Original Forum Question:
Before you can answer this question, you must understand what program management is. Your textbook takes a shot at defining this concept but providing the definition from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) glossary. What is clear from this definition is that program management has a centralized leader (the program manager) who is ultimately responsible for an entire effort, down to the minute details. Think of anything that you are responsible for in your life and think about how every aspect of that responsibility is accomplished; it doesnâ€t have to be job related. Now think about how that responsibility is taken care of or accomplished. There is numerous steps in a harmonious process, many of which rely on a previous step to complete. The accomplishing of that responsibility is likened to managing the â€œprogram.â€
Please respond to at least 2 other students. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words and include direct questions.
Student1 (April): Program management is the process of managing several related projects, often with the intention of improving an organization’s performance. Many times, the projects that are being manager are similar in nature and the goal is to streamline the mission of the agency. Whenever you are talking about a program manager, there are several traits that make for a successful program manager. One trait or perspective that is important for a program manager is the ability to see the big picture. Program managers oversee many different and moving pieces so they need to be able to see all these pieces at once and understand and make sure all these pieces fit together and work. Program managers also must possess a strong sense of responsibility or accountability. Program managers must be able to decide who is responsible for tasks being done in a timely manner and hold them accountable if things arenâ€t done in a timely manner. Program managers must also be able to track finances. All projects are held to limited resources so the program manager must be able to ensure resources are allocated to the maximum extent possible. Program managers must also be risk takers and have the ability think outside the box. This innovative ability will help keep program managers on the cutting edge and help them improve the program they are working. Finally, program managers must be very organized not only for themselves but to ensure the program is successful. Program managers must ensure schedule are being met and many moving parts are all functions together. You canâ€t achieve this goal unless you are very well organized.
As stated in our course materials, Introduction to Defense Acquisition Management, the job title of â€œprogram manager (PM)â€ is used very broadly. Every company may use a different phrase or title, and every DoD component may assign a more specific title i.e. program director, project manager, product manager, etc. The designated individual with responsibility for and authority to accomplish program objectives for development, production, and sustainment to meet the userâ€s operational needs. The Program Manager shall be accountable for credible cost, schedule, and performance reporting to the Milestone Decision Authority. (DoDD 5000.01, 2017).
With such a vital position as the PM, the job holds some serious prerequisites, and the global industry recognizes the importance of certain skills necessary to perform efficiently in such a billet. Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) became the U.S. standard, and in order to maintain those high standards, the Government consistently created new policies through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). This resulted in a special board of advisors. The OFPPâ€s Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan for Civilian Agencies, a multi-agency Functional Advisory Board (FAB), was established to refresh the P/PM competencies and recommend improvements to the certification standards. The initial FAC for P/PMs was issued in April 2007 and while many important steps toward strengthening P/PMs have been taken since then, more work remains (Jordan, 2013). The revised program is designed to strengthen civilian agency P/PMs to improve program outcomes, and reflects the need to improve the management of high-risk, high-impact program
Two major agencies that help with certification requires are the Federal Acquisition Institute and the Project Management Institute. There are civilian agencies as well as DoD however, the skills of the P/PMs are the same. They are critical in developing accurate government requirements, defining measurable performance standards, and managing life-cycle activities to ensure that intended outcomes are achieved (Brown, 2010). They should have the ability to manage and evaluate moderate to high-risk programs or projects that require significant acquisition investment and agency knowledge and experience, apply and utilize earned value management, apply advanced management and acquisition practices, and any related activities (FAI, 2018). To sum up these qualities one could argue that Time Management and Adaptability are tied for first.
Time management comes into play as the top skill required because only through proper organizational skills and strict dedication to oneâ€s self can a program remain on time, or on schedule for extended periods. To further drive this point one must recognize that projects end shortly where programs usually take much longer, or are an overarching premise of many projects. Thus, there are an unfathomable amount of discrepancies that may occur throughout the timeline of a project and the PM needs to have a third person perspective of everything. Without project leads reporting on time or conducting appropriately timed meetings and hitting milestones the program can be thrown askew. Without understanding how to control personal time, project times, and every other aspect of time, the PM will more than likely become overwhelmed. Completed projects will, one after another, fall behind schedule until the entire program is derailed. Too early or too late can have adverse effects on other pieces of the puzzle, combating this becomes one of the most essential aspects of program management.
I only mention adaptability as a sister quality because changes happen so quickly. Without the ability to adapt to those changes the PMâ€s other skills are moot. Not only does this involve time and processing things quickly but it also applies to environments. Whether dealing with vertical communication within the company, or addressing officials of another forum, adaptability and the complexities involved with that attribute become one of the most important qualities as well- right alongside the PMâ€s quintessential time management techniques.
Brown, B. (2010). Introduction to Defense Acquisition Management. Fort Belvoir, VA: Defense Acquisition University.
DoDD 5000.01. (2017, January 17). DoD Directives Division. Retrieved from Executive Services Directorate: http://www.esd.whs.mil/DD/
FAI. (2018, January 17). Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM). Retrieved from Federal Acquisition Institute: https://www.fai.gov/drupal/certification/program-a…
Jordan, J. G. (2013). MEMORANDUM FOR CHIEF ACQUISITION OFFICERS SENIOR PROCUREMENT EXECUTIVES. Washington, D.C.: Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/fi
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