OPM to begin project, program manager assessments next year

The Office of Personnel Management will be conducting assessments next year of program and project managers across federal agencies to determine the competencies of the management workforce.

The agency announced in a Dec. 4 memo, that it would begin conducting assessments in a phased approach of four groups beginning May 2019.

The assessment comes as part of requirements set forth by the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act, which was signed into law December 2016 and requires OPM to oversee the implementation of standards and policies for program and project management across the federal government.

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In October 2018, OPM asked agency leadership to identify their program and project managers and encourage them to participate in a survey that collected information on how many programs or projects an individual managed, whether there was defined timing, the program authorization, funding and employment details of the manager.

The survey also delineated the difference between a program and a project as the first having external impact and centrality to agency mission, while the second was a temporary endeavor with a beginning and end.

“Building upon the initial requirements outlined in the October 2018 Memorandum, OPM will subsequently be required to assess the competencies of program and project managers,” wrote Mark Reinhold, associate director of employee services at OPM, in the memo.

The 24 agencies defined in the Chief Financial Officers Act are being asked to provide OPM with a point of contact for coordinating assessment efforts, a preferred timeline after the May 2019 start date for conducting the assessments, and an organizational structure and list of individuals to be granted administrative rights in the competency assessment tool.

“As you craft your responses, please keep in mind that while this tool will initially be used to support the PMIAA, it is also intended to be made available for general use, at agencies’ discretion,” Reinhold wrote.

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