It is at least a starting point that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is starting to assess different government agencies against project management best practices (as defined by the Project Management Institute, or PMI). It is interesting that they are starting with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). On one hand, it makes sense since they deal with physical properties and construction, which lend itself better to traditional project management. On the other hand, it may not be the most effective place to start in the government (healthcare would have a bigger impact, for instance).
The six categories HUD was assessed within were: (1) project charter, (2) work breakdown structure, (3) project management plan, (4) requirements management plan, (5) requirements traceability matrix, and (6) acquisition strategy.
Interestingly, most projects had charters, but not clear accountability (insert joke about government (in)efficiencies here). Potentially more concerning, is at least two projects under major initiatives lacked “development” in four of the six categories, which implies minimal/insufficient project management over the project.
With the increasing pressure on the government (like the private industry) to do more with less, the historical inefficiencies will no longer be acceptable. One key way to deal with this is not to actually do less, but to be efficient by reducing overhead (i.e., project management). The fundamental advantage to project management (besides success) is planning ahead – which the government needs to do more of.
Hopefully, the GAO will continue to assess various government agencies (AND follow-up to confirm changes are made) so that the use of taxpayer’s money is as efficient as the use of money within the private sector.
Source: “HUD falters at project management”, June 14, 2013 (http://fcw.com/Articles/2013/06/14/GAO-HUD.aspx?Page=1)