“Increasing public-efficiency, including program management, by 1% could save the
U.S. Federal Government $995 billion, by 2025.”
__ Coup d’Etat: Radically rethinking Public Services – Accenture, 2015.
In light of the new Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), S.1550 just signed by President Obama, requiring the adoption of Government-wide program management standards, policies and guidelines; engaging with the private sector to identify best practices that would improve Federal program management; creating a formal job series and career path for program managers in the federal Government; designating a senior executive in each agency in charge of program management to implement all the above; and creating an interagency council on program management to align approaches across the federal Government. This is definitely a step in the right direction, as it addresses many of the major findings of studies and the recommendations of those in the profession. For example, it addresses the five key challenges to effectively manage Government programs, found by a panel of NAPA experts, in a PMI sponsored study, that included reviewing major studies, and interviewing a group of leaders from Government and industry.
The issuance of the standards, policies, guidelines and regulations required by PMIAA and the implementation of its other requirements will create the synergy between Government and industry that is needed to spur discovery of improved ways to effectively manage large programs and realize more organizational benefits.
Projects are everywhere in every type of business and every part of life; they are initiated, planned, executed and closed. Many of them produce useful products and services, but not necessarily within the original constraints of budget and time. If we consider successful projects those that accomplish what they were set up to do (scope), within budget and time, the percentage that are successful is very low. Furthermore, many of these projects produce products and services that cannot be used as stand-alone; they are parts of larger systems. Others do produce items that can be used in a stand-alone mode, but interact with other parts and systems. When we spend some resources thinking about how these end-products interact and take that into consideration in the planning stages, the results are usually better. That’s what program management is about. If we look at formal definitions such as PMI’s, it is a “group of related projects” managed in a way to obtain some extra benefits that we could not realize when we manage them separately.
To realize the benefits highlighted above requires that these programs are set up with the right business case, planned and executed by trained, experienced professionals, and have the proper organizational support.
Richard Spires (CEO of Learning Tree International, and former CIO of IRS and at the US Department of Homeland Security) and I joined forces to create a new course entitled Program Management: Essential Skills for Your Program Success. In addition to covering the subject cited above of initiating a program, ensuring alignment with organizational strategies and enterprise architecture, planning and managing benefit realization, and managing stakeholders engagements, we also bring practical insights and business acumen, based on years of experience managing and leading such programs in Government and industry.
I hope you have a chance to join Richard and I, as we will be co-teaching the course over the next year to help organizations worldwide realize extra efficiency.