GSA, CIOs unveil training program
- By Diane Frank
- Sep 05, 1999
Next week the General Services Administration and the CIO Council officially will unveil a new training program for the next generation of program managers that emphasizes performance results rather than the minutiae of contract management.
The Strategic and Tactical Advocates for Results program was developed to prepare federal managers to meet the new demands for agencies to measure success based on results. STAR places a heavy emphasis on how to deliver programs that satisfy the people who use or benefit from IT - be it agencies or the public - instead of focusing on how to create and manage contracts.
STAR was created by the GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy's Office of IT Professional Development and the CIO Council's Federal IT Workforce Committee. It will replace the 11-year-old Trail Boss program. STAR seminars will focus on the range of issues a program manager must deal with in a government that must meet new procurement and IT management laws, such as the Clinger-Cohen Act, which set up the framework for agencies to better manage how they buy and use IT, and the Government Performance and Results Act, which ties agencies' performance to their budgeting process.
"The thing that is a bit unique from our past offerings is that [STAR] is not as focused on IT," said Nora Rice, STAR program manager at GSA.
STAR focuses on the range of knowledge a manager needs to improve results, from how to work with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to encouraging employees to work together. IT is a tool to accomplish those goals as well as a subject to improve.
As agencies adopt commercial practices and products, and as Congress has pushed for results and stricter performance measures, many program managers have found themselves managing much more than contracts. This is especially true in an environment in which many of an agency's functions are outsourced to industry.
Program managers must be able to lead a wide range of government and industry employees working on projects while trying to meet agencies' needs with an ever-shrinking federal budget. Even for federal program managers based outside Washington, D.C., this work occurs in a political environment. And it comes at a time when technology has been adopted by every agency function, increasing the opportunities that agency systems may be breached.
STAR will address all these issues in five sessions focusing on program and project management, leadership, information security, technology and government. Experts from industry and academia will teach each session, including representatives from the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute and the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University.
The pilot STAR seminar will be held in November and December, and after gathering comments and making modifications, GSA expects to offer the program once a quarter starting in May 2000. STAR could be offered as many as eight times a year, Rice said.
STAR officials plan to create a World Wide Web site where federal executives can find information on the program and resources, Rice said.
***At a Glance
The STAR program, which prepares federal execs to work with the realities of the IT marketplace, shrinking budgets and politics, will offer training in five areas:
* Program and project management
* Information security