Agencies short on project managers

If agencies cannot identify and train enough people in-house to step forward as experienced project managers for hundreds of information technology projects, the government may need to go on a big hiring push this summer, Mark Forman said today.

Agencies are drastically short on experienced project managers to lead IT projects. More than 700 projects are on the Office of Management and Budget's "at-risk" list in the fiscal 2004 budget and may have their funding withheld. Several hundred of those are on the list specifically because of a lack of good project managers.

Agencies are rushing to do everything they can to identify and train more managers, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is spending significant funding to train thousands, said Forman, OMB's associate director for IT and e-government.

But going out and finding new people may be necessary "if we literally don't have the people we need in-house," Forman said.

He was speaking March 20 at a forum on technology and counterterrorism sponsored by webMethods Inc.

Because the importance of IT project management has only been highlighted in the past year, the CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee is now updating federal IT workforce studies that were performed by the National Academy of Public Administration for the council and OMB, Forman said.

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