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Staging review

Did we recommend a Staging Review in the Collaboration Cycle Request ticket? If so, follow the below guidelines to get started.


Governance Team


Request this touchpoint when you believe your product is production-ready, before you begin launch, allowing enough time to implement any findings. This will vary depending on the size of your product.

Staging Reviews require a 4 day lead time


  1. All test scenarios must be able to be completed by the Governance team.

  2. All possible user paths must be included for testing.

  3. Any test users identified for the product must be available, valid and/or functioning as specified. We will make no exceptions for third-party dependencies.

  4. All known bugs that could cause false errors have been addressed.

We encourage VFS teams to schedule a Staging Review once they believe all requirements have been met. However, the Governance team has the right to postpone your Staging Review if any requirements still haven’t been met while we’re testing your product in the 4-day window before the Staging Review.


Synchronous 30-minute meeting


To ensure your product is meeting Experience Standards and Platform QA Standards.

Moderator script

Each Staging Review meeting begins with the Governance team moderator reading the moderator script.

This script ensures that everyone participating in the meeting and everyone watching the recording after the meeting understands why the meeting takes place, how it will proceed, and how teams should expect to receive findings from Platform.

Welcome to the Staging Review for _______ team for ______ initiative.

The purpose of the Staging Review is for the Platform Collaboration Cycle team to review your product to ensure your product meets design, IA, content, QA, and accessibility Platform Standards. This is your last opportunity to ensure your product is accessible, compliant and consistent with standards before releasing to Veterans and/or users.

Findings for QA will be in alignment with the Platform QA Standards. You will receive 1 ticket with all QA findings, evaluating whether each standard has been met. A written explanation will be provided for any standards not met. Standards not met may be classified as launch-blocking or as warnings.

Findings for Accessibility, IA, Design and Content will be in alignment with the Experience Standards. Findings for these practice areas will be issue based, meaning you’ll receive 1 ticket for each issue found. If the issue concerns multiple practice areas, all applicable practice areas will provide findings on the ticket. If the issue is critical, it will have the launch-blocking label and must be addressed prior to launch.

Please do not close out any of these issue tickets until the findings have been resolved as we use these tickets to assess the overall “experience health” of Lastly, after you launch you are required to submit a VA 508 Office Audit Request, whether accessibility issues were found during the Staging Review or not. Instructions for submitting an Audit Request are on Platform Website.


VFS Product Manager completes the Before Meeting/VFS Actions in the Staging Review section of their Collaboration Cycle Request ticket. All Collaboration Cycle Requests can be viewed on Collaboration Cycle Reviews ZenHub board.


VFS participants (required):

  • Product manager

  • OCTO-DE Product lead

  • Anyone else from your team who significantly contributed to the artifacts

The participants above will not be invited to the meeting by Platform. You are responsible for ensuring everyone required to be in attendance is invited. We encourage you to invite other members of your team as well, including:

  • Content, IA, accessibility, and QA specialists

  • Other VA stakeholders

Platform participants:

  • Design

  • Accessibility

  • Content

  • IA

  • QA

  • Product

  • OCTO-DE practice area leads


Note: All artifacts listed above must be provided at least 4 days before scheduled meeting/review. Please also ensure Collaboration Cycle reviewers have appropriate access to secured applications

Provide links or documents for the following:

Product artifacts

  • Staging URL and staging test user information

    • Double-check that you've provided staging access information appropriate for testing the tool or feature. Don't put staging credentials in your ticket; store test user information, passwords, and tasks in a .md file in the repository

    • Please also refer to: Staging Environment Guidance for specific details and comprehensive guidance

Content artifacts

  • GitHub ticket for any relevant static content page and entry point updates for tool or feature (if applicable)

IA artifacts

  • Please include a link to any Sitewide Content & IA findings you received, including an IA review document or intake form.

**QA artifacts

An artifact that corresponds to each standard in the QA Standards.

**A VFS team that launches a static page through the Collaboration Cycle will not be held responsible for upholding the QA Standards. Static pages do not have dynamic content that requires extensive testing.

Accessibility artifacts


Platform reviewers will document their findings in GitHub tickets linked to the Collaboration Cycle Request ticket. Please review Anatomy of a Staging Review Issue ticket for guidance on how to read/interpret a Staging review issue ticket, including GitHub labels, Category/Issue/Unique IDs and heading definitions.

Accessibility, design, content, and IA findings will be documented in issue-focused tickets, based on the experience standards. Critical issues will have the launch-blocking label and must be addressed prior to launch.

Any Accessibility issues that are not addressed prior to launch must be communicated to the VA 508 Office via Audit Request. This is the responsibility of the VFS team.

QA findings will be reported in one ticket that documents whether each QA Standard has been met.

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