Did you know that Project Management has a long history, going back to the Great Pyramid of Giza? This great structure was completed in 2570 BC, but not without some serious organization. In fact, records show that each face of the pyramid had a manager to oversee the planning, management, and control of the work. Since that time, project management has been refined greatly in to the wonderful methodologies that we know today.
Last year, another historic event occurred in Washington, D.C. Congress passed a bill called the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act. As the name suggests, this act is meant to enhance accountability and best practices in program management. Specifically, there are 4 key areas that it will work towards.
- Creating a formal job series and career path for program managers in the federal government.
- Developing a standards-based program management policy across the federal government.
- Recognizing the essential role of executive sponsorship and engagement by designating a senior executive in federal agencies to be responsible for program management policy and strategy.
- Sharing knowledge of successful approaches to program management through an interagency council on program management.
What’s all the fuss and why is this act needed? Program Management is not recognized as a true career path in the federal government, despite the fact that there are over 13,000 people with the title of project or program manager. These people are not supported in regard to training, mentorship, or guidance.
It is liberating and pleasing to hear that this act has passed, especially as I am a former project manager of the federal government. It has always been clear to me that program management is necessary to ensure the federal government works as it should. We need to combat waste and fraud, and increase efficiency. Considering that the federal government is expected to spend $4T in 2017, there is clear need to give some energy and focus here. In fact, Accenture found in 2013 that a 1% increase in efficiency can save the federal government $1T by 2025. This money can be used for other important federal programs and projects.
While this act doesn’t solve the whole problem, it is a significant step in the right direction. Getting stakeholders to understand their responsibility and be held accountable seems small, but goes a long way. Many of the challenges that federal government has are the same ones that are encountered by private, public, and non-profit organizations. We are all in the same boat, regardless of where you work. Now more than ever, we need to come together to voice our concerns, guide each other, and share best practices. Let’s all look to the future as one. What new advances will come our way? It’s hard to say, but we’re in this together and future couldn’t be brighter!
Interested in more information? What the video of the House floor debate of the PMIAA here.