We all know there is a lot of waste in government. Well, some politicians are trying to do something about it by enacting the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA).
PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report shows “only 64 percent of government strategic initiatives ever meet their goals and business intent — and that government entities waste $101 million for every $1 billion spent on project and programs.”
This type of waste goes back many decades, spans several administrations, has an enormous cumulative undesirable impact, and ultimately the financial burden transfers back to taxpayers in one way, shape or form.
To address this widespread and costly problem, on December 14, 2016, President Barack Obama signed bill S.1550 — the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015 (PMIAA) into law. This piece of legislation was fully supported by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and garnered staggering bi-partisan support.
How does this bill impact PM practices within the federal government?
Intended to develop, implement and oversee standard program and project management guidelines, policies and processes within the federal government, the new bill falls under the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This effort involves federal agencies working with and leveraging the knowledge and experience of private sector companies to help determine best project management practices. The PMIAA bill impacts all areas of the government with the exception of the Department of Defense (DOD).
How does this impact government agencies?
Any government agency that is required to have a CFO is mandated to appoint a Program Management Improvement Officer. This officer is responsible for developing a five-year strategy to improve program manager roles within their agencies, as well as implementing all associated policies.
In addition to this, serving as the principal interagency forum within the OMB, a Program Management Policy Council is expected to be established for the purpose of improving program and project management practices.
When it comes to PM personnel, all program and project manager competencies and skills will be regulated through the Office of Personnel Management. This agency will also be responsible for developing a new program and project manager job series, as well as any updates required to improve existing jobs, and identification of any new career paths.
Is there any real accountability?
Within one year of this new bill being enacted, the OMB will be required to establish and submit a report outlining the program and project management’s five-year strategic plan.
Additionally, within three years of the PMIAA bill being enacted, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will be responsible for issuing a report, including a high-risk portfolio list that outlines the effectiveness of the program and project management strategic plan, standards, policies, and guidelines. They are also expected to report on the performance of the Program Management Improvement Officers and the Program Management Policy Council.
How does PMIAA help the PM profession?
Passing the project and program management into law opens up opportunities not only within the government setting but also amplifies and elevates the profession as a whole. PMIAA creates an increased awareness of the need for certified, experienced PM professionals across America. It shines a spotlight on the imperative role PM professionals play in government and private sector especially as it relates to accountability, efficiencies, and strategic value.
Why is PMIAA great for Americans overall?
- First, PMIAA ensures high-level sponsorship is in place to reduce waste, increase success ratios within all federal agencies and create essential value for taxpayers.
- It spells out the necessity for all federal agencies to have an assigned senior executive accountable for program management strategy and policies to ensure success.
- The legislation also requires all areas and levels of the federal government to develop and adhere to standards-based program management policies.
- It aims to develop formal federal government job criteria and career paths for PMs and can ultimately translate to additional jobs within the government, and the private sector spinoff.
- This legislation also helps to establish a program management interagency council to facilitate the sharing of successful practices and PM knowledge for continued improvements.
PMIAA received overwhelming bi-partisan support due to its focus on optimizing efficiency within the federal government and its goal of increasing and maintaining successful program outcomes. It offers taxpayers more piece-of-mind knowing their hard-earned tax dollars are being wisely and responsibly allocated. This also serves as a template for businesses across America to do the same, so they too can offer stakeholders improved efficiencies, reduced waste, increased performance, success, and a higher level of satisfaction.
Regardless of political affiliation, walk of life, gender, religion, orientation or any other factor, all American works hard for their dollars and can appreciate and welcome the opportunities for efficiency and accountability that PMIAA is intended to bring about.
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Moira Alexander, PMP, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, is a recognized project management influencer, thought leader, a regular correspondent for PMI’s Projectified podcast, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PMWorld 360 Magazine, Founder of Lead-Her-Ship Group, and author of “LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership”. Moira has over 25 years of experience in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada and has been quoted in various publications including Forbes. She writes thought leadership content for top-tier publications and business blogs and oversees or writes sponsored content and software reviews on PMWorld 360 Magazine.