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Act to Improve Government Program Management Becomes Law, Gets Overwhelming Support

By Bisk on January 25, 2017
Act to Improve Government Program Management Becomes Law, Gets Overwhelming Support

On December 14, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015 (PMIAA) into law, which aims to improve accountability and promote best practices in project and program management within the federal government.

Wayne Brantley, Associate Vice President of Professional Education at Bisk, said the legislation represents movement in the right direction for the United States government. Brantley is the 2017 president of the Project Management Institute’s (PMI®) Tampa Bay chapter.

“The PMIAA is a huge step forward in the federal government in how they approach project, program, and portfolio management,” said Brantley, who holds a Master of Science in Education and certification in PMP, ITIL, CSM and PMI-ACP. “I see the strength in this legislation that it will [employ] a top-down approach by recognizing the importance of executive sponsorship and a bottom up approach in developing a career path for project managers in the federal government.”

“These simple actions are imperative to the success of project management in the federal government and throughout the industry.”

New Law Reforms Federal Government

The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act reforms the current federal policy in four main areas:

  • Creates a formal career path for federal government program and project managers
  • Develops a standard-based model for program management within the federal government
  • Designates a senior executive in federal agencies as responsible for program management policy and strategy
  • Creates an interagency council on program management to share knowledge of successful approaches to program management

Approval of the legislature by Congress and Obama reflects the findings of the Project Management Institute, which strongly endorsed the bill. PMI research has shown that reforms such as these can lead to improved outcomes, efficiency and accountability for all organizations with high performance standards.

Bipartisan Approval

The bill took about 18 months from introduction in Congress to the president’s signing. It received strong bipartisan support from the beginning of the process, according to records from

Rep. Todd Young, R-Indiana, and Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, first introduced the legislation to the House of Representatives in April 2015. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced the bill to the U.S. Senate in June 2015, co-sponsored by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota.

The billed passed the Senate by unanimous consent in November 2015. In September 2016, the House approved the measure by a vote of 404-11.

At the time of the Senate passage, Mark Langley, PMI president and CEO, called the bill “critical legislation” that will “maximize efficiency with the U.S. federal government.”

PMI Endorsement

From the bill’s introduction, the PMI recognized the legislation as a means of improving efficiency and accountability, as well as creating a clear career path for program and project managers in the federal government.

PMI’s 2016 report, “Pulse of the Profession®,” found that standardized approaches to project management, as well as executive engagement and skilled project management talent, provide “fundamental building blocks” to organizations that want high levels of achievement.

The report also revealed that only 64% of government initiatives ever reach the desired goal or achieve the business intent. Further, the report found that governments waste $101 million for every $1 billion spent on programs and projects.

In a prepared statement following the president’s signing of the PMIAA, Langley said PMI is “thrilled” with the measure getting signed into law. He added that the reforms will improve government programs and projects by “generating more successful program outcomes and increasing the value that Americans receive for their tax dollars.”

PMI® is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.  

Category: Government