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Project Management Institute offers advice to government employees

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Last year, the Project Management Institute (PMI) held a conference track that taught project and program managers how to reduce risks and effectively manage projects at FOSE 2013 in Washington D.C.

FOSE stands for “Future of Software Engineering” and is a government technology event that brings together federal, state, local and private sector partners to share the latest innovations and best practices in technology implementation. FOSE 2013 was held in May 2013 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital.

At the conference, PMI discussed best practices for how public entities and government agencies can effectively manage their projects given budgetary constraints. According to PMI, “improving the execution of their programs can help these organizations substantially improve their outcomes through increased efficiency, reduced risk and stronger strategic alignment with organizational goals”.

The conference came at a time of heightened scrutiny by taxpayer advocacy groups looking to eliminate waste and abuse from government spending. In April, the U.S. Defense Department disclosed that it probably wasted $1 billion of taxpayer money over the course of five years in trying to implement an electronic health records initiative.

The Pentagon’s program managers were not able to digitize health records across multiple government agencies each using incongruent technologies and databases. Obamacare contains mandates that require hospitals and medical providers to implement electronic health records.

A recent study by PMI shows that organizations “with 80 percent of projects meeting original goals and business intent—risk 14 times less than low-performing organizations due to the adoption of best practices and standards in project and program management. Those that perform poorly in executing their programs are unnecessarily exposing themselves to significantly higher risk”.

At FOSE 2013, PMI’s sessions included:

  • Doing More with Less: Efficient Government Through Project Management
  • Project Management Skills for Success
  • Organizational Change Management for Project Managers – Understanding the Impact of the Change we Lead
  • Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers
  • Leveraging Best Practices in Risk Management – For Strategic Outcomes
  • Accurate Requirements Could Be Your Key to Project Success
  • The Key to Agile: How Managing for Flow Produces Optimal Results
  • Identifying & Tracking Critical Project Metrics

Sofia Hess of Genius Inside offers a few suggestions for simplifying the complexity of large projects. “Break with old hierarchical patterns and present yourself to your team as a strong team leader.” ,” says Hess, who is a manager at the project management software company. She adds: “Simplify your project environment by abolishing unnecessary bureaucracy and make processes leaner.”

Earlier this year, BDO published a study showing that 63 percent of American tech companies plan to outsource or manufacture products outside of the United States, up from 35 percent in 2011.

Lack of project management skills can prove to be costly in terms of money, time, and energy. Companies risk wasting nearly 14 percent of their project budgets through deficient program management, according to PMI. It can also breed frustration and mistrust within a team. For instance, lack of clear communication in terms of assignment expectations can lead to expensive re-work as lower-level employees spend days working on the wrong tasks or doing this inefficiently.

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