Training Opportunities - Big "A" Training - Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)
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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)

 

Training Opportunities - Big "A" Training

December 11, 2015

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Federal Acquisition Institute LogoFrom Page 7 of the Issue 8 Winter 2015 External link to a government website
FAI Quarterly Newsletter

Recognizing that it takes an entire team to make the acquisition system work better, the VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA) recently expanded its curriculum offerings through its Performance Excellence (PE) program to provide opportunities for contracting, program, legal, finance, industry, and others to learn together and tackle some of agencies’ most critical mission challenges.  PE also provides organizational improvement interventions that support acquisition-related culture change initiatives and strategies for how organizations can leverage data for better and more informed decision making.  One of the newest PE offerings is the “Using Market Intelligence for Acquisition Decision Making” course, which recently received the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) Excellence in Government–Industry Engagement Award.

The Market Intelligence course is a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to training that combines contracting, program management, and other perspectives with the entire acquisition team and industry.  It is designed to improve industry and government communications, establish partnerships with industry, and gain an understanding of market forces, trends, and direction for a specific market segment.

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“Market Intelligence is a best practice used in the private sector,” said VAAA Program Management School Vice-Chancellor Paul Gregory.  “Companies are constantly trying to understand their market and the goods and services delivered in that market, as well as what goods and services are required by their customers and how to better serve their needs.  Government can learn from and partner with the private sector to better understand their own strategic direction and requirements and determine best practices and innovative solutions,” he said.

Newly appointed FAI Director Melissa Starinsky commented that, “market intelligence can significantly shorten the requirements definition phase of the entire acquisition lifecycle, and when paired with true performance based methodologies, it can be a powerful way to deliver better and faster mission outcomes at lower cost and higher quality.”

“I am really excited about this opportunity,” said VAAA Performance Excellence Director Deborah Gadsden.  “Market intelligence will allow us to better partner with industry and provides an opportunity to dispel myths about how we can and should engage with industry partners.  It provides an opportunity to improve our acquisition planning and decision making.”

The course utilizes anonymous voting buttons that encourage participant feedback in a safe setting.  Specifically, participants are encouraged to:

  • Recognize how government and industry perspectives impact market intelligence;
  • Explore how government and industry engagement enhances market intelligence; and
  • Increase government and industry collaboration to support good acquisition decision making.

The goal is to shift the paradigm of government/industry acquisition engagement from isolated procurement of products and services to a deeper focus on customer needs and an understanding of the current and emerging capabilities in the marketplace that can deliver on those needs.  This new way of thinking has the potential to create impacts well beyond the particular portfolio of any one participant.

Additional PE offerings include courses in Critical Thinking and Lean Six Sigma.  The Critical Thinking course is an interactive, outcome-focused facilitated course that blends individual development with rational and creative critical thinking processes to create a comprehensive approach to problem solving, decision making, and planning.  The Academy offers two critical thinking courses: Critical Thinking for the Acquisition Individual (FPM 253) and Critical Thinking for Acquisition Leaders (FPM 254).

It supports the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) roadmap for achieving more efficient and effective processes and services.  Learning is reinforced through dynamic exercises and methods taught to expand the problem-solving ability of the participants to support larger projects in the organization.  The Academy offers two Lean Six Sigma courses:  Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt (FPM 170) and Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt (FPM 270).

The VA Acquisition Academy also offers training for Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C), Program/Project Management (FAC-P/PM), and Contracting Officer’s Representatives (FAC-COR), as well as training for facilities managers, supply chain managers, and logisticians.  For more information, visit www.acquisitionacademy.va.gov.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Acquisition and Logistics, VA Acquisition Academy


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