Platform Collaboration Cycle communication and updates. Please note that links in older posts may be invalid.

May 26, 2022

  • Collaboration Cycle Request ticket is replacing Collaboration Cycle Kickoff ticket, Design Intent ticket, Midpoint Review ticket, and Staging Review ticket in GitHub. VFS teams will now use 1 ticket in GitHub to track all Collaboration Cycle touchpoints managed by the Governance team. The name of this ticket is the Collaboration Cycle Request. Instead of having to open a new ticket to request a Design Intent, Midpoint Review and/or Staging Review after answering kickoff questions, VFS teams will be instructed to use the same ticket throughout their product/features journey through the Collaboration Cycle. To begin engaging with the Collaboration Cycle, the process still starts with the Collaboration Cycle Kickoff.

  • All VFS teams that submitted a Collaboration Cycle Kickoff ticket for their initiative prior to May 26, 2022 will still use the old ticket/process through the remainder of their Collaboration Cycle journey. In order to introduce this new process seamlessly, all VFS teams will be permitted to complete their Collaboration Cycle journey for any current initiatives using the old tickets. The guidance for Design Intent, Midpoint Review and Staging Review are updated to include request instructions for teams mid-initiative as of May 26, 2022, and any initiatives that began after May 26, 2022.

  • The Collaboration Cycle Reviews ZenHub board can be used to track your Collaboration Cycle journey. The Resources page has a link to the Collaboration Cycle Reviews ZenHub board, including definitions of the various pipelines and how the board is used. Governance team will use this board moving forward to track status and improve visibility of which products/features are engaging with Collaboration Cycle via the Collaboration Cycle Request tickets.

  • The Platform Collaboration Point Tracker is being semi-retired. While we will still be using the Platform Collaboration Point Tracker, available on the Resources page, to track the teams, products, and features that are brought through the Collaboration Cycle, the tracker will no longer hold dates/times of scheduled touchpoints and Zoom recordings. This information will now be stored in the Collaboration Cycle Request ticket.

April 28, 2022

  • Post-Launch Check-In has been retired. VFS teams no longer need to follow up on their Release Plan in the Collaboration Cycle through the Post-Launch Check-In. Governance team recognized that the information captured in this touchpoint was not critical information for Platform teams to know. VFS teams are still encouraged to follow up on their Release Plan with their OCTO-DE Product Owner. The Governance team is continuing to research post-launch needs within the Collaboration Cycle.

April 7, 2022

  • Research Plan Review touchpoint renamed to Research Review. The Collaboration Cycle touchpoint offers support beyond the research plan. The touchpoint’s new name, Research Review, better indicates that this support continues through research completion.

  • Research practice area added to Design Intent and Midpoint Review. To offer guidance earlier in the Collaboration Cycle, research as a practice area will now be represented in the Design Intent and the Midpoint Review touchpoints. VFS teams will not see any change in requested artifacts, however they can expect to receive earlier feedback and guidance on their planned veteran research.

  • Full Accessibility & 508 Office Audit has been retired. VFS teams are no longer expected to complete an additional touchpoint in the Collaboration Cycle, however VFS teams will still be required to communicate known accessibility issues not addressed prior to launch to the VA 508 Office via Audit Request. This guidance has been added to the Outcome section of the Staging Review touchpoint page as well as in the Staging Review request GitHub ticket.

March 16, 2022

  • Sitewide Content & IA Intake Request is now an official touchpoint in the Collaboration Cycle. In order to ensure that products are getting consistent content and IA guidance, the Sitewide Content & IA Intake Request will be a formally recommended touchpoint in the Collaboration Cycle. VFS teams will collaborate with the Sitewide Content and IA team on the content and IA strategy, receive support for the IA design, and also receive additional support detailed in the Sitewide Content & IA Intake Request touchpoint page.

January 21, 2022

  • Anatomy of a Staging Review issue ticket guidance now available. To better help VFS teams interpret issue tickets created by Collaboration Cycle reviewers at the Staging Review, the Governance team has written guidance to explain the various headings, labels and information included in a Staging Review issue ticket. Please refer to the Anatomy of a Staging Review issue ticket for additional details.

January 14, 2022

  • Product Support team name updated to Governance team. The Platform team responsible for managing the Collaboration Cycle has undergone a name change. The Product Support team has been renamed to the Governance team.

December 10, 2021

  • The Privacy, Security, Infrastructure Readiness Review template has been updated. The issue template now asks for more germane & concrete information with better guidance on how the review will be handled. These reviews will be asynchronous moving forward with all conversations done in the issue itself to provide an audit trail.

December 7, 2021

  • New Collaboration Cycle time slots added. To better accommodate VFS teams' development cycles and to allow for more flexible scheduling, the Platform Product Support team has added three half-hour time slots to the Scheduling Calendars in Calendly. Please view our Resources page for details.

    • In addition to Design Intent and Midpoint Reviews, these time slots are now available for Staging Reviews:

      • Tuesday at 11:30 am ET

      • Friday at 2:00 pm ET

    • Design Intent and Midpoint Reviews can be scheduled in this new timeslot:

      • Friday at 11:30 am ET

December 2, 2021

  • Collaboration Cycle Midpoint Review and Staging Review meetings will use the new scheduling tool, Calendly. VFS PMs will follow the directions in the Midpoint Review ticket and Staging Review ticket to find an available date/time. VFS PMs are now responsible for inviting their own team members. This will eliminate back and forth conversations with Product Support, and simplify the scheduling process.

November 30, 2021

October 20, 2021

  • Collaboration Cycle Design Intent meetings will pilot use of new scheduling tool, Calendly. VFS PMs will follow the directions in the Design Intent ticket to find an available date/time. VFS PMs are now responsible for inviting their own team members. This will eliminate back and forth conversations with Product Support, and simplify the scheduling process. Calendly will be piloted with Design Intent first, and will be rolled out to Midpoint Review and Staging Review at a later date.

September 21, 2021

  • Collaboration Cycle touchpoint guidance and GitHub templates have been updated. Artifact lists and guidance has been streamlined for improved readability. All GitHub templates referenced on Platform Website are up to date.

  • FAQ page has been released. There is a new page on Platform Website answering all of your frequently asked questions about the Collaboration Cycle.

  • Platform practice area table has been added. In order to communicate which Platform practice area reviewers are involved in which Collaboration Cycle touchpoints, an easy referenceable table has been added to the Touchpoints page.

August 26, 2021

  • Staging Review feedback tickets will now be issue-focused, not practice area-focused. To support the new Experience Standards launched last month, Collaboration Cycle reviewers will now create feedback tickets for each issue found during Staging Review. We’ll no longer create feedback tickets by practice area. (The exception to this is QA feedback.) VFS teams should close Staging Review tickets only after the issue has been resolved. OCTO plans to use these tickets to assess the overall experience and health of (in a soon-to-be-released Domo dashboard).

August 9, 2021

  • The IA request has transitioned out of the Collaboration Cycle. To receive support from VA's information architect, teams will now submit an IA request using the Sitewide Content & IA Intake Form.

July 29, 2021

  • Collaboration Cycle documentation and guidance is moving to Platform Website. If you’re reading this right now, then you’ve successfully navigated to the Collaboration Cycle space in Platform Website. Please be patient with us as we migrate our guidance from GitHub. All deprecated GitHub pages will include links to the new location on Platform Website.

  • Experience Standards are published. The Experience Standards are the set of criteria that the Platform Product Support team will use to assess VFS products for design, IA, content, and accessibility as teams bring their work through the Collaboration Cycle. The Experience Standards have been reviewed and approved by OCTO-DE practice area leads. Platform Product Support team is still piloting the implementation of the Experience Standards in the Collaboration Cycle Staging Review (more to be announced soon), however, they are available now for you to review.

  • WCAG 2.1 guidance will now be applied in Collaboration Cycle reviews. The Experience Standards have been written to include new WCAG 2.1 guidelines. The Accessibility Staging Review preparation doc has been updated to reflect the new changes. In addition, we’ve created a new WCAG 2.1 on Platform Website detailing the success criteria and foundational testing we’ll use for reviews.

  • Accessibility test case templates in TestRail have been created to help ensure your product meets accessibility requirements. The How to: Adding Accessibility Test Cases in TestRail guide can be referenced to make certain your test runs are set up correctly. Each TestRail test case can be mapped back to 1 or several of the Experience Standards.

June 28, 2021

  • Design Intent, Midpoint Review, and Staging Review templates updated. Templates have been updated to reflect that Staging Reviews can only be scheduled on Thursday during the 1:30pm and 2:00pm time slots. Design Intent and Midpoint Review templates have also been updated to reflect that these touchpoints can only be scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, or Friday.

June 27, 2021

  • Design Intent template and touchpoint and readme updated. Platform accessibility specialists will be temporarily removed from Design Intent’s. Platform accessibility specialists will no longer both support the same Collab Cycle Reviews. The table below has been added to the Contact us document.



BAH/Education Application

Authenticated Experience - VSA

Claims & Appeals - VSA

Caregivers - VSA

Contact Center

Content & Localization - VSA

Design System

Debt Resolution - VSA

eBenefits - VSA

Decision Tools - VSA

Facilities - VSA

Digital GI Bill (DGIB) Team

Sitewide Content - VSA

Healthcare Experience - VSA


Public Websites - VSA

Virtual Agent

Search & Discovery - VSA


June 7, 2021

  • Contact Center - Product Guide Best Practices has been updated. The Product Guide Best Practices (aka Self-Service Product Guide Template) has been updated to better equip Contact Centers to more swiftly help Veterans trying to complete tasks on For more information about this change, contact the Contact Center team via #vsp-contact-center-support on Slack.

May 3, 2021

  • Process changes for Design Intent touchpoint. The Platform team recognized that the meeting output was not consistent. Platform and OCTO-DE had different expectations of the meeting purpose/objective. The following changes have been put in place to address these inconsistencies:

    • Asynchronous reviews will no longer be supported. The Design Intent meeting is intended to be a collaboration between the VFS team, Platform, and OCTO-DE. Collaboration cannot take place if the meeting is asynchronous.

    • Platform reviewers will no longer be writing feedback tickets prior to the meeting. Platform reviewers will now be given the opportunity to hear reasoning behind the design decisions as well as OCTO-DE input prior to creating feedback tickets for VFS teams. This change will allow for improved efficiency with Platform reviewers and less re-writing and editing of tickets post-meeting. Instead...

    • Feedback tickets will be made available to VFS teams no later than EOD the next business day following the meeting.

    • Design Intent issue template has been updated. A couple additional questions have been added to the template to ask about engagement with OCTO-DE Design Lead and Sitewide Content team. This will help Platform understand the current state and status of the product.

    • Content feedback will no longer be provided. Since it is likely that Design Intent is too early for content feedback, and content guidance will be communicated by the Sitewide Content team, Platform will not be providing content feedback at Design Intent. Exceptions may be made if the product is an iteration or if Sitewide Content will not be supporting the product/team.

April 16, 2021

  • Collaboration Cycle Kickoff issue template has been updated Based off of findings during the first month of the new template in place, the following changes have been made:

    • Examples and/or additional information has been added to the template to help provide context around the question being asked.

    • The questions have been numbered so they're easier to identify (now that there is additional verbiage) and easier to reference.

    • The questions have been reordered to improve the flow.

    • The Analytics question will still be asked, however Domo support is on pause until June 2021.

    • The content and static content questions have been combined and modified for clarity.

February 19, 2021

  • Asynchronous Collaboration Cycle Kickoff will replace the Project Kickoff meeting. Instead of having a Project Kickoff meeting, we’ll ask VFS teams to review the guidance in Getting Started with the Collaboration Cycle. This guidance will walk VFS teams through a list of questions to determine what level of support, which practice areas, and which touchpoints are needed for their work. If a team doesn’t know the answer to a question, then it’s too early for them to engage with the Collaboration Cycle. Once teams begin building or iterating on their product, they should submit a Collaboration Cycle Kickoff ticket. This is an asynchronous step and should happen later than a Project Kickoff did.

  • Usability Testing Prep is now the Midpoint Review. This touchpoint hasn’t always aligned with usability testing, so we’re renaming it to better suit VFS needs.

  • Weekly Collaboration Cycle office hours. Starting on Wednesday, February 24, we’ll begin hosting weekly Collaboration Cycle office hours from 11:30-12:00 ET. Meeting Zoom information is listed in the VSP Collaboration Meetings Calendar.

  • More asynchronous reviews. VFS teams will now have the option to make Design Intent and Midpoint Review touchpoints asynchronous.

  • Github organization improvements. We’ve updated the Collaboration Cycle document so guidance is more findable and intuitive.

  • Issue template updates. We’ve updated the Collaboration Cycle issue templates to reflect artifact requirements and who’s responsible for which tasks. Major changes can be seen with the Privacy & Security Review and the new Collaboration Cycle Kickoff.

  • Requirements for Full Accessibility and 508 Office Audit. VFS teams will be required to fix all accessibility defects found at Staging Review before they can request a Full Accessibility and 508 Office Audit.

  • Updated communication protocols. VFS teams should no longer reach out to Platform Collaboration Cycle team members directly for support. This means VFS teams should not assign Platform Collaboration Cycle team members to their Github tickets. See the Contact us section in the VSP Collaboration Cycle README for how to request support from the Collaboration Cycle.