As a child, playing “telephone” could lead to hilarious misunderstandings. There were some positive lessons to be learned from playing this childhood game such as crafting a strong message, relaying your message to a group, using your voice to speak clearly, being a good listener and working as a team. Yet, these subconscious learning outcomes were not the reason most would play the game and in fact, it was rather disappointing when the message remained unaltered by the time it got to the last person in the chain. It was much more entertaining when the message mutated into some distorted version of the original phrase. However, the same enjoyment cannot be found in the workplace. Clear and continuous communication is often a business pain point for Government and contractors alike. Distorted messages and misunderstandings can cost time, energy, money and, on the odd occasion, hurt feelings.
One of the questions I often see directed towards small businesses on new solicitations is: “How do you intend to staff for this project?”
Answer: We staff exactly the same way that the big guys do it.
I find it odd that small businesses must answer this type of inquiry because nothing separates many of us from big businesses other than perception. We are capable of the same innovation, and use the same processes and industry standards that make some big businesses effective. I say "some" big businesses as all of us have seen the seed sown on shallow ground kind of large business, whose processes and leadership did not grow as fast as the business did.
However, here at Ellumen, we ARE more flexible and in some ways, we offer advantages that some bigger entities cannot.
We frown on the practice of preassigning characteristics to people without full understanding of the complete picture. It’s equally as harmful to stereotype companies.
Assuming all small businesses can't achieve the same results as some big businesses hurts the consumer just as much as it hurts small businesses because it leaves them blind to the benefits that mature small companies can offer.
The infographic below represents a few examples of how Ellumen, as a small business, gets results.
As President Trump moves to fulfill his campaign promises, including Department of Veterans Affairs reforms, Secretary Shulkin and VA’s senior leadership are continuing VA’s business transformation efforts aimed at maximizing efficiency, embracing innovation and, most importantly, providing our nation’s heroes with the superior quality healthcare and services they have earned. Secretary Shulkin has clarified a recent series of executive orders by reiterating there are no plans to privatize VA, but the department will move forward with a hybrid approach combining the best of VA’s capabilities with the best of the private sector. According to the Secretary, the VA will achieve this transformation by implementing “an integrated system of care” in which expertise and systems developed over years by the VA will be amalgamated with industry-leading services from the private sector.
In 2015 when Ellumen began pursuing CMMI Level 3 Development, Agile methods had already been infused across several government contracts and refined through the leadership of Ellumen Vice President for Technology, Dan Wayland. During Ellumen’s CMMI appraisal, we found incorporating our Agile Scrum processes to CMMI for development was not a simple one-to-one mapping. An in-depth understanding of Agile processes and the CMMI model was required as our appraisal team compiled hundreds of Agile development artifacts and spent several months performing the necessary mappings against our pre-established processes.
In 2015 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was facing a problem. As the VA OI&T organization was charging forward to align with target architectural goals and prepare for the next phase of clinical data sharing with the DoD and other partners the VHA clinicians were becoming concerned. Their clinical data sharing applications, used daily in the treatment of thousands of veterans, which provide access to longitudinal health data from the DoD were slated to be sunset, and a viable replacement was not yet available on the enterprise level. VHA clinical staff recognized that this issue was not just a mere inconvenience but had the potential to cause patient safety issues and negatively impact the overall quality of care provided to our nation's Veterans.