Agencies Planning for Performance

kpeters@govexec.com

Hundreds of representatives from more than 54 federal, state, local and private organizations participated in the development of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's performance measurement system. Twenty working groups convened more than 80 meetings to set goals and establish measures for 94 performance targets in the year leading up to the publication of the Performance Measures of Effectiveness in March.

"When you have over 50 agencies involved it can very quickly become complicated," says ONDCP's John Carnevale, who coordinated the effort. He has a few words of wisdom for agencies trying to establish their own performance measures.

  • Accept the fact that you're not going to get consensus and be realistic about outreach. "In all my working groups, there was always somebody who left dissatisfied. Recognize that, but engage that process and reach out beyond your agency and bring in that expertise."
  • Think about your mission in the context of broader goals, and develop performance measures that reflect how the parts relate to the whole.
  • Don't be constrained by the lack of data, or you'll end up settling for second- and third-best solutions. "Think about what ought to be and then develop an agenda to go and get it."
  • Initially, set budget issues aside. "Don't let the annual budget process constrain your thinking. If you're going to set policy targets, think about what ought to be. The resource question will catch up to you."
Finally, Carnevale advises, "keep a sense of humor about the whole process. You'll need it."
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