In a 2016 Fast Track piece, I covered a disconcerting study conducted by The Project Management Institute (PMI). The research illustrated that organizations around the world waste an average of $122 million for every $1 billion spent on projects as a result of poor project management practices.
Called Pulse of the Profession®: The High Cost of Low Performance study, the study indicated that the amount of waste had increased 12 percent over the prior year. Featuring insights from nearly 2,500 project managers, nearly 200 senior executives, and nearly 300 Project Management Office (PMO) directors from a range of industries, Pulse of the Profession was one of the only studies to look at project management trends globally.
Despite the fact that of the industries included in the study, government agencies had the lowest average monetary waste on spending projects ($108 per $1 billion spent, financial services was much higher), the feds were the first to take action.
On His Way Out, Obama Saved Project Management
Without getting overly political, I feel that Obama did a lot of good for our country, and especially for the field of project management. Allow me to explain. Before he turned the reins over to Trump, Obama signed bill S.155, or the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA).
The PMIAA requires the implementation of established project management strategies to create a more consistent, efficient and effective federal government, as well as the carrying out of policies to correct widespread inefficiencies.
Obama got this done with relatively little fanfare, mostly because unlike much of his proposed legislation, the PMIAA received substantial bipartisan support. “We are thrilled that this significant piece of legislation has been signed into law by President Barack Obama. PMIAA will help maximize efficiency within the US federal government, thereby generating more successful program outcomes and increasing the value that Americans receive for their tax dollars,” said PMI President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Langley in a press release.
Implementation of the new law will be overseen by the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The legislation mandates that federal agencies work together and consult with private sector organizations to determine the best project management practices. It’s a sweeping law, meaning that all areas of government fall under its umbrella with the notable exception of the Department of Defense.
All Bases Will Be Covered
The specifics are even more intriguing. According to Moira Alexander at CIO, any government agency that is required to have a CFO is mandated to appoint a Program Management Improvement Officer. This officer is responsible for developing a five-year strategy to improve program manager roles within the agency, as well as implementing all associated policies and reporting on progress. In addition, a Program Management Policy Council within OMB is expected to be established for the purpose of improving program and project management practices.
The Office of Personnel Management will be involved too. This group will ensure that the government as a whole ups its PM game. It will regulate PM competencies, develop a new program and project manager job series, update existing PM jobs, and identify new PM-related career paths.
As an additional safeguard of accountability, within three years of the law passing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will issue a report documenting the effectiveness of the new initiatives – including strategic plans, policies, and guidelines – and the performance of the Program Management Improvement Officers and the Program Management Policy Council.
There’s little doubt that PMIAA is a boon for the project management profession. “Passing this law opens up opportunities not only within the government setting, but it also amplifies and elevates the profession as a whole,” wrote Alexander in CIO. “PMIAA creates an increased awareness of the need for certified experienced PM professionals across America. It shines a spotlight on the imperative role PM professionals play in government and the private sector especially as it relates to accountability, efficiencies, and strategic value.”
For more, head over to the QuickBase Fast Track blog.