New designation for federal IT managers

Obama's IT reform plan calls for recruitment of experienced program managers

Federal employees who manage one or more large IT programs might soon have a new official title: IT program manager.

The Office of Personnel Management released a draft proposal for public comment March 16 that would create the new title. The proposal includes a position description.

“The IT program manager coordinates, communicates, and integrates IT projects and program activities,” the proposal states. “They ensure that the work effort achieves the outcome as specified within the IT business strategies."

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The establishment of an IT program manager career track, starting with the new title, is one aspect of the Obama administration’s 25-point IT reform plan released in December 2010. IT program managers will be responsible for managing projects from beginning to end and ensuring on-time delivery and functionality.

The plan calls for federal IT program managers to have career advancement paths that are competitive with the private sector. “The path should require expertise and experience for advancement,” the plan states. “It will also require the development of a competency model for IT program management consistent with the IT project manager model.”

OPM will work with the Office of Management and Budget to provide agencies with direct hiring authority for IT program managers as needed, according to the plan.

The administration sees the new title as a step toward recruiting the best candidates to fill the role of IT program manager, officials wrote March 29 on the website.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has said the public can expect a status update on the reform effort sometime this month.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Mon, Apr 4, 2011 Resume Stain

As long as the public continues to have this perception that Federal workers are overpaid, underworked morons who couldn't possibly make it in the private sector, Federal Employment will remain a "Resume Stain". Highly competent IT Leaders know that a stint in the Federal Government can ruin their professional reputations. Add to that what a previous poster said about not being paid anywhere near what the private sector pays and you've pretty much driven away all the good Leaders. A fancy title isn't going to do much to overcome all these negatives.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011

It is completely ridiculous to create a new title for people the Government already has working on programs. This will NOT solve the problem wtih failing IT programs. It will not attract new people to the Government. We should be spending time and effort creating value-added methodologies and training for business users who buy IT systems to define their requirements appropriately, contracting officers to properly procurement, and IT managers to used performance-based methods to manage their programs and deliver them on time and within budget.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 Steve Michigan

New titles will not succeed in bringing the best and brightest IT managers into Federal Service. The private sector will always remain more appealing to the best and the brightest as long as the politicians continue to slander public employees in the press and set pay far lower than what top quality managers can get in the private sector.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 Trail Boss

Back in the late 1980's we had the same idea, but a different title - Trail Boss. GSA put on 3 different Trail Boss Training Seminars (Acquisition, Implementation and Contracting), as well as a yearly 'Round Up'. There were over 1,000 graduates of these seminars. The idea of a separate job series was put on hold because OPM was consolidating job series at the time, as opposed to creating a niche job series that would never have a large number of employees.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 OverLooked

Direct Hiring: A.K.A. for bypass those that have the knowledge and are currently working in the government so we can hire more people at high levels who have to be taught how to do their jobs by the same people who are overlooked. The GOOD OLE BOY system is alive and well within the IT field of the federal government. OPM is just afraid to do something about it. Giving agencies the power to do their own hiring and then not auditing the is like having the fox watch the henhouse. So this should be another great idea!

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