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.
Since 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 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.