FORT LEE, Va. –
Collaboration drives innovation within Defense Contract Management Agency’s challenging warfighter-support mission.
After an August 2022 Defense Acquisition University’s College of Contract Management briefing, DCMA Director Army Lt. Gen. David Bassett asked if CCM could develop content to provide students — including future Defense Department program managers — with a better understanding of DCMA’s role, available assets and engagement opportunities.
Michel Jimerson, CCM dean, directed his course development team to collaborate with DCMA’s Portfolio Management and Business Integration Directorate on a path forward.
PM&BI team members Gary Gonthier, supply management specialist; Carissa Fox, program manager; and Steven Trinh, senior acquisition analyst; met with Kristy Presson, CCM’s instructional systems designer, and the CCM team to determine course priorities and a projected timeline.
“A product of similar length, complexity, engagement and interactivity can take 12 months or more to complete when conducted in a linear process, where one action is completed and then the next begins,” said Presson. “In an expedited process, where a dedicated team is available, decisions are made definitively and expeditiously, and development is targeted to short chunks of content, rather than large swaths of content, such development can be reduced by 60-70 percent.”
After the initial meeting, PM&BI used CCM’s comprehensive Needs Analysis Requirement Checklist to capture the requirement, along with expected outcomes and business metrics impacted by the need, said Presson.
“This project was different in that the team was not creating learning so much as offering targeted information for DCMA’s customer base,” she said. “Beginning with the end in mind, DAU and DCMA worked together to determine the best course of action to develop learning and performance objectives to fulfill the requirement in the most expeditious and efficient way possible. The DCMA and CCM team collaborated on visual, user experience, delivery platform and other factors.”
After the initial push, the team briefly paused development to focus on other DCMA mission priorities. CCM and DCMA personnel reengaged in October. Formal asset development launched Oct. 13, with the first product-review delivery set for Nov. 21. DCMA provided feedback Dec. 5.
In early January 2023, DCMA provided final review and approval. On Jan. 18, after just three months of active development, DAU delivered and published for public access “DCMA as a Mission Partner.”
“Through the collaborative and cooperative partnership of DCMA and DAU, what began as a micro-learning asset, or MLA, blossomed into a fully developed informational resource that has a modern look and feel, provides an interactive and engaging user experience, and offers the user a variety of ways in which to digest the content,” said Presson. “Through carefully chunked topics that use text, imagery, videos, testimonials and other useful resources, including links to source content, ‘DCMA as a Mission Partner’ offers the potential DCMA customer a means to better understand who DCMA is, what DCMA does and how it does it, and how to reach out to DCMA.”
In just two-and-a-half-hours without registration or login requirements, a student can transition from trying to determine what DCMA does to an informed user ready to engage agency assets.
Time is valuable, and the development and final product of “DCMA as a Mission Partner” relied on creative teaming to ensure resources were maximized.
The DCMA and CCM team agreed to reduce the collaborative development and review cycle by turning over approved Government-Furnished Information to CCM and giving them a short window to create a first draft. DCMA readied for an expedited review.
“CCM delivered, and DCMA completed its review rapidly, but thoroughly, providing comprehensive and actionable feedback,” said Presson. “As DCMA was conducting its review of the initial delivery CCM was also implementing the required changes, which further expedited completion of this product.”
For Jimerson and his team of acquisition educators, “DCMA as a Mission Partner” and its rapid development was a great success and the latest example of CCM and DCMA course development.
“CCM has conducted a broad series of research and development efforts on the design, development and delivery of structured training for DCMA,” he said. “Their more recent efforts, developing quick turn-around micro learning assets seek to fill training gaps in a more agile and immediate fashion. These efforts have yielded not only focused training for DCMA, but also provided a body of knowledge on what training is and how it should be produced and used. MLA training is not the only answer to meeting the challenges for readiness, but it is an important component in the total training solution set.”