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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Project Management is About to Change in the Federal Sector!

Project Management in the Federal Sector is about to change!

S 1550 was signed into law last winter, and its official title is the “Program Management Improvement Accountability Act”.

The link is here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1550

Specific wording is as follows:

This bill establishes as additional functions of the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements to:

•adopt and oversee implementation of government-wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management for executive agencies;

• chair the Program Management Policy Council (established by this Act);

• establish standards and policies for executive agencies consistent with widely accepted standards for program and project management planning and delivery;

• engage with the private sector to identify best practices in program and project management that would improve federal program and project management;

• conduct portfolio reviews to address programs identified as high risk by the Government Accountability Office (GAO);

• conduct portfolio reviews of agency programs at least annually to assess the quality and effectiveness of program management; and

• establish a five-year strategic plan for program and project management.

While there is a carve out for DoD activities, virtually every other part of government will be impacted by this! Interestingly, since the initial announcement, there hasn’t been much discussion about this at all in the PM community.

It is also interesting to look at the respective Committee comments. In the Senate version, there is a laundry list of projects that had significant difficulty including failure to deliver and cost overruns. In my opinion, the following comments are most significant for the Project Management community. The highlights are mine:

According to the Project Management Institute, the

following challenges remain for project and program management

as a profession:

1) Laws and policies have been developed over time to

address specific problems and do not holistically address the

challenges of program management;

2) Program management is not consistently recognized as a

management discipline that is essential to government

performance, success and results;

3) Agency executives and stakeholders do not clearly

understand their roles and responsibilities;

4) There is no consistency across the government in the

training and development of program managers; and

5) Program managers lack a professional community within

the Federal government that can provide support and a voice on

issues affecting the development of program management.\20\

The link to S 1550 is here: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/114th-congress/senate-report/162/1

This references the same problems I highlighted in the article I sent last week!

Finally – there is this:

Section 4. Program and project management personnel standards

Section 4 requires the issuance of regulations to establish

program and project management as a distinct job series with a

specific career path and job requirements

Finally – PM career path’s within the field! This is a huge development and should elevate the prestige of the Project Management career within the entire Federal Government.

The House version is very closely aligned to this.

There is a lot to think about here, and significant future opportunities for Project Managers. In my next installment, I am going to discuss the difference between the three PMO’s.


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