The State Comparative Performance Measurement Project: Benchmarking Organizations Provide a Forum for Information Exchanges on Business Practices, Strategies, Solutions to Common Problems, and Innovative Ideas

By Mucha, Michael J. | Government Finance Review, February 2010 | Go to article overview

The State Comparative Performance Measurement Project: Benchmarking Organizations Provide a Forum for Information Exchanges on Business Practices, Strategies, Solutions to Common Problems, and Innovative Ideas


Mucha, Michael J., Government Finance Review


Many governments benchmark or compare their performance data against data from similar organizations. Of course, the term "benchmarking" can be defined in different ways, not always yielding the same results. While comparing data is the primary activity involved, organizations undertake benchmarking efforts so they will be able to use those comparisons to improve performance. But simply collecting measures, compiling data, and publishing a report are not enough to accomplish that goal. Managers must be engaged; they need to analyze and interpret the information, and use it to set policies or make informed decisions.

This is where participating benchmarking organizations can be valuable as part of an overall performance management approach. Being a member of a benchmarking organization ensures that measure definitions are consistent and data is collected uniformly to facilitate comparisons, but it also provides a forum for information exchanges on business practices, strategies, solutions to common problems, and innovative ideas. Benchmarking organizations play a vital role by organizing and coordinating the exchange of information and ideas needed to improve results in key service areas.

KEY ROLES

To generate service improvement, benchmarking organizations fulfill several specific roles.

Defining Common Performance Measures. Comparative data means that organizations have consistent data definitions and use the same method of data collection. To be effective, performance measures also need to be defined in a way that provides useful information without being overly burdensome to the government. If an organization has too many measures, or measures that are too complex or difficult to collect, the data collection effort runs the risk of being costly, misunderstood, and easily manipulated. Defining performance measures requires functional expertise in each particular subject matter and an understanding of the goals of each membership organization.

Ensuring an Apples-to-Apples Comparison. Comparisons lose their value if there is a mismatch in data sets. Avoiding this problem requires vigilance. Benchmarking organizations need to set collection rules carefully and verify that all information is collected in compliance with its rules.

Organizing and Publishing Data. After the data is collected, benchmarking organizations provide the valuable services of compiling information, analyzing it, and publishing it. Many benchmarking organizations use a shared services model, giving each membership jurisdiction access to the same technology system for inputting and displaying performance data. The same systems then allow access to that data so managers can review it.

Bringing People Together to Share Ideas. In addition to reviewing the data, many benchmarking organizations hold annual conferences, training sessions, and other events that allow members from different organizations to network, share practices, and collaborate on solutions to common problems that were identified by the data. Sharing information is essential for successful benchmarking. Information sharing is more common in the public sector than in the private sector, and where services are similar, governments should pursue every opportunity to learn from the experiences of peer governments.

On the local government level, a few organizations have been successful at using comparative benchmarking to help start the sharing of practices, strategies, and ultimately ideas. The ICMA Center for Performance Measurement and the North Carolina Benchmarking Project are two of the best-known examples. Other successful groups include the Florida Benchmarking Consortium, the Ontario Municipal CAO's Benchmarking Initiative, the South Carolina Benchmarking Project, and the Southeastern Results Network. In fact, of respondents to a recent GFOA performance management survey, 31 percent of jurisdictions that said they use performance management indicated that they collected a common set of measures across the organization and shared data with other organizations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The State Comparative Performance Measurement Project: Benchmarking Organizations Provide a Forum for Information Exchanges on Business Practices, Strategies, Solutions to Common Problems, and Innovative Ideas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.