Improving Federal Program Management & Acquisition: Adopting Industry Practices

 

Improving Federal Program Management & Acquisition: Adopting Industry Practices

Thursday, July 27th, 2017 - 10:26
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On July 19, I had the honor of joining a panel at an event, Outlook for federal agency program management and acquisition, held by Bloomberg Government and the Project Management Institute.

Bloomberg Event

The impetus for this event was the coalescing of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act in 2015, the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2016, and guidance from the executive branch, which have combined to drive changes that will affect contractors as well as the federal government.

Here is the video of the panel I participated in that focused on what government can learn from industry to improve program management & acquisition

Bloomberg BNA’s Sam Skolnik moderated this panel and we were joined by Robert Burton, a partner in the government contracts group at the Crowell & Moring law firm and Alan Balutis, senior director of the North American Public Sector for Cisco Systems Inc.

You can view the entire event and browse professional pictures from the event.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the entire event, reprinted with the expressed permission of Bloomberg Government:

Improving Federal Program Management Is Hot Summer Topic in D.C.

By Samantha J. Stein and Cameron Leuthy | July 20, 2017 10:44AM ET

These are dynamic times for federal program managers, who face both budget pressures and challenges from the White House and Congress to improve the way the government buys goods and services. The enactment of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act in 2015 and the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act last year, and guidance from the executive branch have combined to drive changes that will affect contractors as well as the federal government. The July 19 program management event held by Bloomberg Government and the Project Management Institute included BGOV analysts, PMI representatives, and panelists from both government and industry. PMI’s Jordon Sims joined BGOV’s Josh Eastright and analyst Cameron Leuthy to introduce the three panels, “The View from Capitol Hill,” moderated by BGOV’s Robert Levinson; “The Federal Agency Perspective,” moderated by BGOV’s Laura Criste; and “Federal Business is Our Business,” moderated by Bloomberg BNA’s Sam Skolnik.

Hobbled by Regulation

One of the major challenges facing both federal and the commercial sector is overcoming outdated regulatory barriers, said panelist Larry Joseph, a program management professor at Georgetown University. “Regulations are made to change something done in the past -- then that’s gone, and the regulation remains in place,” he said. Joseph was joined in the first session by Ryan Consaul, staff director at the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, and Ben Rhodeside, a policy director in the office of Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). Agencies such as Homeland Security need a multilayer acquisition strategy for using the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Rhodeside noted. “There’s a lot in the FAR that doesn’t need to be fixed, but just better utilized,” he said.

Power to the Managers

Project managers play a critical role in integrating and synthesizing federal programs with all necessary stakeholders from the start, and should be empowered, said panelists during the second session, who included Amy Haseltine, executive director of the Health and Human Services Department Office of IT Strategy, Policy, and Governance, and Barry Berkowitz, senior procurement executive and director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Acquisition Management. That will require federal agencies to change their culture--not an easy task, they said.

Adopt Industry Practices

Government can learn from industry practices, but “we need more success stories for how major programs have been implemented,” said panelist Robert Burton, a partner in the government contracts group at the Crowell & Moring law firm. He was joined in the third session by Dan Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for Business Government, and Alan Balutis, senior director of the North American Public Sector for Cisco Systems Inc. Stronger enforcement mechanisms are also needed with regard to program management oversight, panelists said.

These are dynamic times for federal program managers, who face both budget pressures and challenges from the White House and Congress to improve the way the government buys goods and services. The enactment of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act in 2015 and the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act last year, and guidance from the executive branch have combined to drive changes that will affect contractors as well as the federal government. The Government can learn from industry practices, but “we need more success stories for how major programs have been implemented,” said panelist Robert Burton, a partner in the government contracts group at the Crowell & Moring law firm. He was joined in the third session by Dan Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for Business Government, and Alan Balutis, senior director of the North American Public Sector for Cisco Systems Inc. Stronger enforcement mechanisms are also needed with regard to program management oversight, panelists said.