Driving Enterprise Agility for the VA

  • Case Study
  • Agile Transformation
  • Veteran & Enterprise Technology

Background

The VA Office of Information & Technology (OIT) oversees the provision of IT products and support to both internal (VA employees) and external (veterans and care providers) VA users. They offer high-quality, responsive, and resilient systems that deliver uninterrupted functionality to provide benefits and services to our veterans in a practical, timely, and compassionate manner.

To increase its speed and reliability, and provide a higher quality of services and products for customers, OIT instituted a broad enterprise agile transformation.

Understanding the Need

As OIT oversees an estimated 700 products, this was a complex and highly visible task. OIT needed to address a myriad of issues, including:

  • The siloed nature of OIT organizations.
  • Absence of standardized agile processes and practices.
  • Inconsistent levels of agile knowledge and capabilities.
  • Varied technological capabilities and priorities across OIT offices.

VA OIT implemented the Agile Transformation Project (ATP) to ease VA OIT’s transition from traditional waterfall to a fully-realized agile organization.

300+
VA projects and programs coached and mentored.
100+
Agile courses delivered to 2000+ students.
90%
Pass rate for students taking certification exams.

Our Solution

GovCIO provided a range of professional services, including strategic planning, business process reengineering, coaching, mentoring, and training. Our objectives entailed creating and continually improving standardized agile-based processes and governance for all VA OIT programs and projects, as well as providing on-demand access to agile subject matter experts and advisory services. To drive enterprise-wide success, GovCIO approaches our agile advisory and implementation services for VA OIT from two perspectives:

Top-Down Strategic Implementation:

Bottom-Up Organizational and Culture Change Effort:

Hear from Our Experts

Saajan Panikar, SAFe Transformation Coach

The Results

Our efforts significantly improved both the individual VA teams and programs we mentored and the VA OIT enterprise. In collaboration with OIT, GovCIO:

  • Created a flexible Lean-Agile enterprise IT governance and management process, replacing VA’s waterfall-based project management system to increase agility, while allowing teams to customize their approach.
  • Used coaching and mentoring to increase project teams’ transparency and accountability levels, establish consistent use of development and release practices, and improve internal and external communications.
  • Implemented Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) practices across the VA enterprise, developing a plan for transformation efforts and implementing desired outcomes/OKRs for organizational maturity.
  • Established VA’s Agile Center of Excellence (ACOE), a resource for agile best practices, processes, and communication methodologies for internal and organization-wide program use.
  • Guided VA’s transition towards Product Line Management (PLM), leading the major restructuring of all OIT products and providing training and education around PLM’s concept, associated roles, and responsibilities.

Ultimately, the ATP effort helped OIT reduce delivery time for, and increase the quality of, OIT products to end-users and, ultimately, the veteran.