With the help of the Project Management Institute,a not-for-profit membership association that advocates for project management,Reps. Todd Young,R-Ind.,and Jim Matheson,D-Utah,formed the Government Efficiency Caucus,which hopes to make project management a standard in the federal government.
“We have an opportunity here to really spark something,” Matheson said Wednesday at a caucus discussion on Capitol Hill. “That’s why I’m in this job.”
PMI asked its members in business and government about how successful their projects were in meeting financial goals. Based on that,PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the Profession report estimated that the government is risking approximately $148 million for every $1 billion it spends on programs because of ineffective program management.
The goal of the caucus,which was formed last year,is to produce legislation that will help minimize that risk,Young said.
PMI President and CEO Mark A. Langley said that the government needs to use “things like communication,project management skills and leadership” to become efficient in the long term. Langley said these are things the private sector seems to have a firm understanding of while the government does not.
Langley said the government needs to start thinking more like the private sector about its projects. This requires the government to standardize procedures across all agencies and departments,not just within an agency,have a job classification for a project manager that has a defined career path and assess if projects can successful.
According to research published in PMI’s report,training and development is critical.
When there is a specific job classification and a career path for a project manager,someone who is responsible for planning and executing projects,that organization’s projects are typically more successful than organizations that do not have project managers. If the government can standardize this position,it will help to increase its efficiency,Langley said.
“An essential part of project management is assessment of implementation,” Langley said. It is important for the government to analyze if a program can be successfully carried out before the government attempts to do so and potentially lose money.
Richard Garrison,vice chancellor of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy,said his organization has started to make these changes in the past three years and has been successful.
“What we demonstrated is by a concerted effort,” Garrison said,the changes do “lead to success and can drag down the cost of doing government business.”
Once the government starts to take it more seriously,Langley said,the effects will be felt immediately. He said this could happen across the government in two to three years.
Before that can happen,more research needs to be done,Langley said. “We’re going to keep talking and support the caucus and help it to implement these changes in the U.S. federal government. We have a dedicated focus.”
Reach reporter Deanna Del Ciello at [email protected] or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.