Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

Blog archive

Will PM title change lead to better management? Readers doubt it.

A draft proposal released in March by the Office of Personnel Management described the new official title of IT program manager.

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

The establishment of an IT program manager career track, starting with the new title, is one goal of the Obama administration’s 25-point IT reform plan released last December.

It seems that from the administration’s perspective, the new title will strengthen IT program management through greater accountability and improve the recruitment of professionals to fill this position across the government.

But will a new title really lead to better management and attract more qualified candidates?

Some FCW readers don’t seem to think so, according to recent comments.

“It is completely ridiculous to create a new title for people the government already has working on programs,” one reader wrote. “This will not solve the problem with failing IT programs. It will not attract new people to the government.”

Another reader commented specifically on the government’s recruitment abilities in the current political environment.

“New titles will not succeed in bringing the best and brightest IT managers into federal service,” the reader wrote. “The private sector will always remain more appealing to the best and brightest as long as the politicians continue to slander public employees in the press and set pay far lower that what top quality managers can get in the private sector.”

OPM’s draft proposal was available for public comment until mid-April, which may warrant some changes to the description of an IT program manager’s responsibilities. 

But, the overarching question is, how important is a new title in terms of enhancing management and oversight of federal IT? And should existing federal employees or new employees fill the program manager role?

Posted by Alyah Khan on Apr 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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