OPM has issued guidance on defining program and project management competencies under the 2016 Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act, which requires OPM to identify key skills and competencies needed for program and project management positions as a step toward building a specific career path for them.
For those purposes, program management is defined as work that involves providing oversight of the provision of one or more programs and/or services to the public, while project management is defined as work that involves the coordinated application of general and specialized knowledge, skills, expertise, and practices to a temporary endeavor with a defined scope, cost and completion date.
The guidance covers two types of competencies, general and technical. In the former category are attributes including accountability, conflict management, decision making, external awareness, management of resources, problem solving and team building. In the latter are attributes such as compliance, financial analysis, project management, risk management and stakeholder management.
Agencies can use the guidance “to select, assess, and train program and project management talent for the 21st Century,” and it also will “inform future work” under the law and other talent development initiatives under OMB policy and the President’s Management Agenda, OPM said in a memo.
OPM said that in preparing the guidance, it conducted focus groups and a governmentwide survey that reached more than 7,000 employees.