A Message About Budget & Performance Integration From Robert Shea:
Improving Programs More than One at a Time
Over the last several years, I’ve participated in a lot of interagency efforts to find ways to improve program performance in a variety of areas. For the most part, the goal of these interagency collaborations was to improve the extent to which all of the agencies were working together to achieve their common goals. The challenges these collaborations face are the same:
To help address these challenges, none of which are unique to interagency collaborations, I asked several speakers to address the agency Budget and Performance Integration leads. Both asserted it’s imperative to have clear goals. One shared her experiences setting goals and using regular performance reporting to guide program activities. Another set out a hierarchy of evaluation strategies that can guide us in improving our knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.
- Agreeing on common, outcome-oriented goals
- Deciding what programs work best
- Committing to more rigorous evaluations.
A Primer on Goal Setting
The Mercatus Center’s Jerry Ellig used the goals he recommended for the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Programs as the backdrop for a discussion of the 7 steps toward effective measures. The steps Jerry recommends:
- Articulate “logic model”
- Identify specific, ultimate outcomes
- Identify intermediate outcomes (if needed)
- Develop measures for outcomes
- Analyze causation
- Measure cost-effectiveness, not just efficiency
- Include hidden costs
As we struggle to find the right way to measure our impact, Jerry’s steps provide a useful way to go about identifying the right goals for our programs. For his complete presentation, go to: Good Intentions vs. Real Accomplishments.
How to Use Performance Information to Improve
The University of Maryland’s Shelley Metzenbaum spoke about not only the need for clear goals, but of the value of setting goals and using performance information to motivate program partners. Setting goals, measuring our performance, and sharing information about what’s working and what’s not are key to achieving the shared goals of multiple agencies, programs, and partners. Shelley’s recent report, Performance Accountability: The Five Building Blocks and Six Essential Practices, can be found at www.businessofgovernment.org.
Rigorous Evaluation – Without it, How do we Know We’re Having an Impact
The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy’s Jon Baron provided the Academic Competitiveness Council with the attached pyramid to demonstrate the hierarchy of evaluation methodologies. There is a hunger for evidence of what works in every area in which the government is involved. The more rigorous evaluations that are conducted, the greater our understanding of what works will be. Then we can focus Americans will be better served. Click here to see Jon Baron’s pyramid.
Robert J. Shea
Counselor to the Deputy Director for Management