Enterprise leadership guide coming

With government programs focusing more on enterprise and cross-agency missions, officials are struggling to find program managers with the skills to lead those efforts, and the Office of Personnel Management is ready to release new guidance that will help, officials said at an Oct. 7 conference.

Agencies are deploying information technology enterprise architectures internally, and the Office of Management and Budget is leading efforts to put an IT blueprint in place across government. But although these efforts must start with business and mission requirements, people are needed to make them happen, said Fred Thompson, assistant director for consulting and marketing at the Treasury Department and a member of the CIO Council's Workforce and Human Capital for IT Committee.

The new program managers should be people with broad experience in both technology and the mission that is being served by the particular program, and this is a skill set that has not been sought before, Thompson said. "This is really quite a challenge, and it's a new role," he said.

OPM and the CIO Council have been working to identify the skills needed to perform such a job, the people who have those skills, ways to create career tracks specifically for these new program managers, and possible programs to train more. During the next few months, OPM will be releasing guidance based on this work, Thompson said.

One idea under consideration is to make program management a classification, the way that OPM has created a new classification for IT professionals. But for now, recognizing it as a discipline is an important first step, Thompson said.

"We need to find a way to find the right people, and when we find them, move them to the right place," he said.

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