How Do Gov Project Managers Advance?

Home Forums Program and Project Management How Do Gov Project Managers Advance?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Krzmarzick 6 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #155051

    Josh Nankivel

    What’s your career path leading to? Larger projects to manage? Program management? Or are you happy right now, doing the work you love?

  • #155085

    Hey Josh – Great question. I know that the Federal budgeting community has created a pretty clear career path for professionals in their community:

    Do you know if something similar exists for project management?

  • #155083

    John Bersentes

    Another great resource which was a major web development project that TMP Government worked to develop with a team of companies on an Inter-agency agreement under OPM you may want to check out is [email protected] – this is a powerful career exploration and development resource you can use to manage your career. At present there are 13 MOS but the number of positions and paths as well as career maps should expand over the coming year. Check out a or click on [email protected]

    You will find online some great resources to manage, track, and identify next steps in your career.

    For VA employees it includes gap analysis tools, and helpful guidance for discussions between you and your manager.

    John Bersentes

    TMP Government

  • #155081

    Larnise Boain

    Hi there,

    You can also see IT roadmap, this might provide some information to guide you. We’re now working to develop and IT career path for 2210s at DHS. When that is up and running, I’ll post our status.

    Larnise Boain,

    Talent Strategist

    Boain Consulting Group

  • #155079

    Michael B Fraser

    Looking back over three decades, several highlights standout for me.

    1. You need to be the CEO of your own career since nobody else is going to bring the same focus and enthusiasm to it as you will.

    2. Look for mentors, both formal and informal, to guide you. The wiley veteran’s will be happy to share some of their lessons learned.

    3. Look for education as well as developmental assignments both in the field and hq, in staff and line roles, get the PMP certification as a professional in the field, join the local PMI Chapter to network.

    4. National Defense University iCollege (IRMC) has an IT Program Manager’s Certificate Program which can also meet the growing focus on professional creditionals in the Federal Government.

    5. Get involved with the smaller projects at first as a technical team member, then move up in scale and scope over time.

    6. Learn to speak budget, acquisition, and personnel in addition to your growing IT technical and project skills.

    7. Consider a tour in the Program Management Office (PMO) or Enterprise PMO as well as some government-wide or cross-agency taskforces addressing broad government-wide issues that cross silos..

    8. Master the fine art of getting work done through contractors, cross-servicing organizations, and in the cloud especially with Software as a Service (SaaS).

    9. Practice your negotiation and other soft leadership skills since you will constantly be in negotations over scope, quality, technical requirements, personnel and financial resources, and schedules while working on IT Portfolios, Programs and Projects..

    There is more but these should get you started.

    Best of luck,

    Michael Fraser, PMP


  • #155077

    Deena Larsen

    Thanks! Could I quote you in our government newsletter?

    Deena Larsen, Technical Writer, Reclamation, delarsen @

  • #155075

    Steve Ressler

    Great tips – I like #7 – good to manage various projects but also work at a PMO to get to see a variety of projects, how they are managed, and what works/doesnt

  • #155073

    Michael B Fraser

    Sure. Please send me a copy.

  • #155071

    Mihail Sadeanu

    Hello Josh et al.,

    Among, the most important challenging aspects/topics to address for government and other today public sector project manager’s professional advancements and a careful career planning, I would like to mention that they are linked to some general aspects of project management in the government and public sector. Some of them, not necessarily in a logical order, are:

    i. Understanding and assessing what is the real definition of a public program/project at the level of a government/traditional and that of a non traditional agency (please, for short distinction see point iii below). Although the implication might not be seen at the first glance, a good mentioned assessment will allow: a well structuring process of the implied agency or public organization project management department/office, establishing specific roles for program and/or project managers job positions, as well as their necessary skills level for hiring processes. Top program and project managers should be hired on specific job positions for specific programs and projects.

    ii. Understanding the the real definition of a project manager and his professional and social value in the governemnt and generally in the public sector. The new project manager role should be one of personal committment in all job professional directions of activity and not a simple one of manager instead of, let’s say, a former administrator.

    iii. Distinguishing between different types of public sector project managers (e.g. project managers working within traditional federal or government/state agencies and in government municipal levels, respectively project managers working in non traditional agencies and public authorities) in order to channelize them on the proper road for continuous improvement and professional advancement with tightly connections to their specific program and project management responsibilities.

    iv. Transforming the public sector (good and capable) administrators, who are mostly process-oriented, into program&project managers becoming program&project oriented (e.g.: ). This implies also a change in their financial vision for program and/or project management instead of former usual funding administration processes.

    v. Teaching and continuously enhancing the new skills, attributes, and requiremnents to the new program&project managers of the public sector derived from former administrators, for a proper practical implementation of new acquired knowledges through practical appliance in managing programs and projects (e.g. “Using PRINCE2 to manage US Federal Government IT Projects – by Richard Tucker” leaflet, downloadable from: ).

    vi. The above point asks in consequence for a good commitment to certifications and continuous professional improvements by participating to advanced training courses and passing real exams like PMI PMP and PRINCE2:2009 Foundation/Practitioner/Professional, then for higher certifications for program management, project portfolio management, project management office management (PgM, PPM, PMO), etc. Sometimes, a personal commitment with private payments for training courses and exams passing gives a higher motivation to the respective manager for a higher professional dedication to the PM field.

    vii. Training the public sector program&project managers in order to gain leadership and managerial competencies, as well as specific social&professional responsibilities based on new ethics and internal controls of current traditional and non traditional agencies.

    viii. Making public sector program and project managers to become efficient managers and effective leaders through practical leadership is another aspect, for which a future target might become the management of a PMO or a PPM office as well as a national governmental program director responsibility.

    ix. Improving the financial management capacity of project managers by managing projects through new financial visions based on specific business-case(s) with (agency’s) project sponsor(s), performing financial analyses on each gate-review of a project stage together with sponsor or bank representatives, and periodically performing cost performance analyses through EVM-based methods for project progress/advances reporting.

    x. Managing the program&projects for the public sector taking into account specific rules, regulations and Government/Agency Standards which, most of them, are specific and apart of the industry/economic Standards used for private sector

    For many of the above current aspects, the most remarcable answers from real practice I read until now are given by David Kassel in his authored famous book: “Managing Public Sector Projects: A Strategic Framework for Success in an Era of Downsized Government (ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy)”, CRC Press, 2010 ( ).



  • #155069

    Josh Nankivel

    No, not really. It’s more of a organization by organization basis in the private sector, and I don’t think I’ve seen things like this. I’d almost expect NASA to have something like this for their agency though..

  • #155067

    Josh Nankivel

    Wow, thanks Mihail!

  • #155065

    I’d love a copy, too, Deena.

  • #155063

    Vajitha Ghouse

    We asked the same question, and then set out to design and develop a career path for project practitioners in the Ontario Public Service. It required extensive research and consultations over a year. The career path is now ready and we are going through approvals currently to launch it. I can share more when the product gets the final blessing.

  • #155061

    Deena Larsen

    thanks Michael. Unfortunately, I can not get your send message on govloop to work. Could you send me your email? I am at delarsen “@” without the quotes.


  • #155059

    Steve Ressler

    +1 Just my editorial comment only and not reflective of any of the organizations that I have worked for past or present but as I prepare to take the PMP I think number seven and number eight is a must. In addition, I agree as well you are the CEO of your career. I found passion and knowledge in an area that I am crazy about digital, sales, marketing and finance. I think IT is wonderful and great and it’s an area that I know but that is not an area I am passionate about and people need to realize that if that is not in your bellywick you can find another area that they too are passionate and crazy about and find their bellywick for project, portfolio and program management.



  • #155057

    Mihail Sadeanu

    Hello Larnise Boain,

    Very new valuable information for updating/developing the new career path in IT field. Anyhow, as a constructive proposal, I would like to warn around the hyperlink.

    Starting on the site of the above hyperlink,, the right pane “Links” includes in its turn the hyperlink called Interpretive Guidance for Project Manager Positions. Clicking on this hyperlink leads to automatically downloading the document “Interpretive Guidance for Project Manager Positions “ reference CG03-0001 August 2003, in .pdf format. If not already done, it should be updated. Some referenced points for updating are:

    a).-The document is referencing on page 2: “PMBOK®, an American National Standard ANSI/PMI 99-001-2000”. Since 2003, the PMI PMBOK Standard was reissued two times, in 2004 and respectively in 2008. The new version PMBOK® Guide–Fifth Edition is available for review until 3/20/2012. Its final form will be issued this year. Also, the new ISO 21500 Standard – Guidance on project management, which is in the Final Draft form (FDIS) posted on the ISO portal will be issued this year might be a good reference for overarching purposes in this field. Modestly, I mention my participation in the WG3 (working group) for ISO 21500 standard.

    b).- Project Manager Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities/Competencies, mentioned on pages 4-5, should be reviewed and improved with new requested directions as: Professional and Social Responsibility, referencing for example the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

    c).-The IT Project Manager Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities/Competencies mentioned on page 6, should be updated after those 10 years with new current directions/topics, e.g. for Infrastructure Design the new concept of Data Center Consolidation should be mentioned, while for Technology Awareness one of the most representative directions is the Cloud Computing. New consistent knowledge, skills and abilities/competencies are mentioned at:

    d).-On page 7, the referencing text “The Information Technology Management Series, GS-2210 “ points to the document “ INTERPRETIVE GUIDANCE FOR THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT SERIES, GS-2210 “ referenced as CG01-0001 June 2001. If not already done, it should be also updated.

    e).-On page 8, the text “Introduction to the Position Classification Standards,“ leads to the document entitled “Introduction to the Position Classification Standards “ referenced as TS-134 July 1995, TS-107 August 1991 Revised: August 2009. This seems to be the newest one for the submitted topics.


    I would like to mention also a former link, now broken:, which until 2010 mentioned some required characteristics for project manager job position. I do not know if a new link exists on this subject, anyhow the requirements were formerly presented from those of the above mentioned document: “Interpretive Guidance for Project Manager Positions


    Dr. Mihail Sădeanu,

    APMG PRINCE2® Registered Practitioner, PMI PMP, IAPPM CPD, AAPM MPM, IPMC CIPM

    6 Sigma Master Black Belt, ExpertRating TQM,


    Scientific Researcher 1-st Rank

  • #155055

    Josh Nankivel

    Excellent, I’d love to see what you come out with!

  • #155053

    Josh Nankivel

    Amen, do the work you love and it’ll never feel like work!

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