Magazine article Government Finance Review

Results Minneapolis: Performance Measurement Guides Good Decisions

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Results Minneapolis: Performance Measurement Guides Good Decisions

Article excerpt

Minneapolis focuses on outcomes and results, as opposed to outputs and activity-based measures.

Integration and alignment are the key characteristics of the performance measurement system developed by the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city has strived to integrate both an operational and a strategic focus by linking its CitiStat-inspired system, Results Minneapolis, with an extensive strategic and business-planning effort, Minneapolis 2020. By including performance data in the budget process, the city stands to significantly improve its budget discussions. Performance measures assist in keeping budget discussions focused on expected outcomes, allowing for greater creativity in how those outcomes are achieved; they can also give both policy makers and department management the language they need for discussing what resources are needed and why.


Minneapolis has been using performance measurement for several years. The current system is aligned with the city's strategic plan, which includes its long-term vision (Minneapolis 2020), five-year goals and strategic directions, and departmental business plans. Results Minneapolis, the city's new system of accountability, consists of weekly discussions between city leaders and one of the operational departments, focusing on that department's progress and using its key performance measures to guide the discussion. Business planning began in 2003, and each department has produced an annual business plan since 2004. Performance measures are tied to the business plans, which are then aligned with the city's goals and looked at during the Results Minneapolis discussions.

Minneapolis 2020 is the city's vision for the future. Following the mayoral election in fall 2005, the city's executive leadership started a new strategic planning process, taking three months to identify six city goals and 31 strategic objectives. They wanted to place increased emphasis on business planning and maximizing the performance measurement infrastructure put in place by the previous city administration. Business plans illustrate how the departments will implement these city goals and strategic directions. The departments' alignment of priorities with services helps them to effectively manage their resources and more accurately measure their progress.

The departments' business plans average 40 pages and contain many components, including an organizational chart, mission statement, brief description of primary business lines, department goals and objectives, and the identification of the department's alignment with city goals and performance measures. It is within the business plans that the link between city goals, department goals, and department objectives is clearly designated in table format. The extensive departmental business plans had been updated annually, but that generated a lot of work for department heads, overwhelming them with planning and taking time away from execution of these plans. Now the plans are updated every five years, with yearly progress reports in between.

Results Minneapolis began in June 2006.Through this program, department heads are held accountable for the measures tied to the department business plan. A panel of senior city management - composed of the city coordinator, mayor, one council member (the chair of the committee that has oversight responsibility for that particular department), the director of planning and management, and the directors of finance, human resources, and business information services - meet with the department head to review and discuss progress toward city and departmental goals. They typically look at eight to 15 key performance indicators, a select group of measures from the business plan that best illustrates the department's activity as it relates to city and department goals. Each department meets with the panel at least twice a year, and the larger departments such as police and public works meet four times a year. …

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