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IT Project Management Certification

Qualifications & Requirements

The reason that the government supports Project Management Certification is that there is a need for all Project Management Professionals to work consistently, use common terminology, and apply the methods of Project Management in a common way.  Certification insures that the Project Manager who is certified is knowledgeable about the Project Management Body of Knowledge and can apply it successfully.

The following are a number of the various regulations governing Project Management and the Certification process:

OMB Requirement
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in a continuing effort to strengthen accountability for information technology (IT) expenditures, stated in the FY 2004 pass back that beginning in FY 2004, IT projects must be managed by a qualified project manager (PM) or risk loss of funding.

In July 2004, the Federal CIO Council developed the Federal IT Project Manager Guidance, referred to in the FY 2005 Budget Passback, that required by September 30, 2004, all major projects will be managed by project managers qualified in accordance with CIO Council guidance.

Beginning in BY 2007, the Exhibit 53 has a field associated with every investment that requires submitters to provide the IT Project Management Qualification Status, as issued in OMB Project Management Guidance (M-04-19). Exhibit 53 investments are also required to have Qualified Project Managers.  The IT PM Qualification process was updated to include the requirements for non-major Exhibit 53s.

Initial Planning
Because OMB did not initially define “qualified” in their requirement, DOE went on the hypothesis that each agency could have their own definition of  “qualified” and setup their individual tailored programs.  DOE established an internal team to discuss and research project management certification initiatives and services provided  by  NASA, USDA, DOJ, HUD, GSA (STAR program), OPM, Federal CIO Council, Project Management Institute (PMI), ESI International, National Defense University, George Washington University, Management Concepts, and American University.

The team also met with the Project Management Career Development Program (PMCDP) Team.  The PMCDP team was formed after the Secretary tasked the Office of Engineering and Construction Management, ME-90, with developing a program to increase the quality/capabilities of the Department’s Project Managers.  The PMCDP’s focus is construction and engineering.  The PMCDP team was helpful in identifying the concepts of levels of PMs, general courses and experiences required.  Meetings were also conducted with the CFO’s office where it was agreed that the CIO should leverage the PMCDP program.  The CFO’s office representative agreed to fund courses needed in FY 2003 and FY2004.  Congress instructed that starting in FY2004 the PMCDP funding should fall under the Working Capital Fund.

Leveraging the PMCDP
To meet the OMB requirements, the Office of the CIO partnered with the Office of Engineering and Construction Management (ME-90) in its efforts to establish a qualification process similar to the Project Management Career Development Program (PMCDP) but specifically responsive to IT requirements.  The PMCDP program, based upon the core competencies of the PMI, builds core project management skills to be leveraged in various functional areas across DOE.  The governance for the qualification process will expand upon existing IT capital planning and investment control policy and procedures within the CIO's office.

Alignment with the Federal CIO Council Guidelines for IT Project Managers
The DOE IT Council reviewed the DOE IT Project Management Certification Plan to align with the Federal CIO Council IT Project Manager Guidance.  The DOE IT PM Certification process was already closely aligned with the Federal CIOC guidelines; however, several recommendations were accepted to more closely align to OMB requirements.  The IT Council adopted the recommendation to change from a certification process to a qualification process.

Through an ongoing effort to strengthen the caliber of DOE’s qualified IT PMs, the IT PM qualification process has been modified to include Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) training at DOE’s qualification Level 1 instead of at Level 2.  EVMS has been deemed to be a critical component of the basic IT project management skill set and the Department is focused on integrating the principles of EVMS with its management of major IT investments.  The IT Council, acting as the governing body for the IT PM Qualification Process, agreed with the recommendation that DOE IT Project Managers previously certified at Level 1 without EVMS training be required to complete EVMS training by September 30, 2005 to maintain Level 1 Qualification.  DOE’s OCIO developed a plan of action to work through the DOE IT Council to continue to modify the DOE IT PM Qualification process to further align it with the CIOC guidelines.

System Categorization  
As PMs are identified by the submission of Exhibit 300’s, their qualification level is determined by the system categorization.  The identified systems were categorized either Level 1, 2 or 3 depending upon the criteria:  Level 1 are division, bureau or agency projects and/or project costs up to $20M; where as Level 2 are those cross-cutting projects or agency-wide system integration projects across the Department and/or project costs up to $100M.  Level 3 are large, inter-governmental or government-wide complex, high risk IT projects (e.g., E-Government, mission critical functions, or high interest projects) and/or project costs greater than $100M.

  • For Exhibit 53 submissions classified as non-major IT Systems, there is one level of PM Qualification. 
  • For Exhibit 53 submissions classified as major IT Systems, the 3 Levels of the Exhibit 300 IT PM Qualification requirements apply.