Giving Veterans the VIP treatment through IT development


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VA is undergoing a radical transformation to improve our relationship with our Veterans – and improving the way we deliver technology is a critical enabler to the success of our transformation. Under the management of our new Enterprise Program Management Office, VA is now rolling out a new framework for delivering IT programs and projects called the Veteran-focused Integration Process, or VIP.

We will improve the Veteran experience with VA, and we can do this by becoming truly agile in our IT delivery efforts. VA has already made significant strides toward implementing agile methodology in software development and project management, and the Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) is further institutionalizing these capabilities as part of our enterprise transformation. The VIP framework, launched on January 1, 2016, advances VA’s agile transformation by putting the needs of the Veteran above everything – including the needs of the agency and the personal preferences of leadership. VIP streamlines IT product release activities and increases the speed of delivering high-quality, secure capabilities to Veterans. The clearest representation of this is the reduction in artifacts from 58 (in the previous accountability methodology) to seven.

 Veteran-focused Integration ProcessSince its launch, VIP has already helped to improve internal support services. The new integrated release process results in the improved efficiency of OI&T operations, while reducing oversight and enabling a flexible project management process. VIP is revolutionary because it utilizes a single release process designed to eliminate redundancy in review, approval, and communications. These releases are scheduled on a three-month cadence—an improvement over the previous six-month standard—and allow greatly needed IT services to be delivered to Veterans more frequently. In addition, each release is mapped into an integrated change calendar, giving VA a focused view of our planned technological activities for the next 18 months and helping to anticipate potential dependencies before they impact operations.

VIP replaces the Project Management Accountability System (PMAS) for enterprise IT management of products and services and takes a generational leap forward in its commitment to serve our nation’s Veterans. The new framework incorporates many of the key aspects of project management already in place at VA, including maintaining current reporting requirements, enforcing compliance, gathering lessons learned, performing deep dive analysis on any missed commitments, and offering risk management.

The near-term goal for VIP is targeting 50 percent on-time and on-budget delivery, higher than the industry standard of 45 percent. The VIP on-time measurement is based on delivering a complete, final product. This near-term goal will be in place while all 218 projects transition to VIP from PMAS. A complete transition is expected by the start of FY17, at which point the on-time delivery goal will be reassessed.

With VIP, OI&T is optimizing business processes, enabling growth, and improving relationships with customers. It is one of many new OI&T initiatives that demonstrate VA’s commitment to meeting the MyVA goal of providing Veterans with access to their information when and where they need it most.


LaVerne CouncilLaVerne H. Council joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in July 2015 as the Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and Chief Information Officer. In this role, Ms. Council oversees the day-to-day activities of VA’s $4 billion IT budget and over 8,000 IT employees to ensure that VA has the IT tools and services needed to support our nation’s Veterans.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

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Comments

  1. DannyG    

    Okay; I can see how this will be beneficial in a few years – good job. I am an American Veteran – PLEASE stop calling me a customer! (i’m not gonna stop saying it!) IT & coming into the 21st century is important, BUT $4 billion?? & 8,000 IT employees?? My brothers & sisters are sick & dying, & some of them have already been buried, & part of the reason WE, the vets keep hearing is, “Underpaid, & Understaffed”. Someone please make up this pawn’s mind!

  2. Gale Winters    

    Are you kidding? All you are doing is further removing human contact with the VA. Your systems do not work, your phones either are on endless hold or transfer to a non-existing number. Get a clue; we are not objects, we are people.

  3. Edmund Dorf    

    After 34 years of fighting with VA, they finally (last month) started paying me disability. Now get this, they are paying it to me at the unmarried rate even though VA records show that I am married and lists the name of my spouse. So I sent VA a message. Their response? “We’ve assigned an investigator to your ‘claim’ (the claim that I am married) and you should receive a response in about k14 month.”

    I can’t for the life of me understand why VA is so calcified by their own bureaucracy that they are incapable of doing anything useful whatsoever.

  4. John M Cianteo    

    Working with our VA on/off since spring 1970. Indy VA wouldnt believe my Vietnam service as a member of USS CARRRONADE LFR-(IFS)-1, Mar 68 to Dec 69. I was told USN ships with USS are haze gray underway blue water Navy. I provided all the info I had. Carronade flag for a small group of like ships, armed with Rockets, 5″cannon. (2) twin 40mm guns with an array of small arms. All that fire power we didn’t just make tours all over Vietnam’s rivers, deltas, and coastal water ways. Mission, provide our thousands of rockets our other fire where needed. We served as part of MOBIL RIVERINE INSHORE FIRE SUPPORT, DIV 93
    Always one or two of us in country, break downs common with WWII and Korea type ships. VA Indy, accused me of lying, trying to defraud the VA, never in written word. I found recorded for all to see Federal Register under USS CARRRONADE entry’s two USMC/US NAVY CAR RIBBONS ( combat action ribbon) VA wanted boots on the ground. I offered two officers and three enlisted aboard during these events. Digging deep, I found all the Carronade deck logs. If you know, deck logs are Gospel for exact time lines of events. I can produce our day, month, year with navigational location via longitude/latitude, still Indy VA fought my USN Vietnam record.
    Jan 2010, hundreds of us USN BROWN WATER NAVY. DOD/VA published a list of ships exposed to (AO) agent orange it same type of herbicide we had been exposed. Again many ships, someone found date and time location of ship an AO spray scheduled flights. Our group different we traveled constantly, from I-CORP to 4-CORP and around Vietnams small west coast stretch to the Cambodia/Vietnam boarder via the Sea of Sami, site to see, beautiful. Now it big money for our free ride and fire works show we came with. I could only tell VA when asked our location in country. Cam Rahn Bay our Vietnam homebody. Load rockets, tie pier side for fuel, water, chow and a break at the Sea Breeze bar over looking a blue harbor and the South China Sea. Always our USN Ships moored pier side, USS CROCKET, ASHVILLE, GALLOPE, an array of SWIFT BOATS, IUW, and PBR couple of times. All of us Brownwater Navy. I was galley go getter aka Navy Lexicon “Jack of the Dust”. My only purpose, find, procure, fetch and store dry, chilled and frozen food for 150 (+-) crew with Couple of So Vietnam Navy aboard. My feet on the ground with my working party. Sign for Haze Gray pickup, drive through Army and past Korea ROK troops and USAF RED HORSE CAMPS. Stops for food request and sign for at USAF dining, US ARMY, then back to ship. Trading wheeling dealing our existence. USN had Lobster while US ARMY had T-Bone, again trading was a way to help all. I was trained, I trained my replacement etc….. While in service I received awards for being resourceful, out here it’s called “grand larceny”. According to our FEDERAL REGISTER I have many metals and ribbons. When the smoke clears, I will request these awards making up my USN Display for my “I love me wall”. I have some of the medical problems relating to AO exposure, I can’t get Indy VA to call it, AO related aka service connection. Again aboard CARRRONADE Nov 68 to Feb 69, USN SHIP YARD, pier side and dry dock 4. USN pulled CARRRONADE from mothballed to full service 1965. Asbestos covered (lagging) piping was cracked and split. After and during heavy seas, firing our weapons twisted, rattled our ships frame and damaged lagging. Below it was snowing white stuff constantly. Every day was patched lagging on top of other patches, never ending story. USN Yokuska, Japan ship yard, asbestos rip out, ankle deep asbestos on deck constantly. Replacement was almost as bad, so much dust, debris ever where. We stayed aboard during all of this mess, no vente, it was winter in Japan, snow ice all elements of a cold winter. No heat aboard, removed what was, ships don’t need heat in the tropical areas, duh. Froze our asses, officers camp at the base BOQ (single or traveling officers hotel) grrrrrrrt
    Someone wrote home about our current conditions, Said people contacted a family friend US SENTOR who ever, within days, a hammer from CNO only task, get the crew into WWII Japan Navy barracks. Went from no heat to very little heat. Remember OHSA didn’t exist until mid to later 1970s. CT scan display asbestos related fibers pushed through my lungs, forming a calsafacation again both lungs. I be been on off home oxygen devices. Indy VA pulmonary doctor tells me not to worry, I am fine. For hundreds of reasons I am not feeling or accepting a VA doctors SWAG
    Scientific Wild Ass Guess) about my lungs. I be found my answer written by a office staffers, I am not sick enough for additional service connection. Same office staffers earlier called it, they referred my chest pains as acid reflux, not any heart relationship. Not long after I am having angioplasty twice. Kind of blows that office SWAG. It’s April 1986, just booted from USN, medical and Navy only offered me a kick to the curb job and fives years of hell on earth US NAVAL SHIPYARD, NORFOLK, VA. Nothing job related, no advancement just rot until I reached retirement date. Not me. Started college, worked Civil Service, USAFR GRISSOM. IN. I had issues under stress couple of years after Vietnam. I was coming apart at the seams. Late 1980s I was in/out VA Med Center, out patient. Other USN related Med issues. I asked VA for a shrink appointment, 4-6 months out, even then if moon phase was just right 31 Feb. I made local appointment, turned in Q&A paperwork, the doctor (shrink) called me, some appointments, he wanted me medicated, in his office weekly, called my condition job related stress, years of my not coping with past events and new events are conpounding my issues. I was medically booted again USAF RESERVES Fed Employee, all my mental slow down, current medical issues, so much pain. Mid 2000s dreams started (still here) mentally almost disfictional, I gave my family a rough ride all those years, my perfect attitude about what our kids did and my problems at work, worked two jobs. Full time IT guy, taught CAD night classes local community college. All that stopped quick to anger, nothing good enough no sleep, no piece at home. Wife daughter and grand kids moved to US ARMY BLACKHAWK FLIGHT SCHOOL, 18 months on/off. I was really splitting at my seams. VA finally admitted PTSD is a treatable medical condition, tested VA helped since. All those years and tears our family endured because I wasn’t right in the head. During my B&C meeting, I was told my PTSD started mid 2010, I didn’t say a peep. That remark is still burning a hole in my head. VA expects us to be worthy of their time and effort, being the model patients. It’s that double edge sword again, shouldn’t our VA treat us with the same respect they demand from us. Not rocket science, fair is my goal. My family and I treated off base for all our issues. Mostly my reactions to job related stressed out.
    I ve been more than patient with who ever is running the game show service connection rating. I ve had to deal with my PTSD through family medicine. I am still being treated like a lying SOB some where deep within the VA office staff. Is there a PD for that position?
    Thanks

    1. EDWARD FIELD SMITH    

      I FEEL YOUR PAIN, IN MAR/68 I DEVELOPED SHIN SPLINTS, WAS GIVEN 3 DAYS BED REST, SENT DIRECTLY BACK TO DUTY, I MISSED OUT ON MAJOR TRAINING, EXAMPLE, NEVER SAW OR TOUCHED A HANDGRENADE, A 60 MM MACHINE ARTILERY GUN, AND ANY OTHER COMBAT EQUIPT. I SHOULD OF HAD TRAINING FOR? WHEN DISCHARGED I PUT IN FOR SHIN SPLINTS, WAS TOLD THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS SHIN SPLINTS, EVERYTHING IS IN MY SERVICE MEDICAL RECORDS, STILL DENIED, WAS TREATED 3 MONTHS AFTER DISCHARGE FOR SHIN SPLINTS, THEN ABOUT SIX MONTHS LATER, NOTHING WAS EVERY DONE, TO MAKE A LONG LONG STORY SHORT, I WAS JUST AWARDED 0% DISABILITY FOR SHIN SPLINTS AROUND 2014 GOING BACK TO 2009, AFTER THE BOARD OF APPEALS IN WASHINGTON, THE JUDGE DISPUTED THE VA’S CLAIM AND THE VA WAS TOLD MY SHIN SPLINTS STARTED IN THE SERVICE (1968), OVER 42 YRS FIGHTING FOR SHIN SPLINTS, I GET 0 % ACKNOWLEGEMENT, MY SHIN SPLINTS STILL BOTHER ME, NO TREATMENT, I DEVELOPED NUEROPATHY, WITH NO EXPANATION,( I DO NOT HAVE SUGAR DIABETES) CERVICAL STENOSIS, BONE SPURS, ALL WITH NO EXPLANTION! AFTER I TURNED 59 YRS OLD ALL OF THE ABOVE STARTED DEVELOPING, I’M 67 YRS OLD NOW AND STILL WAITING FOR A RATING ON MY SHIN SPLINTS? VA SERVICE FOR ANYTHING HAS TO GO THRU YOUR PRIMARY, IN BOSTON THE ER COULD SET U UP WITH A APPT. FOR WHAT IS AILING U. BOSTON VA ALSO HAS AN AFTER HOUR CLINIC THAT ENDS AT 5:30 PM, THEN U HAVE TO GO TO THE ER FOR TREATMENT? BOSTON VA TOLD ME THAT I HAVE PTSD, NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE ABOUT IT, AND BECAUSE I AM DISABLED WITH GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER WHICH IS PROGRESSIVE WITH NO CURE, I AM DENIED TO PUT IN FOR PTSD EVEN AFTER I WAS DIAGNOISED WITH PTSD? I REALLY FEEL YOUR PAIN AND ALL OTHER SERVICEMEN WHO FOUGHT FOR THERE COUNTRY AND HAVE TO FIGHT FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT? enough said

  5. John M Cianteo    

    HAS OUR GOVERNMENT BECOME A COMPOUND COLLECTION OF LIES ON TOP OF EVEN MORE LIES.
    MY FED EMPLOYEEMENT COMBINED WITH ACTIVE DUTY, 10 YEARS OF DOD EMPLOYEE, AND 19 YEARS
    OF BEING STORED UNDER OWCP, STILL RESEARCHING THIS ADDITIONAL TIME. IVE READ IN A OWCP BOOKLET MY TIME WITHIN OWCP CONTINUES TO ADD UP FOR
    YEARS OF SERVICE.?
    YOU KNOW I AM DIGGING INTO THIS BENEFIT NO ONE
    SPEAKS ABOUT. SAD WE DON T HAVE A GOV THAT WORKS WITH RATHER THAN AGAINST US. TREAT US WORSE THAN THE DOC TREATS THEIR INMATES.
    FED INMATES HAVE MORE RIGHTS THAN OLE JOE THE PLUMBER

  6. GW Lawson    

    My problems aren’t so bad after reading others comments. In June 2013, I started to crash and burn, with suicide the very next thing on my list. I walked into the Santa Rosa VA, Calif in Sept of 2013. I was lucky. I recieved the help I needed, including spending two weeks “On Vacation” at the San Francisco VA Psychiatric Unit. I am still struggling to keep from killing someone or myself. BUT, I am continuing to get better with constant weekly Psychiatric help. My complaint is is a pay problem I can’t get a straight answer for. Seems minor compared to everyone else’s problem. The VA does do alot correctly. I am an example. But I sure wish I could help the ones having problems. My heart goes out to my Fellow Vets.

    EOC (SCW) GW Lawson USN Ret

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