major service area we offer is training in performance measurement for
government. Over the years we have presented hundreds of training sessions and
trained thousands of managers and staff in Canada and the United States. There
are three main categories of performance measurement training we provide.
to Do It Workshops
are one or two day sessions designed to teach government managers how to develop
meaningful performance measurements for their own programs, and how to use
performance measurements not only in accountability reporting but also in a
variety of management processes including strategic planning, operational
planning and control, program evaluation, manager's performance appraisal and
resource allocation. The concepts are provided in simple, logical steps and are
illustrated with many examples from real government programs. The workshop is
very participative. Case studies, again drawn from real government programs, are
used to provide participants with practice at applying the concepts they have
option many of clients select instead of case studies is to develop
performance measures for participants' own programs right there in the workshop.
This is a highly effective and efficient workshop because the participants not
only gain the skills they need to develop and use performance measurement, but
they also leave with a product of immediate practical value to them as managers.
With most clients we also edit the work done during the workshop and prepare a
report on workshop proceedings.
workshops are aimed at government staff who are responsible for implementing
performance measurement on a department wide or government wide basis. They are
two days in length. They cover the same topics presented in the Ahow to do it@ workshops, but in addition we address such issues as data collection,
consulting with managers, training, implementation strategy and tactics. This
workshop also uses many examples and case studies and is very participative.
Briefings and Conference Presentations
and presentations aimed at introducing public servants and elected officials to
the concepts and uses of performance measurement are also available. They can
range anywhere from twenty minutes to half a day in length. Participants learn
the basics of how to develop performance measurements, but the primary focus is
on how performance measurement can be used in a variety of practical
applications. Again, examples are used to illustrate concepts. Some clients have
used such presentations to kick off a government wide performance measurement
initiative, ensuring all managers hear the same message.
also provide a training kit on performance measurement. This kit is meant
for clients who will be using their own staff to deliver performance measurement
training throughout the organization. The kit consists of a PowerPoint
presentation, together with speaking notes for each slide, and instructions on
how to organize and stage a workshop on performance measurement.
addition we provide training on the following topics:
course deals with all the subjects of strategic planning, but adds the rigour of
performance measurement, results forecasting and budgeting in order to ensure a
clear link between strategy and operations.
This workshop teaches the fundamentals of designing and implementing a
benchmarking initiative aimed at identifying and adopting best practices.
balanced scorecard is an approach to performance measurement which was developed
primarily for private sector firms. Therefore we typically recommend it for
government owned corporations, public utilities and special operating agencies
which are mandated to operate in the private sector. In concept it is very
similar to the Program Logic Model, though, so we often adapt it to various
government programs. We frequently provide training on the balanced scorecard,
including workshops where participants develop a scorecard for their own
This workshop covers the fundamentals of survey research, focus groups,
interviewing and other methods of determining what clients think about the
performance of a government program, what they feel their needs are.
Oriented Performance Appraisal.
This two day workshop helps front line managers and supervisors in managing
the performance of individuals who report directly to them.
Another major service is direct consulting to specific
programs to assist them in designing and implementing performance measurement
and results oriented management processes, including the design of data
collection procedures and reporting processes. The techniques we employ will
vary according to the needs and situations of the client, but can include
internet and library research, document review and analysis, interviewing
managers and staff, quantitative analysis and many other methods. However, we
always aim for two features in any process we develop:
process must be designed with management's needs in mind because the primary
purpose of any performance
information system or management process must be to improve the effectiveness
and efficiency of service to the program's clients;
costs of the process must be kept low both in terms of resources and managers'
time, so we try
to develop a very concise set of performance measures, simple and
straightforward procedures, and use existing data as much as possible.
We have assisted a wide variety of government clients
in developing performance measurement processes, benchmarking, strategic
and business planning processes, operational planning and control
processes, and performance appraisal processes for managers and staff.
In addition we have assisted clients in developing and enhancing sources of non-tax
Of course, most government organizations already have
some form of performance reporting, strategic
or business planning, operational planning and control, and performance
appraisal processes. But how rigorous are they really? Too often these
processes are done simply to satisfy a central agency requirement. They are
often paper exercises that have little real impact on program operations. We
believe that to make a management process effective the use of performance
measurement is essential. Without this precision there is no way of knowing
the extent to which objectives are being accomplished, and thus where to
direct attention and resources. Performance measurement ensures that
management processes are results oriented.
OF PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT
have managed or played a central role in the design and implementation of many
government wide or department wide performance measurement projects, most
notably with the City of Toronto, the City of Seattle, Montgomery County in
Maryland, the State of Oklahoma, the Province of Ontario, the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of the Environment, the Ontario
Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Government of the Northwest Territories,
the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, and many others.
the implementation of a government or department wide results measurement
process, our work tends to fall into three categories:
we can help in the creation of an implementation plan which is thorough
and oriented toward achieving "buy-in" by government managers.
We believe that managers must perceive performance measurement as a tool which
will directly help accomplish the goals of their own programs; accountability
alone will not be sufficient motivation to sustain a performance measurement
system. Therefore the implementation plan must anticipate every opportunity to
get the performance indicators into use.
we are able to assist in the design and development of the performance
measurement process itself. The process should be documented in a concise way,
in the form of a Performance Measurement Handbook, comprehensible to
managers and illustrated with real government examples. It should address not
only how performance measures can be developed, but also how they can be used
in a variety of management processes.
we can undertake any task identified in the implementation plan. This
has normally included a training program aimed at government employees who
be responsible for implementing performance measurement within departments.
Such a "train the trainers" workshop is important to ensure
that the government has the capability of continuing to implement and maintain
the performance measurement initiative without the consultant's help. We can
also supply a training kit, mentioned in the previous section, so our
clients can conduct their own training.
Performance measurement is a means of evaluating, as
well as planning and monitoring, program performance. However, ongoing
performance measurement has limitations.
Performance measurement does not typically prove
causality. To what extent are strategic outcomes the result of program
Performance measurement does not prove need. Should the
government be in the business addressed by the program?
Performance measurement does not always account for
unintended consequences. Is the program having impacts, positive or negative,
beyond those which were intended when the program was designed?
Performance measurement methods may be limited by cost,
political sensitivity or other issues of feasibility. Are there other data
collection methods that might be more accurate and representative but which
can only be employed on a special case basis?
To answer these questions properly requires program
evaluation. Program evaluation refers to special, in-depth studies of program
effectiveness. There are two main types of program evaluation. One type is
known as Asummative@, which asks whether the program is still
needed, whether it has been effective over time, whether there have been
unintended consequences, and whether the program is the primary cause of the
intended strategic outcomes. The other type of evaluation is called Aprocess@, which asks whether the program has been
implemented as intended, and whether there may be alternative program delivery
methods that might produce better results. Our team has an outstanding track
record of conducting rigorous program evaluations which produce important and
useful findings for our clients.
A related service we also offer is Program Review.
This term has generally come to refer to studies which are specifically aimed
at reducing government expenditure. When we undertake a program review
we look for potential savings in the following areas:
Activities that do not fit with the program mission.
Over time government programs can undertake activities that might be useful,
even successful, in their own terms, but that lie outside the mandate of the
Activities that might be done in partnership with other stakeholders. Government has had a tendency to try to "do it all", but a case can often be made that certain stakeholders benefit or are affected more than others, and thus ought to be expected to contribute to program delivery.
Activities that could be done by the private sector. It
is a mistake to think that the private sector is always more efficient than
government, but the private sector is often free of some of the constraints
government is subjected to, so it can often deliver faster and sometimes
cheaper. As well, government can vary the amount of service it buys with
greater ease than if a government work force is used.
Client service standards that clarify service level
expectations. Such standards can often be set in cooperation with clients,
and they can be very valuable in controlling expenditure. From an
expenditure constraint standpoint, the real utility of setting client
service standards is not so much in increasing client satisfaction as it is
in managing client demand.
Activities that have revenue potential. Up until a few
years ago it was common for government to underprice services or products it
sold. This has changed greatly in all areas of non‑tax revenue,
including fines and penalties. But there is still potential for more
non‑tax revenue through increasing prices or charging for services
never before priced. Moreover, we need to look at pricing not simply as cost
recovery, but also as a method of cost control. If a service is free or
underpriced, clients will use more of it, thus increasing government
expenditure. But attaching a price, or a higher price, to a service will
reduce utilization and thus reduce government spending.
"Creaming". Government usually wants to treat
every client equally, but some can be served at lower cost than others, or
serving some clients will produce better program results for the same money.
Business process reengineering. Although many years of
constraints have encouraged greater efficiency in government, opportunities
remain to reduce unit production costs by scrutinizing work processes in
Benchmarking. We in government have missed many chances
to discover ways to save money or improve service by comparing our
performance to the performance of other governments, and the private sector
too. All too often a government program has avoided benchmarking by claiming
that it would be comparing apples and oranges. But the whole point of
benchmarking is not to develop a scorecard, it is to identify, and copy,