The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act signed into law late last year “provides an excellent foundation on which to both create and add onto existing efforts around a government-wide and consistent approach to supporting program and project management professionals,” a study has said.

“With current fiscal year spending expected to be more than $4 trillion, improvements in program and project management delivery across government has the potential over time to result in significant cost savings and cost avoidance and greater operating efficiencies for a multitude of programs and projects,” it said.

A panel of the National Academy of Public Administration added that while some agencies “already have mature program and project management development programs that actively foster these skills,” others are much farther behind.

Among those that have already moved to adopt program and project management disciplines in their business models are the VA, Energy, Corps of Engineers, NASA and DoD, it said. Some have further required industry certifications for those roles, but this is not done consistently across government, it added.

Among its recommendations were creating a specific job series for program and project managers with a clear set of steps for career development; identifying competencies that apply across those activities; and making more use of compensation flexibilities to increase recruitment and retention of highly qualified candidates.