CIOs to detail project management requirements

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Officials from the federal Chief Information Officers Council plan to eliminate some of the guesswork from project management certification.

The council's workforce and human capital for information technology committee plans to release a three-tiered rating system identifying project management requirements across the government, committee co-chair and new Treasury CIO Ira Hobbs said. The report will outline the amount of experience and training necessary to manage specific projects. It is now being reviewed by the committee and will be released in the next 30 days, Hobbs said.

"These things we are doing require leadership," Hobbs said, emphasizing the need for strong project managers. "We still need those human hands and eyes that provide the vision and tactical direction to get it done."

The guidelines will provide universal standards that CIOs can use to assess their project managers, Hobbs said. He spoke on a panel with several other CIO Council committee co-chairs at the E-Gov conference in Washington, D.C.

"It's the responsibility of the CIO to make that certification that the individual meets those requirements," he said.

Other disciplines across the federal government, such as financial management and acquisition, also need similar guidelines, but the CIO Council decided to start with the IT community with hopes of expanding the framework, Hobbs said. By demonstrating the value of the guidelines, officials may then adopt the framework for other areas, leading to more uniformity across the government, he said.

"We could not solve the government problem overnight," he said. "Our efforts have been to take baby steps."

The other committees of the CIO Council also highlighted upcoming projects.

Dave Wennergren, Navy CIO and co-chair of the best practices committee said officials are seeking ideas within agencies that managers are most proud of and suggestions on how to make it easier for managers to share these concepts.

"We're in a massive campaign now to root out the best practices," Wennergren said, noting that the results of this push are expected later this year.

The panel agreed unanimously when questioned that the concept of e-government is not dead, and that emphasizing the electronic aspect is necessary to ensure it continues to be ingrained in the daily business of agencies.

"The 'e' was very important," Wennergren said. "If you only think about the 'e' part being a CIOs job, then you're missing something. The power of the transformation is when the business owners understand it's about how they deliver services."

Kim Nelson, CIO of the Environmental Protection Agency and co-chair of the architecture and infrastructure committee, noted that five years ago many agency officials were struggling to create enterprise architectures. Today, the enterprise has expanded to include the entire federal government. The needs evolve and e-government is here to stay, she said.

"The expectations keep getting higher and higher, so it's never going away," she added.

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