Michael Hardy, Federal Times 2:11 p.m. EDT March 18, 2016

The Veterans Affairs Department is counting on an agile development framework to aid in needed IT improvements, according to CIO LaVerne Council.

The framework is called the Veteran-focused Integration Process, or VIP, and Council cited it as one of the significant measures VA is implementing to improve its Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act grade, a C in November 2015.

Information security has been a longstanding problem at VA, she admitted, but now the department is working to address that. “We had to put a core process in place, we had to talk about the accountability, we wanted to make sure we were fully resourced and also that we were fully funded,” Council, who has been VA CIO for less than a year, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s IT Subcommittee on Feb. 16.

VA launched a pilot VIP program in January. The program is intended to allow VA to respond quickly to the needs of veterans, Council wrote in a February blog post. “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,” she wrote.

“VIP establishes a single release process with a predictable cadence that all VA organizations will follow by the end of 2016,” Council said in her subcommittee testimony.

VIP will replace the Project Management Accountability System for enterprise IT management of products and services, Council wrote, calling it a “generational leap forward.”

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