Performance Management Self Evaluation: While Governments Should Continually Evaluate and Look for Opportunities to Improve Their Services, the Same Can Be Done with Their Overall Performance Management Approach

Article excerpt

Performance management in the public sector is an ongoing, systematic approach to improving results through evidence-based decision making, continuous organizational learning, and a focus on accountability for performance. Performance management is integrated into all aspects of an organization's management and policy-making processes, transforming an organization's practices so it becomes focused on achieving improved results for the public.

Performance management is all the concerted actions an organization takes to improve results by applying objective information to management and policy making. Performance management uses evidence from measurement to support governmental planning, funding, and operations. Better information enables elected officials and managers to recognize success, identify problem areas, and respond with appropriate actions--to learn from experience and apply that knowledge to better serve the public. (1)


Performance management practices within governments are often shown as a cyclical diagram representing the ongoing iterations of planning, budgeting, management, and evaluation (see Exhibit 1). With each successive cycle, governments engage in overall learning and improvement and apply those lessons going forward.

While governments should continually evaluate and look for opportunities to improve their services, the same can be done with their overall performance management approach. More and more becomes possible as staff, managers, and elected officials continue to gain experience using performance data, and their competencies grow. With improvements come greater returns that allow governments to become even more efficient, effective, and responsive to changing external conditions and public expectation


(1.) Taken from A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving, the final report of the National Performance Management Advisory Commission. The report is available at

MICHAEL J. MUCHA is a senior consultant and analyst in the GFOA's Research and Consulting Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Self-Assessment Tool

This self-assessment tool is intended to help public managers
and practitioners apply key performance management elements
and identify areas for improvement. The questions are applicable
to a single program, a department, or an entire public agency.
As performance management efforts evolve, all organizations
will have opportunities for improvement; the intent of this self
assessment is to help prioritize areas that could be improved
and build momentum and consensus on the improvement
plan. To complete the checklist, select the option that is most
appropriate for the statement listed.

Readiness for Implementing Performance Management Systems

                           Strongly                   Strongly  Don't
                           Disagree  Disagree  Agree   Agree    Know

Managers and public
officials see the value
of a performance
management system and
endorse implementing one.

Staff can clearly
articulate the value and
objectives of a
performance management
system for the

Staff can define the
elements of the
performance management
system and how these
elements support the
organizational and
decision- making

The performance
management system
supports achieving the
organization's defined
goals and objectives.

Staff has expertise on
performance management
practices and principles. … 


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