Sean Kelley, former deputy chief information officer for benefits at the Veterans Affairs Department and executive vice president at Unissant, and Greg Giddens, former VA chief acquisition officer and partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting, detail how a specialized team could plan to implement GI benefits software, and the technical challenges they will have to overcome.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie will select a special team to plan the implementation of new GI bill software. This “tiger team” will have 90 days to construct and propose the plan, and will be disbanded once they have completed the roadmap. Sean Kelley, former deputy chief information officer for benefits at VA and executive vice president at Unissant, says that time will tell whether the team will succeed. “It is a slippery slope. If it is truly a team similar to the team we had at VA, where we meet with the deputy secretary every week and we can make real decisions in those tiger team meetings, then there’s a value,” Kelley said. “If it becomes just another reason to beat the employees, or another oversight, or something else they have to prepare a PowerPoint for, then it’s not going to have much value.” Greg Giddens, former VA chief acquisition officer and partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting, says that drilling down to the root causes will be difficult for the tiger team. “I think the most difficult part is really doing the hard, as‑is, to be announced analysis and some cause and effect, so you really know what’s the right activities that will get you to the end state. If you just come up with a plan and execute it, great, but you don’t wind up at the correct destination. That’s not going to serve veterans or taxpayers very well. The hard part is delivering that plan and then going up and briefing them so Congress knows and has confidence that this plan will work.”