Managing for Better Performance: Enhancing Federal Performance Management Practices

This report reviews the history of performance management efforts within the federal government and discusses the successes, challenges, and failures over the years. In addition, the report offers insights from other performance management experiences in both public and private sector organizations. The authors describe differences between private and public sector performance management practices, as well as present a comparative analysis of corporate and non-corporate use of good management practices.

The Management of Regulation Development: Out of the Shadows

In most federal mission areas-from low-income housing to food safety to higher education assistance-national goals are achieved through the use of various policy tools, such as direct spending, grants, loans and loan guarantees, insurance, tax preferences, and regulations. Although policy tools have proliferated in recent decades, knowledge of how to design and manage the federal policy tool set has not kept pace.

Designing and Implementing Performance-Oriented Payband Systems

According to Professor Thompson, there is widespread agreement among those who have examined compensation practices in the federal government that the approach embodied by the traditional General Schedule is obsolete. A common complaint is that the system is too rigid and that the 15-grade structure induces excessive attention to minor distinctions in duties and responsibilities. Another concern is that pay increases are granted largely on the basis of longevity rather than performance.

The E-Government Collaboration Challenge: Lessons from Five Case Studies

This report examines five diverse case studies in which collaboration depended on the effective use of information technology. The authors assess the political, administrative, and technical challenges that occurred in each of these five case studies and find commonalities across the cases in both the challenges faced and lessons learned. They conclude, "Interestingly, the technical challenges tended to be the least difficult to surmount...."

A Manager's Guide to Choosing and Using Collaborative Networks

This report can be viewed as a public manager’s primer on collaborative networks. It distills key concepts about the types and purposes of networks and, more importantly, what managers need to do if they find themselves in charge of or participating in a network. Authors’ practical insights are rooted in more than two decades of observing ongoing networks, mainly at the local and regional levels, where much of the innovative work in using networks is occurring.

Effectively Managing Professional Services Contracts: 12 Best Practices

This report is targeted to the growing pool of government managers who are responsible for managing professional services contracts. It gleans a dozen best practices, based on real-world experience, currently used by successful managers across the government. A major theme of these experiences is the importance of creating a more effective working relationship-much more like a partnership than the traditional adversarial relationship-between the project officer, the contract manager, and the contractor.

Public Deliberation: A Manager's Guide to Citizen Engagement

There are new and exciting opportunities to engage citizens by informing, consulting, involving, and collaborating with them through a number of techniques; for example, the use of online surveys and peer-to-peer communication tools such as blogs and wikis. Many of these are now being piloted and used by states, localities, and nonprofits. There is also an increased interest by federal agencies. But the challenge of reaching those who don’t already participate as activists or interest group members remains.

Executive Response to Changing Fortune: Sean O'Keefe as NASA Administrator

This report describes the tenure of Sean O’Keefe as administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The report describes how O’Keefe faced three difficult challenges during his three years at NASA. His first challenge was to solve the space station’s financial mess. His second challenge was to manage the aftermath of the Columbia shuttle disaster. His third challenge was to steward the President’s 2004 vision for the further exploration of space.

Grants Management in the 21st Century: Three Innovative Policy Responses

This report describes how the federal grant system has come under increased stress in recent years. In an effort to modernize the grant system, the report analyzes three recent reform initiatives in the area of grant management: performance partnerships,, and extensive waiver authority. The report explores the potential of each to mitigate some of the challenges facing grants management and design. The report concludes with a series of recommendations to improve federal grants management. Financial Management

The Transformation of the Government Accountability Office: Using Human Capital to Drive Change

The authors present an honest description of the transformation of the GAO. The report openly discusses challenges faced and overcome, mistakes made, and lessons learned. It challenges the reader to think broadly about human capital management as a driver for organizational transformation and what it can mean for the public sector as a whole. Like the Government Accountability Office, other public and private organizations have also successfully used human capital management to transform their organizations. Three keys appear to be essential to such transformation.


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