Insights from the VA Program Management Roundtable
Listen to the audio of this panel and see below for an article from VA about the session.
Reprinted with permission from VA
Two recently signed VA policies, the VA Acquisition Corps (VAAC) and the Acquisition Program Management Framework (APMF), were highlighted during a ceremony and roundtable discussion at the VA Central Office (VACO) on May 25. The VAAC policy establishes a professional corps of contracting officers and program managers qualified to lead VA’s most critical programs and procurements. The APMF provides overall guidance and structure for acquisition program management and enhances VA’s ability to deliver business capabilities within cost, schedule, and scope.
The event was hosted by Stella Fiotes, Acting Principal Executive Director of VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction. In her opening remarks, Ms. Fiotes stated that the VAAC and APMF affirm the dedication of the VA to establish industry best business practices to meet the needs of our Veterans. “These policies demonstrate our commitment in placing the most qualified talent in positions that can have the maximum effect on meeting those needs, while aligning to strategic goals set by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.”
Interim VA Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn, presented certificates to the 15 inaugural members of the VA Acquisition Corps, congratulating and challenging them to be leaders in acquisition as VA continues through a time of massive transformation. “In order to continue making great progress, we will need the executional discipline provided by the VAAC using the right tools, such as APMF, to scale and scope the work ahead.” Also in attendance was Greg Giddens, Principal Executive Director, VA’s Office of Modernization who underscored how APMF will provide both accountability and clear expectations as we move forward.
The ceremony included a Program Management Roundtable discussion. Two VA panelists, Rob Thomas II, Acting Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and Dr. Kate Andrews, Executive Director, VHA’s Office of Strategic Integration, were joined by panelists with broad experience in the Federal space, including Lesley Field, OMB; Dan Chenok, IBM; Alan Balutis, Cisco Systems; and Stan Soloway, Celero Strategies. Panel moderator, Mike Morgan, from the Program Management Institute, led the discussion covering topics various topics including strategic and tactical program management successes and needs; focusing on the importance and benefit of continued collaboration; and developing streamlined processes. Mr. Thomas shared the success of the Veteran-focused Integration Process (VIP), an agile project management industry standard framework, which successfully removed 85% of overhead, dramatically decreasing documentation requirements while improving efficiency. Today, VIP has resulted in faster, repeatable and responsive service to Veterans. Dr. Andrews shared her experience of using an overall systems approach to project management and the importance of having the right tools and business rules to manage major initiatives.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Fiotes encouraged the members of the VAAC to drive the program management culture at the VA, and emphasized how we all are looking forward to this great adventure!