Learn what the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA) means to you
Whether or not you’re a federal employee, you may have heard about the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA), which, among other things, aims to formalize the program and project management (P/PM) profession in the federal government as well as provide greater opportunity for growth and advancement while increasing transparency for program management professionals.
PMIAA is intended to support the growth of program and project managers by facilitating professional development, while also setting parameters around the positions by streamlining qualifications. Ultimately, its goal is to improve government performance and ensure that critical services to citizens are being provided efficiently.
PMIAA was signed into law in 2016 and progress is being made to implement it across all agencies. While many processes are yet to be put in place, the act did establish a new role, the Program Management Improvement Officer (PMIO). Officials from the 24 major federal agencies designated a representative who serves as the PMIO of their agency. This group of PMIOs – collectively known as the Program Management Policy Council (PMPC) – convened for the first time last fall to establish priority and focus areas in order to implement the PMIAA agency-wide.
While there are still unknowns about what is to come from PMIAA implementation, we can glean some of the key impacts this legislation may have on the profession.
What Does PMIAA Mean for Federal Project and Program Managers?
1) Emphasis on Training
Many of us have learned to work in a certain position based on the demands of the job and the different scenarios we encounter. While these experiences are incredibly valuable, one of the goals of PMIAA is to go beyond individual experiences and develop program managers in a formal way. By training and teaching program managers through programs such as FAC/PPM certifications, managers have tools and resources that equip them to think beyond the projects they are familiar with and have the ability to grow and move into different areas and programs.
One of the core elements at the heart of PMIAA is the desire for clarity. When the description of a position is vague and/or varied, it does not serve the workers in that position. Providing clearer descriptions about what the program manager role actually entails and what the qualifications are sets a clearer path to promotion for program managers.
None of these shifts would be possible without oversight roles taking a more active part in the management of program management parameters under PMIAA. The efforts to streamline position requirements and increase transparency would be wasted without the PMIOs collaborating to communicate across agencies.
So what does all this mean for program and project managers outside the federal government? Well, under the PMIAA, federal agencies have to work with the private sector as they continue formalizing the P/PM parameters. Collaborating in this way gives both parties the opportunity to establish and share best practices so that, as a whole, the P/PM profession can benefit from shared knowledge and operate at its highest level.
Many of the guidelines and processes that will be put in place under PMIAA have yet to be determined. But we can be sure that as agencies take steps to comply with the new legislation and take a more formal approach in training their program and project managers, the P/PM profession will continue its maturation within the federal government, which will be sure to have ripple effects into the private sector and beyond.
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