBid process to him.

“I had initially volunteered to meet with SmarterMatch because I wanted to assist with the process they will be going through to replace the current bidding platform – FSBid DSBid – with their new and enhanced format,” said Ms. Braveheart.

“From the very beginning of my discussion with Mikey, I realized that he had no idea how anything worked. I did my best to explain these things to him, but he started looking really overwhelmed,” Ms. Braveheart explained. “Frankly, I thought he looked a bit green about the gills after I spoke for a while,” she added.

Apparently, Mikey, who has been tasked with tearing down and remodeling the bidding process that is used by thousands of Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees, had known nothing about how bids were submitted, why bids were submitted, how many bids each bidder usually submitted, the number of bids posts usually received, how lobbying worked, how handshakes worked, how the timing for training or home leave worked or factored into the bidding process, how fair share bids worked, how or why posts might have differentials, what medical clearances had to do with the process, or….basically anything at all about bidding, for that matter.

Ms. Braveheart, who shared that it was her understanding that SmarterMatch was supposedly going to have its renovation of the bidding process completed sometime this year, shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she recounted her conversation with Mikey. “This is an incredibly important project that Mikey is undertaking, because the bidding process greatly influences the lives of all Diplomatic Service employees and their family members,” she noted. “I’m trying to figure out how best to help him and his colleagues learn more about what the bidding process fully entails,” she added.

Ms. Braveheart wondered out loud if perhaps a “word cloud” would help Mikey given that it has now been widely used in reports and surveys. She declared that she has taken this responsibility to be of assistance so seriously that she has now occupied the corner table at the cafeteria for five straight days with an “Ask Me Anything About DSBid” sign. There had been no sign of Mikey and his crew and Ms. Braveheart is worried about the rampant rumors circulating in the building.

We reached out to SmarterMatch to speak with Mikey but we were informed that he and his crew are unavailable for interviews as they are beta-testing the project in Albuquerque.

We asked the Ministry’s Public Affairs Division for comments but the spokesperson in a passive aggressive tone said she would only speak to us if she could set her telephone system to stun.  As of this writing, we understand that she is still searching for the stun button.

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