Put the Users at the Center of Program Management in Government
Despite new methods, agile processes, and more certified project managers than ever, large, complex programs are not achieving mission goals faster or more cost effectively. Can legislation make a difference?
The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015 (PMIAA) plans to enhance accountability and best practices in project and program management throughout the Federal government. An important part of the PMIAA calls for the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue the standards, policies, and guidelines.
To help accelerate this effort, Arc Aspicio has some key recommendations based on our project and program management capabilities and experience.
- Create Standards, Policies, and Guidelines by Incorporating Existing Best Practices –These include the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) ‒ the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) standard and guideline for project management ‒ and Federal agencies’ system development and program management guidelines (for example, Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Systems Engineering Life Cycle (SELC) and Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Acquisition Guidebook). As demonstrated in the DHS SELC, including an approach for project tailoring is very useful
- Promote the Use of Agile – OMB should incorporate project management best practices from Agile methods, such as Scrum and Lean. Agile implementation has been successful within the Federal government, including in DHS, and is paving the way for more innovative solution development in a highly dynamic environment
- Put Users at the Center Through Design Thinking – User needs, requirements, and experience should be a primary focal point at the beginning and throughout the life of the project. OMB should introduce Design Thinking and prototyping in the standards, policies, and guidelines, and bring in industry subject matter experts who can help support this journey. Design Thinking focuses on getting to know your end users or customers and empathizing with them to truly understand their motivations, feelings, and pain points.
- Experiment and Prototype – A key element of Design Thinking is prototyping, which involves producing an early, inexpensive, and scaled down version of the product to reveal any problems with the current design. This is an easy and cost-effective way for Project Managers and teams to explore potential solutions, harness creativity, and iterate to achieve an outcome that is conducive to end user’s goals and desires. They can measure how well the projects meet the user expectations – rather than just whether they are performed on time and within budget
- Emphasize the Importance of Risk Management – OMB should emphasize Risk Management processes in the standards, policies, and guidelines. Using Risk Management plans and Risk Registers, and encouraging project wide collaboration when discussing risk are all important for the success of the project. Looking at risk from the perspective of the program goals is important, but programs must also consider the risk to the mission as well
Our consultants, designers, and managers look forward to learning how industry can add value and support OMB and the Federal government during this change.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.