Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act

Implications for US State and Local Governments


By Kenneth Perry

North Carolina, USA


The U.S. President signed S. 1550, the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), into law on December 14, 2016. PMIAA requires the US federal government to implement a number of Project and Program Management (for the purposes of the article, referred to as PPM) reforms and implement best practices to ensure the more effective practice of PPM. This law validates the importance of PPM and reinforces its applicability to projects and programs in the public-sector.

While the passage of PMIAA is a significant milestone in the broader recognition of PPM, it is important to remember that it is applicable to the US federal government only. The other two levels of government in the US – state and local – do not have similar legislation focused on PPM adoption in the public-sector. There may of course be outliers to this statement as there are, for example, over 89,000 distinct local governments in the United States.1 Nonetheless, generally speaking, regulations, mandates or policies requiring the adoption and practice of established PPM practices in state and local government bodies are rare, at best.

As a project professional interested in the expansion and recognition of the discipline, I am interested in ways to address this perceived gap. This is because adhering to PPM best practices and increasing organizational project management maturity can have huge benefits for organizations in the public-sector. For example, the National Academy of Public Administration reported that adopting PPM practices “would enable the government to more consistently and efficiently achieve important public purposes, save taxpayer dollars, enhance service delivery, and perhaps most importantly, rebuild public trust.”2 For these reasons and more, it is critical that state and local governments follow the lead of the federal government in mandating the formal adoption of established PPM practices.

However, rarely are Project and Program Managers in a position to actually craft policy or other legislation for the myriad state and local government bodies in the US. Therefore the question becomes, if I am a project professional interested in expanding the project management maturity level of my broader state or locality, what can I do to affect change? I believe there are at least three actions that could immediately be taken in response to this question. They are:


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About the Author

Kenneth Perry

Raleigh, NC, USA



Kenneth Perry is a collaborative and analytical project management professional with experience spanning the public-sector, private-sector and non-profits. He currently works as a Project Manager for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, a local government responsible for the development, operation and maintenance of RDU International Airport. Kenneth has an extensive background supporting large and complex projects located in the US and in the developing world. His professional strengths include project performance monitoring, analysis and reporting; process development and process improvement; program development; and project integration management. Kenneth has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He can be contacted on LinkedIn by visiting: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kennethsperry