The right training coupled with experience will help sustain the long-term federal project improvements identified in the PMIAA
In late 2016, the federal government signed the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA) into law. At that time, we reviewed the legislation and discussed implications for the future. The Office of Management and Budget recently issued a memo outlining the implementation plan for PMIAA and the overall strategy for improving federal projects and programs (P/PM). This plan has provided further insight into the impact of this legislation and how it will affect federal employees.
Federal projects and programs have been managed by federal employees and contractors in many different ways for a very long time. This variety in the way projects are managed has not always benefited the government. A more consistent and professional approach to project-based work is needed. This doesn’t just mean more oversight and reporting. Within the context of the PMIAA, there is a real desire to “formalize the program management profession in the federal government and to provide a more transparent and attractive route for employment, growth, and professional development of program management professionals.” This could be very good news for federal employees.
The maturation process for a project or program manager in the private sector includes a more focused and sustained approach to learning and developing skills, not just credentials. The PMI® PMP® is the most recognized credential in this arena for private sector professionals and was within the government until the 2009 debut of the Federal Acquisition Certification for Project and Program Managers policy (aka, FAC-P/PM).
Most commercial contractors support government programs with project managers holding a PMP® certification while fewer federal employees doing the same or similar project-based work, sometimes shoulder to shoulder with their commercial counterpart, have only FAC-P/PM certificates or no P/PM credentials at all. This inconsistency can often lead to miscommunication, risk, and even conflict in all phases of the project life cycle.
Filling the identified skill and knowledge gaps between public and private sector staff is expected to be one of the major challenges throughout the implementation of the PMIAA. We believe realizing the true benefits of the PMIAA relies on the individual department’s ability to fund and execute better P/PM training. FAC-P/PM certification may not be enough. The right education coupled with experience will deliver and help sustain the long-term P/PM improvements identified in the PMIAA.
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