Read first: Project management process overview


The GOVPROP Academy project management (PM) section describes the process of planning and controlling the performance of a government project from inception to closure.

It is also consistent with the GOVPROP Academy Business Development Process. Notice that the Project Initiation section deals with what a project will produce — in other words, the desired outcome. The Project Execution, Monitoring and Control section deals with how the project will be accomplished. Where practical, the Project Manager (PM) should attempt to complete as much of the project initiation and planning phase as possible prior to contract award.

How to use this Material

As a PM, you need two types of training:

  • Facts…the “how to do it”
  • And Skills…the basic techniques every manager should possess

The PM articles in the Academy focus on the facts…the specific activities, interfaces and resources you need to be successful. They also provide many useful templates and checklists.

The target audience is newly promoted PMs, less experienced PMs, PMs new to your company and PMs in need of a refresher. All PMs are encouraged to further develop their PM skills through training from the PMI and DAU Project Management related curriculum.

The Academy PM articles cover all nine PMBOK® Guide knowledge areas:

  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management

There are numerous sizes and flavors of government projects ranging from major services contracts involving multiple labor categories to complex software development to simpler projects comprised of just one or two person tasks. The complexity of a project also depends on whether your company is the prime or subcontractor. Regardless, it is important to involve other experienced managers in the planning process to get their perspectives to benefit from lessons learned on previous projects.

Most contractors differentiate between program and project management. A project manager (PM) is usually responsible for a single project or several smaller projects or tasks usually for a single government agency. A Program Manager (PgM) is usually responsible for multiple larger projects and might have one or more PMs reporting to him or her. This span of control might encompass more than one agency. Specific PMI definitions of project and program management are provided in the two following paragraphs.


Project management is “…the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to meet or exceed sponsors’ needs and expectations from a project (PMBOK® Guide).” Project management balances competing demands (scope, time, cost, quality, requirements, etc.) throughout the project lifecycle.  Limited available resources require the efficient use of contract dollars. Project management helps your company maintain efficiency by making sure that the right people complete the right tasks at the right time.

A program is “…a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually (PMBOK® Guide).” Laws and regulations establish programs for government projects.

This section deals primarily with the activities of a single project managed by a project manager (PM).


The extent to which tailoring – deviating from the processes described iin this section – applies to a specific project is determined when developing the project’s project management plan (PM Plan) and should be fully documented. Projects may be tailored according to their size and complexity, as well as the type and context of the project, as defined by customer requirements.  In all cases of tailoring, your company policies and procedures should serve as guidelines from which projects may be tailored. The process employed should be compliant with the policies provided in this document.  PMs should document any approved tailored practices and documentation requirements in the PM Plan.

Authority and responsibility

Your company PM possesses the ultimate authority and responsibility in the execution of the project.  Within the constraints of corporate policy, legal requirements, and uncompromising ethical conduct, the PM is given considerable latitude in the execution of a program.  Specifically the PM should be:

  • Assigned responsibility for the successful execution of the project
  • Given authority over the assets, resources, and personnel needed to successfully execute the project
  • Rewarded for successful performance
  • Held accountable for their actions

Your company senior management should ensure the PM’s authority, responsibility and latitude is put in place so that effective management of the project will result.  It is senior management’s responsibility and commitment to create and foster an environment that facilitates successful program management and execution.

– Mike Lisagor


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