Agencies face more OMB scrutiny, project management challenges

ORLANDO, Fla.'Federal program managers soon will enjoy, or endure, additional oversight via the Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating tool, according to Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of E-Government and Technology. Evans also emphasized that project management remains a weakness in many agencies.

"By the end of the year, all programs will have been PARTed," Evans told attendees at the Information Processing Interagency Conference here yesterday.

About 800 of federal programs already have been rated on a red-green-yellow scale under the PART process, Evans said. The evaluation is based on 25 questions divided into four areas: whether the program's objective is clear, the status of its strategic plan, management measures and the program's results.

OMB posts PART ratings on expectmore.gov. "Expectmore.gov has all the information out there and you can search by which programs are performing and which aren't performing," Evans said. She emphasized that in the PART process, agencies will have to describe how program activities are aligned to program goals.

Evans spoke first at IPIC, but her concern about the quality of project management in the federal government was echoed by other speakers.

"Project management is still a major category of weakness for the agencies," Evans said. "It is still one of the weaknesses [for the government as a whole]," she said.

OMB will focus heavily on agencies' efforts to upgrade project management, Evans said. In light of the gap in availability of project managers, OMB officials are encouraging agencies to shift enterprise architects to project management work, she said.

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