The MAP Staging Environment

The Staging environment is a real VA integration environment where developers ensure apps are able to correctly function in the VA Production environment. Passing the Sandbox testing threshold automatically triggers deployment to Staging. Developers then test their code on a genuine VA system, ensure compliance through VA Mobile App Conpliance Requirements, and undergo review by the Verification and Validation (V&V) team.

In Staging, developers test their code's functionality and that they comply with VA standards, and then present them to the V&V team. The following workflow illustrates the staging workflow in detail:

In Staging, developers test their code's functionality and that they comply with VA standards, and then present them to the V&V team.

Preparing to Deploy to Production

When an app passes V&V, its development team requests permission to deploy to the Production environment. The app development team performs three request activities, described in the following sections which involve drafting a Release Board ticket (TRB) and submitting an NGD (Next Generation Development) ticket.

App Completes V&V

The V&V team reviews all necessary required documentation and a recommendation to OCC leadership. The VA App Verification and Validation ensures that the app’s code is free of bugs and meets its business requirements. 

Once the app passes V&V, the V&V team assigns the artifact ticket to the OCC leadership.

V&V Issues an NGD Ticket

The V&V team issues an NGD ticket and notifies the app project management of the V&V review results. (NGD stands for Next Generation Development, which is a reference to OCC's current generation of software development operations.) The app development PM (Project Manager) references the V&V recommendation to the app sponsor or owner for approval.

Technical Review Board (TRB) Completes Qualitative Review

The Technical Review Board, comprising Connected Care and Office of Information and Technology stakesholders, reviews all NGD production tickets and makes final approvals for apps to move to the The Mobile Application Platform (MAP) Production Environment.

Release Candidate Types

The first release of an app requires working through the entire CI/CD pipeline. Subsequent releases may qualify to work through a reduced pipeline without sacrificing VA quality standards. The development team's project manager decides whether a release candidate is a Major, a Minor, or a Patch release. The requirements and documentation to release a version varies accordingly:

Major Releases (Version X)

A Major release is an app's first release to production, or any subsequent release that has added functionality or architecture changes. (Major Releases of existing products have breaking changes: There are removed or changed features and dependent modules have to modified to be compatible with the new version.) Major Releases must progress through the entire MAP pipeline and submit a complete set of compliance documents during review. OCC decides if apps that do not access VA networks ("informational" apps), are eligible to comply with a reduced set of compliance certifications.

Minor Releases (Version X.Y)

A Minor release is an incremental feature set enhancement. Minor releases may introduce new features but may not change behavior for existing APIs. Minor releases are always backward compatible with their parent Major release. If an app adds a feature, but the module is backwards compatible, it qualifies as a minor release. Minor release candidates resubmit updated credentials for most of the compliance requirements during review.

Patch Releases (Version X.Y.Z)

Only bug fixes that impact no other changes to the app qualify as patch releases. Patch release candidates resubmit a subset of updated records during review.