VA Acquisition Academy

VA Acquisition Academy

 

Department of Veteran Affairs Acquisition Academy

Next Generation Enterprise Knowledge Management Framework

Challenge

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Acquisition and Logistics, Acquisition Academy (VAAA), commissioned the design, development, and delivery of a comprehensive and sustainable Next Generation Knowledge Management (KM) Framework.

The VAAA required a KM Framework to enable them to help the Department of Veteran Affairs address the growing workforce acquisition training and competency challenges faced by the Department. With increasing losses in both institutional and operational knowledge, the VA acquisition workforce is and would be continually challenged to keep pace with and to stay ahead of the increasing complexities of the government acquisition business. The VAAA must be able to produce acquisition professionals who are competent business partners and advisors at a rate “faster than the speed of change.” In addition, the VAAA must complete this mission in an environment of evolving certification standards for the federal acquisition workforce that require not only new ways of thinking about this challenge, but also new strategies to ensure the acquisition workforce now and in the future, can meet the continually evolving complexities and challenges of federal acquisition.

The VAAA recognized that it was critical to implement a knowledge management framework across its enterprise that will enable it now and into the future to acquire, maintain, and reuse its knowledge to provide not only the agility necessary to successfully adapt to change, but also the ability to evolve support to the VA acquisition workforce as new requirements present themselves.

Solution

This multi-year program (2011-2015) included two phases:

Phase I (Analyze, Assess, Recommend)

The Working KnowledgeCSP team conducted a comprehensive Knowledge Management (KM) Assessment and Analysis of the VAAA, its workforce, strategies, and operations, and delivered a detailed Enterprise Knowledge Management Strategy and Implementation Roadmap in Dec 2011.

Phase II (Design, Develop, Implement)

Working KnowledgeCSP and its multi-contractor team began the design, development, and implementation of Phase II of the VAAA Enterprise KM Framework in July 2012. The VAAA exercised two option years and we completed work in 2015. Tasks included:

  1. Identify and categorize VAAA critical and relevant knowledge both from the operating staff and schoolhouse perspectives.
  2. Map critical cross organizational business and operational processes to create consistent operational baselines across the schools that comprise the Academy.
  3. Develop a knowledge taxonomy, including Governance model, enabling an improved ability to categorize (tag) the knowledge created, captured and retained in ongoing operations so it is easily findable, accessible, and reusable.
  4. Improve VAAA’s ability to “flow” knowledge and collaborate across the VAAA schoolhouse boundaries through improved use of KM enabling technologies and sustainable communities of practice.
  5. Deliver basic awareness training in KM concepts and skills including an asynchronous online training program accessible 24/7.
  6. Design and develop an integrated learning and performance measurement and reporting capability.
  7. Through carefully selected KM pilot projects demonstrate the value of KM in the VAAA as part of day-to-day business operations and workflow.

The flow of knowledge, its capture and reuse to continually improve VAAA performance, is reflected in the deployment concept that is shown below:

Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPAR)

For three consecutive years, the Base Year and Option Years 1 and 2, the VA awarded the Working KnowledgeCSP team “Excellent” ratings for Cost, Schedule, and Technical performance.

Result

The VAAA possesses the capability to improve the “use and flow” of its critical and relevant knowledge on a sustainable basis across the multiple schoolhouses that comprise the Academy.