'Critical Competencies' Listed for Federal IT Program Managers

Susan Hall

The Office of Personnel Management has laid out the "critical competencies" required for the new federal IT program manager career track, reports Federal Computer Week. These folks are expected to be highly paid senior executives with broad authority to manage major technology development initiatives.


John Berry, OPM director, listed these compencies in a memo after close collaboration with the federal CIO Council and the Office of Management and Budget. For instance, the top five general competencies at Grade 15:


  • Accountability
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer skills
  • Conflict management
  • Creative thinking


The top five program management competencies at level:


  • Acquisition strategy
  • Capital planning and investment assessment
  • Change management
  • Compliance
  • Configuration management


And competencies ranked by importance:


  • Integrity/honesty
  • Leadership
  • Decision-making
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Project management


Getting these program managers on the job can't happen too soon. There always seems to be another example of federal IT projects gone awry. The most recent: significant problems with the system designed to allow access to all the medical records at the showcase joint Defense and Veterans Affairs department hospital in North Chicago. Nextgov.com reports there have been so many problems that five full-time pharmacists had to be hired to manually check prescriptions to ensure patient safety.

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