OPM: What makes a good IT program manager

The Office of Personnel Management has completed an IT program management competency model to help agencies with workforce planning, training, development, performance management and recruitment.

The model is the result of a governmentwide study OPM started earlier this year to identify “critical competencies” for IT program management work, according to an OPM memo sent July 12 to chief human capital officers.


Related story:

IT program manager title now official


The study supports the Obama administration’s IT reform plan and the selected skills will be used to develop an official IT program management career path, John Berry, OPM director, wrote in the memo.

For example, general competencies for Grade 15 IT program managers include accountability, attention to detail, computer skills, conflict management and creative thinking. The model also lists technical competencies such as acquisition strategy, capital planning and investment assessment and change management. 

In addition, the model ranks the top 25 competencies based on importance, with integrity/honesty, decision making, interpersonal skills and teamwork earning the higher rankings. Integrity/honesty is listed as number one in terms of current and future importance.

Berry said OPM worked closely with the federal CIO Council and the Office of Management and Budget on the competency model.

OPM made the IT program manager title official in May.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 PM Hut Montreal

Computer skills are irrelevant for program managers. One only has to be computer literate in order to manage programs. See skills and attributes of the program manager here: http://www.pmhut.com/skills-and-attributes-of-the-programme-manager

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 Pete USMC IT Community Mgr

More disturbing to me was the quiet addition of a competency named "Political Savvy". Federal employees are supposed to be a-political in the conduct of their work. To say that being politically savvy is a job requirement (which is what a competency is), is not only ludicrous, but very dangerous. How would someone's proficiency in this competency be measured? What if your political savvy runs counter to your supervisor's? What we want is for people to act ethically, REGARDLESS of the political environment.

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 Joe IT Census Bureau

It's a shame that integrity/honesty is not a requirement for all jobs. References for management positions should also include their employees.

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 FedHRXpert USA

How do these compentencies highlighted by the OPM (accountability, attention to detail, computer skills, conflict management,creative thinking, acquisition strategy, capital planning and investment assessment and change management)differ from any other managerial line of work especially at the 15 level? Except for the subtantive knowledge of the work i.e. computer skills, there is no difference in competencies involving other managerial jobs. The additional competencies of integrity/honesty, decision making, interpersonal skills and teamwork are standard quotients. Seems like OPM just shuffled the nutshells of existing competencies around. How brilliant! Problem is that the competencies are not new, these are standard competencies used by agencies for years now. Seems like another "low hanging fruit" solution by the OPM capping their government wide study begun earlier this year to identify “critical competencies” for IT management officials. Wow - where can I get a job with OPM to rehash the hash and pass it off as prime beef as its been done here? Congrats to OPM members involved in this project and for being so creative. Don't forget about the performance award you're entitled to for completing this project on schedule.

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