The concept of professional project management is gathering pace. The USA Government’s Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015 (PMIAA) was unanimously passed by the US Senate by in November 2015, and was passed by Congress in September 2016 on a 404-11 vote. Because Congress made some minor changes, it
now has to was returned to the Senate before it can be and signed into law by the President on the 14th December 2016 (see comment below).
The Act requires the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 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.
The Act also requires the head of each federal agency that is required to have a Chief Financial Officer (other than Defence which has its own rules) to designate a Program Management Improvement Officer to implement agency program management policies and develop a strategy for enhancing the role of program managers within the agency.
The Office of Personnel Management must issue regulations that:
- identify key skills and competencies needed for an agency program and project manager,
- establish a new job series or update and improve an existing job series for program and project management within an agency, and
- establish a new career path for program and project managers.
And finally, the GAO must issue a report within three years of enactment, in conjunction with its high-risk list, examining the effectiveness of the following (as required or established under this Act) on improving Federal program and project management:
- the standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management;
- the strategic plan;
- Program Management Improvement Officers; and
- the Program Management Policy Council.
When enacted the Act will enhance accountability and best practices in project and program management throughout the federal government by:
- Creating a formal job series and career path for program/project managers in the federal government, to include training and mentoring – PMP, PMI-SP and similar certifications will become increasingly important!
- Developing and implementing, with input from private industry, a standards-based program/project 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/project management policy and strategy.
- Sharing knowledge of successful approaches to program/project management through an inter-agency council on program and project management.
- Implementing program/project portfolio reviews.
- Establishing a 5-year strategic plan for program/project management.
You can read the text of the Act here, and stay up-to-date on the Act’s progress here. The approach USA is aligned with regulatory actions in both the UK and the EU to require government agencies to improve project and program delivery. If this trend continues hopefully the ‘accidental’ project manager / sponsor will be consigned to history and the use of qualified professionals will become the norm.