OPM defines 'project manager'

Agency IT project managers won official recognition this week by the Office of Personnel Management. OPM formally defined the job's functions and gave agencies guidance on how to classify them in the General Schedule 2210 series.

Previously, project managers were lumped in with every other technology employee as computer specialists. The CIO Council and OPM have been working on the definition and guidance since last summer. They have conducted focus groups and solicited input from agencies and industry.

In its Interpretive Guidance for Project Manager Positions, said a project manager should be able to:

  • Identify customers' information systems requirements


  • Analyze information systems requirements or environments


  • Design or conduct analytical studies, cost-benefit analyses or other research


  • Evaluate, monitor or ensure compliance with laws, regulations, policies, standards or procedures


  • Purchase or contract for IT services, equipment, products, supplies, property or other items


  • Integrate information subsystems


  • Develop test strategies, plans or scenarios


  • Identify standards or requirements for infrastructure configuration or change management


  • Participate in change control, such as reviewing configuration change requests


  • Develop or implement information systems security plans and procedures


  • Ensure that appropriate product-related training and documentation are available to the customer.


  • OPM also outlined 12 general and 10 specific skills or competencies that range from customer service, flexibility and oral communication to knowledge of business process re-engineering, financial management and risk management.

    Project managers' jobs will be limited to the GS-15 level, meaning they are not eligible for the Senior Executive Service, OPM said.

    No certification requirements were listed, even though the Office of Management and Budget requires all projects worth more than $5 million to have a certified project manager.

    'Agencies may specify a particular type of certification in establishing selective criteria or in defining quality ranking factors,' the guidance said. 'The certification may then be used as evidence that a person has the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform project management work at a satisfactory level.'

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