Your Idea for Improving Program Management Could Be Worth Something

Darren Baker/

The Performance Improvement Council has issued a challenge to federal employees, industry reps and the public to describe what public sector program management would ideally look like in 25 years.

The contest, posted to May 13, encourages people to respond in essay form (500 to 1,500 words) or with video submissions (up to 7.5 minutes) that could help spur positive change in government.

To kick-start the challenge, the Performance Improvement Council will award prizes based on the best overall, most popular and most original submissions, but respondents need to act quickly -- submissions will be accepted through May 27.

“The big thing we want in the end is to have really good conversation starters in what the future of program management is and what the future might look like so we can have more targeted solutions,” said Bethany Blakey, Performance Manager for the Performance Improvement Council.

“The more focused conversations about the future we can have now, the more we can prepare for that future,” said Blakey, who announced the challenge at Government Executive’s Excellence in Government conference.

Years of reduced budgets, furloughs and a shutdown have left many federal employees demoralized, but Blakey said the council seeks positive approaches to program management. A new vision could help the council and the rest of government get out ahead of program management problems before they become dire issues.

“We need to find a way to have positive conversations about program management. Many people see it in a variety of negative ways, but that’s not how we see it in the field,” Blakey said. “It’s about managing toward mission delivery.”

Participants may craft their submissions however they see fit, Blakey said, noting that the council didn’t want to constrain the flow of ideas.

“For the challenge, we’d love to see a flurry of visionary ideas, whether they are broad or specific, focused on certain technologies, demographics or certain roles in government that someone thinks are going to shift, or even a program they are involved in themselves,” Blakey said. “We want to see visions that might be changing in society and how they might impact federal programs going forward.”

For more information, visit or view the Performance Improvement Council’s challenge video. 

(Image via Darren Baker/

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