Is Tiag a VistA newbie?

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fred trotter

Jun 20, 2011, 4:43:48 PM6/20/11
to Hardhats
I have done a quick analysis by web searches:

I would love to be proved wrong by collective VistA community experience.

Does anyone have any experience with these folks that they would mine
sharing on (or off) the record with me?


Fred Trotter

Sam Habiel

Jun 20, 2011, 4:52:27 PM6/20/11
Is this the Custodial Agent thing that people have been so enthusiastic about?

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Sam Habiel

Jun 20, 2011, 4:58:57 PM6/20/11

Nancy Anthracite

Jun 20, 2011, 4:58:49 PM6/20/11
to, Sam Habiel

This is like the reason the won it.

  • TIAG – is an 8a woman–owned small and disadvantaged business GSA schedule 70 business with a healthy portfolio providing IT services to the military with skill sets ranging from Clinical Informatics/MD's, to PHD in systems development to highly experienced software and hardware systems engineers.


Nancy Anthracite

Sam Habiel

Jun 20, 2011, 5:01:12 PM6/20/11
Sounds like /Atlas Shrugged/ is coming true (again)!


Jun 23, 2011, 12:20:57 PM6/23/11
to Hardhats

Ralph Johnson

Jun 23, 2011, 12:59:38 PM6/23/11
Dana Blankenhom said "All we can do is hope for the best."

This is wrong. There is much more that people can do.

The Custodial Agent is not supposed to be the architect, nor the
programmer, not even the tester. They certainly are not responsible
for gathering requirements. They are supposed to oversee the open
source process, and to create a 'certification' process so that the VA
can get "certified" versions of the system. So, they are managers.
It is better when managers know a lot about the technology and the
domain, but I've seen successful ones that didn't.

It is possible that there is a nefarious plot afoot, but it is more
likely that Tiag wrote a decent proposal and seemed to the VA to be
reasonably competent and that Tiag would like to do a good job. I'm
not trying to say they were the best candidate. However, no matter
who was appointed, doing a good job at being the CA means working
closely with the existing Vista community and directing their energy
to a common good. So, Tiag probably is expecting to work closely with
Vista experts and would probably welcome people contacting them with
offers to help.

The plan (that I heard) is that the VA is going to be making more
contracts for work on improving Vista. These other contracts are what
is going to result in major changes to Vista. This contact is really
for running the infrastructure. In Washington circles, $5M is small.

If the Vista community hangs back and waits to see what will happen,
Tiag is more likely to go off in the wrong direction. On the other
hand, if you engage with them, they are more likely to do things that
you think are right.

-Ralph Johnson

Joseph Dal Molin

Jun 23, 2011, 4:54:27 PM6/23/11
I would add that it will be equally important for Tiag to proactively
engage the community.... collaboration which is at the heart of open
source is dance of mutual responsibility.

Joseph Dal Molin
President, E-cology Corp.
Tel: +1.416.232.1206
Skype: dalmolin

Gregory Woodhouse

Jun 23, 2011, 5:09:29 PM6/23/11
If you want that to happen, you need to start by establishing a measure of good will. What I see here is a message of "We don't trust you, but we want you to trust us." That's not a good start.

Gregory Woodhouse

Jun 23, 2011, 5:23:53 PM6/23/11
In my opinion, Prof. Johnson has written a very measured description of the difference of the role to be played by the custodial agent and how it differs from, say, that of architect. For obvious reasons, I don't want to say much here except that jumping to conclusions is really counterproductive for everyone.

Jun 24, 2011, 12:54:03 AM6/24/11
To the VistA Community and those who listen in;

I believe that there was a TIAG representative at the Fairfax meeting.
Information was made available to them, but no one from TIAG has (to my
knowledge) reached out to anyone since the meeting. The award had not
been announced yet, and the gentleman didn't make much noise or really get
into the community discussions (but that could be expected in that this
was perhaps his first exposure to this part of the community). So he sat
there and just absorbed, (which is what we would hope for someone new to
the community to do, listen and take away some gems of wisdom from the
community). But in order to be a participating member of our community,
it is helpful (especially in their new position as CA) for them to
introduce themselves to the community and establish some means of the
community to work with them.

Having said this, I would invite them to come and introduce themselves and
dispel the darkness of ignorance (ignorance is curable) about their new
role in the community and how they see how things might progress with the
community at large. How can the VistA Community work with them? Please
let us know. Good gates and good fences are a good way to start. There
is a lot happening in the VistA Community and hooking into the mainstream
could be just the thing that TIAG needs to succeed.

Best wishes; Chris Richardson,
Vice President of WorldVistA
and one of the founders

Nancy Anthracite

Jun 24, 2011, 8:15:27 AM6/24/11
Those who looked at the RFP know there is a very tight timeline for them to
get a number of things in place. I suspect they are extremely busy doing the
things that need doing immediately and will then begin to engage with the

I will attempt to reach out to them next week.

One concern I have is that the award was supposedly for $5,000,000.

I would not be surprised if 1/3 of that funding is not eaten up just servicing
the requirements of the administration and management of a government

The RFP made the testing of software as a task that I thought would be most
costly and difficult that the VA expects to be done. Although there are
certainly a number of other challenges which should be addressed, I doubt that
those that wrote the RFP are sophisticated enough about VistA to consider
addressing those things to be a required task and certainly a VistA newbie
would be unlikely to plan to take them on or anticipate providing funding for

However, even just limiting the tasks to the bare bones of what the VA RFP in
its most simplistic terms thinks needs to be done, I found the estimate
provided by the VA of the amount of testing that would be requested to be
ridiculously low. I think that their capacity to meet the demand will probably
be so limited as to make them ineffective in their overall task with that
amount of funding unless this testing is to be so limited in its scope that it
will not be very useful.

Add to that adapting VistA to be the new EHR for both the DOD and the VA and
the DODs top level management's resistance to taking on VistA into the mix,
the potential demands for testing new software to function with VistA that may
be thrown at TIAG may be enormous.

For TIAG and the community, this is the beginning of an adventure into the
unknown and we need to be open and ready to make the best of it.

Nancy Anthracite

I, Valdes

Jun 24, 2011, 2:54:49 PM6/24/11
to Hardhats
In the end I suppose that what matters is how many people are
successfully served by all of this. I think if this is what is focused
on and achieved that everything else will take care of itself.

-- Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS
-- Astronaut, LLC

On Jun 20, 3:43 pm, fred trotter <> wrote:
> I have done a quick analysis by web searches:

Andy Bruce

Jun 24, 2011, 3:16:24 PM6/24/11
Several things come to mind...

First...there is little doubt that Nancy's assessment of the testing
scope and budget dilemma is quite correct. This is a matter of numbers.

Second...there is no reason that pessimism is more viable than an
optimism. TIAG has been inserted in a leaership position by our duly
established representatives. It is the hand we have been dealt. I cannot
help but believe the old "more flies with honey" saying...particularly now.

Third...there is little doubt we, as the community, could as easily
approach TIAG as they us. This will be greatly facilitated if there is
no "bad blood from pre-emptive mudslinging". I plan to contact TIAG to
schedule a meeting to discuss strategy and define cooperative working

Fourth...if we claim to accept and follow a different model...see the
first point in the list...this could be a golden opportunity to "be the
change you hope to see". We might consider teaching our trust model
through example and remaining open to learning better processes from
their leadership example. Personally, I am impressed with the
accomplishments of Mr. Goeringer and look forward to this opportunity to
work with him. No doubt he has an agenda but he also has a strong track
record of getting things do I...hopefully we will both be
positively influenced.

It should go without saying this as a pivotal moment. Maybe we should
err on the side of respect and inclusion.
Just my opinion, you be the judge.

Harry A. (Andy) Bruce

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