Task force to issue program management recommendations

A multiagency task force is ready to make recommendations on ways to improve the government's program management efforts.

Emory Miller, director of information technology professional development at the General Services Administration, laid out the task force's key findings this morning at a program management conference in Washington, D.C.

Among the task force's recommendations:

* Create a Federal Program Management Office. Champion the discipline and encourage agencies to use it, establish metrics and collect, evaluate and disseminate best practices that agencies discover. "We believe it's critical that this office be established somewhere within government," Miller said.

* Strengthen strategic planning. "We think it's extremely critical that the senior management of an agency understands program management," he said.

* Establish program management standards.

* Create a program management career path that will make it a formal direction for agency employees to choose.

* Add program management competencies to the Senior Executive Service competencies. "It's important that program management be infused into the workplace," Miller said.

"This is a formidable discipline," Miller said of program management as a concept.

The work of the task force, assembled earlier this year by Ira Hobbs, co-chairman of the chief information officer of the Council Workforce and Human Capital for IT subcommittee, presented "an opportunity to take program management and layer it on the challenges we have, the work we do today," Miller added.

Good program management requires a systematic approach undertaken by trained professionals, Miller said. At present, agencies have varying degrees of sophistication in their approach to the discipline.

"To be effective, we have to have people at all levels of the project understand that they and they alone are responsible for aspects of the project," he said. "The core problems we've identified are systemic. The solutions are systemic also."

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