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Two simple tools - goals and measurement - are among the most powerful leadership mechanisms available to a President for influencing the vast scope of federal agencies. Goals and measurement are useless, however, unless used. Both Presidents Clinton and Bush undertook efforts to use performance information to manage. President Barack Obama has promised it will be on his agenda as well. What have we learned over the past 16 years that can help the Obama administration move forward quickly? This report reviews the lessons learned. The author's premise is that performance information should be used to improve performance, not just report performance for accountability purposes. She offers a series of recommendations to the President, the Office of Management and Budget, new agency heads, and the Performance Improvement Council on ways to make performance information a vital element of success.
Great report for the IBM Center, you really hit the nail on the head!
I just printed out a copy and gave it to my soon to be former boss and soon to be Deputy Secretary of HUD, Ron Sims.
Sadly, I also found no small number of your findings that apply right here at the local level as well.
I look forward to referencing this work when people question our approach and what we need to be successful. -- Michael Jacobson, King County, Washington
The public sector has seen a recent plethora of written advice to the incoming administration. The Performance Management Recommendations for the New Administration was by far the most coherent, well supported, list of practical approaches to date. We passed your work around my office and are considering some of your recommendations, whether or not the new administration adopts your advice.
I personally enjoyed the treatment of improvements for program evaluations. Going way back, it could also be of value to consider up front the feasibility of evaluating a program. As Wholey indicated, there may be a number of factors impacting the ability to evaluate a program. OMB never acknowledged this. You hinted at this by opting for program advice on how a program's unit of analysis should be determined. Programs still may have a vested interest in the unit of analysis from the standpoint of gamesmanship. There is the opportunity for programs to define a program for OMB review as a ruse in the hopes other areas will not be considered for years to come.
Likewise your suggestion for improved training opportunities for OMB staff is welcome. Competent performance professionals are developed over time. Solutions to today's programmatic problems could be nonlinear. Unfortunately, nonlinear thinking is not abundant among OMB budget examiners, who were saddled with program evaluation throughout the former administration. Neither is creativity in problem solving abundant among OMB examiners. A fair dose of humility is needed to learn from others in a dynamic environment--such a value seems lacking among our examiners. The organizational climate, proximity to political truth central, and history of OMB do not lend themselves well to real problem solving for public management. Your suggestion for third party input in the review process is welcome, but difficult in practice, due to the reality of costs associated with externally based, presumably more objective, input. This was a flaw in OMB's evaluation criterion for independent review under PART.
GPRA always assumed program reviews as a responsible component of Federal management without a specific mandate or accompanying budget authority. Program managers typically view managerial reviews as optional unless mandated by some embarrassment or necessity.
I am dismayed by today's problems with ethics in government. This includes a lack of the basic value of the common good in both the Legislative and Executive Branches, a value which was evident throughout the considerations of the early public servants--who often lost fortunes due to their sacrifices to run a fledgeling government.
I hope we see more of your ideas out there. -- Michael Pittman, Program Analyst, Office of Planning and Analysis, Bureau of Indian Affairs
I wanted to let you know how on point I thought your report "Performance Management Recommendations for the New Administration" is. It should be required reading! I really enjoyed it and thought you articulated many of the concerns and improvements that I've felt and heard over the years very eloquently!! GREAT JOB!!
One of the many spectacular ideas that you touched on that I think is often understated and underestimated, is the power of using performance trends and data to stimulate and motivate innovation and discovery. That is so critical to moving forward and getting programs back on track.
I so hope folks take your recommendations to heart...I know I will! -- Louis Mauney, U.S. Army
An excellent analysis of the status and history of recent performance management mechanisms. The recommendations should be applied at the State as well as Federal government level. -- Dr. Denzil Verardo, CA Department of Toxic Substances Control
Performance management is the missing link in transparency. Most attempts at transparency, including Missouri's portal are roughly equivalent to posting a picture of puzzle pieces on the web. You can claim you are transparent. You can claim you have included everything. What you cannot claim is that what you posted is meaningful. Yes, I can see all the contracts Missouri had. Yes I can see all the expenses. What I cannot see is the whole picture. I can see almost every detail of the $22 billion Missouri spent last year. What I cannot see is anything at all about what Missouri got for its $22 billion. More importantly I cannot tell if anything it got was at all close to what Missouri intended to get. I also get no sense if we are getting better or worse in terms of outcomes and in terms of processes.
What is often overlooked or at least not discussed is performance management capacity. Are we learning how to do better? Are we adapting? Are we weighing the cost of outcomes both as we seek alternatives for a given outcome and as we weighh priorities? -- Tom Sadowski of Missouri