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Hutch company Boostaro helps Fearless bring agile solutions to CMS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are used by over 93 million people. These programs give access to free or low-cost health insurance to qualifying families, children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes.

With millions of people relying on these programs, CMS must be responsive to the needs of their users. To better serve those users, CMS is updating their Medicaid and CHIP (MACPRO) system.

MACPRO receives and processes documents, data, and reports from state and CMS users. And it allows the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services’ (CMCS) staff to effectively engage with their state partners.

Boostaro — a Hutch cohort company — is partnering with Fearless to assist CMS in their work. Boostaro and Fearless will apply an agile, collaborative, and human-centered design (HCD) approach as they improve CMS’ MACPRO system.

“We’re not building software for the sake of building software,” says Boostaro founder and CEO founder . “We’re building software to make an impact on the everyday citizens that are using this service. And not just at the national level, but even at the state level.”

To assist in this work, Boostaro is providing coaching to CMS individuals and teams on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). This coaching will ensure CMS is set up for success even after the project is over.

“I’m looking forward to figuring out how we can best help CMS move forward on their journey. And to build valuable relationships that will provide optimal results,” says Snehal.

The value of relationship building.

Fearless has worked on various MACPRO projects for CMS since 2020, with this project originally starting without Boostaro on the contract. But this changed when CMS spent two days working in-person with Fearless in their Spark space.

While at Spark, a director in CMS’ Data and Systems Group recognized Snehal, who was in the office for a Hutch session. Having worked together before, the CMS director immediately told Nichole Weems, Fearless’ Health and Sciences Portfolio Director, that they “need Snehal on this project. And he needs to be key to our work.”

Having successfully spearheaded numerous organizational change initiatives that not only improved operational efficiency, but also fostered a culture of continuous improvement, it was clear that Boostaro was perfect for this project.

As Nichole says, “this was one of those magical ‘aha’ moments that happen when people come together. And the customer seeing Snehal at Fearless meant the three of us could come together. This allowed me to better understand what the customer wanted and needed.”

As Snehal says, Boostaro’s “emphasis on meeting teams where they are in their agile journey, and their reputation for collaborative leadership is exactly what CMS was seeking to ensure a smooth and effective transition.”

Boostaro’s addition to the project demonstrates what a powerful combination solid relationship building and good timing can be.

Relearning how to work together.

In addition to updating the MACPRO system, Fearless and Boostaro are training CMS team members on agile and SAFe practices. This work can be challenging in an increasingly asynchronous environment.

“In agile,” Snehal says, “you focus on individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” But post-COVID, processes and tools have only become more important. With tools like Slack and Zoom replacing in-person interactions, it can be difficult to find a way to keep them from driving the things we do.

In this asynchronous world, “people are almost having to relearn how to connect with one another and what the new ways of connection are,” says Snehal. “As a coach, I’m always thinking about ways to adapt to this change. And figure out the best ways to present what we used to coach in-person, virtually.”

But Snehal relishes this work. “This is an opportunity to help CMS, and specifically MACPRO” he says. “By coaching people and providing guardrails, we’ll make sure processes aren’t driving how we think and do things.”

Looking ahead.

As Fearless and Boostaro continue working with CMS, they’re “making sure MACPRO will be a system that’s not only easy for CMS to use, but for the end user as well,” says Snehal.