The Government Accountability Office has long bemoaned the dearth of effective program management across government.
Its list of high-risk programs, which encompass such disparate management areas as the national flood insurance program, the 2020 Census, Defense contract management and the security clearance process, reflects how widespread the problem is.
A 2015 study by the National Academy of Public Administration reinforces GAO’s concerns, concluding that “institutionalizing the discipline of program management across the federal government should be a top priority.” This included creating an integrated approach to program management, creating a professional community and clarifying roles and responsibilities. But what is the best approach for doing this?
A Career Path
By the end of 2016, Congress adopted legislation reflecting many of the Academy’s recommendations, including the development of a formal job series and career path for federal program managers and a standards-based model for program management. This law, the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act, required the Office of Management and Budget to develop implementation guidance and required agencies to develop specific implementation plans. The OMB guidance was issued this past June, with a timetable for agency plans to be developed by the end of the year.