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Is It Worth It to Invest In Project/Program Management?

Posted by Deborah Bigelow Crawford

Deborah Bigelow Crawford has more than 20 years of experience in business management and handles the operational and administrative functions of PM Solutions. Ms. Bigelow Crawford also serves as Co-CEO of the PM College®, PM Solutions' training division, where she is responsible for the fiscal management and quality assurance of all training and professional development programs. Prior to joining PM Solutions, she served as the Executive Director of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and was instrumental in providing the foundation and infrastructure for the exponential growth that the Institute has maintained over the last 10 years. In addition, she served as the Executive Director of the PMI Educational Foundation. Over the last decade, she has authored numerous articles in PM Network, Chief Project Officer, and Optimize magazines. Ms. Bigelow Crawford is also co-author of the book Project Management Essentials. She has presented a variety of papers as a speaker at international symposia and conferences, and is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and the Project Management Institute.

"Organizations that invest in program management talent and standards improve outcomes, accountability, and efficiency."

Do you agree with this statement?  Well, obviously the US Congress does!  The newly passed Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA) was passed with the hope of enhancing accountability and best practices in project and program management in the federal government ... in a rare example of full bipartisan cooperation.Obviously, "government should be more efficient" is an idea that everyone can get behind.

But really, what does it mean?  Commercial (non-governmental) agencies may also be affected, if they do business with the government. Potentially, all taxpayers will be affected. Aren’t you curious to better understand what’s behind the PMIAA? 

I was, so I did some research.  It basically reforms federal program management policy in four ways:

  1. Creating a formal job series and career path for program managers
  2. Developing a standards-based program management policy
  3. Recognizing the role of executive sponsorship
  4. Knowledge sharing of successful approaches through an interagency council

While these pertain to the federal government, why shouldn’t commercial entities be paying attention to these reforms as well?  They are investments in your people, their accountability, and your organization’s efficiency.  All pretty important areas in today’s competitive marketplace!

PM College has always promoted and supported a career path for project and program managers.  We have built several for multiple organizations, all based on PMI’s standards.  Experience has also taught us that without Executive Sponsorship, your project or program is almost always doomed to fail. Sharing lessons learned has also been vigorously pushed in our organization.  In a nutshell, if this new Improvement and Accountability Act is important to your organization, give us a call to help you get started on the four points above.  We can have you set up with formal job series, a career path, courses on the role of sponsorship, and work with you to start knowledge sharing your best approaches! We have a great white paper that may be of interest to you titled Building Project Manager Competency Improves Business Outcomes … check it out at:

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has been a real proponent of this legislation.  It’s Pulse of the Profession report indicated that standardized approaches, engaged executive sponsors, and certified professionals are fundamental building blocks to all organizations achieving their highest levels of performance.  Improving program management leads to benefits such as increased collaboration, improved decision making, and reduced risk.  Who wouldn’t want that?

This could be the start for you to learn more about what your next steps should be.  Let us help you … we’ve been doing it for over 20 years!

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