These principles guide us in creating appropriate policies, process, and procedures for teams working on the Veteran-facing Services Platform. They are touchstones to be revisited when we need to make decisions about policy, process, or procedure.

Service design, not bureaucracy

  • We're here to improve Veteran-facing services and the way the VA builds them, not create better bureaucracy.

  • For process improvements, we start by researching and documenting the problem and user stories. Then, we use our journey map to discuss and prioritize potential solutions.

Work in the open

  • We work in the open so all teams can learn from us. All teams work in the open so they can learn from each other.

  • For anything new, we default to open repos. If that's not possible, we document why.

Assume competence and best intentions

  • The people we work with—from any team—are our peers. We treat them as such.

Trust, but verify

  • We ensure the quality of Veteran-facing Services. But we do not operate as helicopter parents for teams building VFS.

  • We create the lightest weight process possible. Our goal is forward movement, not process.

More trust can be earned

  • We extend more trust as teams demonstrate that they can maintain our quality standards.

Carrots, not sticks

  • We empower all teams building VFS. We do not block teams’ forward progress with our bureaucracy or our own internal process. We design our processes so that the best option for teams is also the easiest option.

Don’t make perfect the enemy of the good

  • We make space for all teams to create their own solutions. We evaluate these solutions for consistency, not whether or not we’d have created the same solution.

Radiate intent

  • Previously ask for forgiveness, not permission

  • We empower all teams building VFS to make their own decisions, as long as they align with our quality standards.

  • Platform crew teams are empowered to proactively devise and communicate intended decisions that align with the Platform strategy and goals.

Be kind to each other

  • This work is too hard to not be nice to each other.