How Agencies Can ‘Get the Most Out of Strategic Reviews’


To succeed in today’s data-driven performance environment, agency leaders must direct sustained attention to goals while encouraging two-way communication with staff, according to a study to be released on Wednesday.

“Getting the Most Out of Strategic Reviews,” a summary of a January forum held by the Office of Management and Budget and the National Academy of Public Administration, is designed to give agencies “more practical advice on what constitutes a successful, impactful strategic review,” says its introduction.

Under OMB Circular A-11, as updated by the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, agencies are required to use results of data-driven strategic reviews of goals and objectives to “inform strategic decision-making, budget formulation, and near-term agency actions, as well as preparation of the Annual Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report,” the study noted. That process “helps agency leaders develop a broad foundation of evidence and data in order to prioritize policy and budgetary decision-making” as well as “incentivize communities of learning and the sharing of promising practices.”

The January conference, with corporate sponsorship, drew attendees from the Government Accountability Office and the multi-agency Performance Improvement Council, along with several departments, including Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Agriculture. Also contributing were NASA, private sector consultants and representatives of local government and academia.

Among the lessons learned were that discussion during strategic reviews “should focus on those issues most important to leadership” to ensure that leadership remains committed and the project is taken seriously throughout the organization.

“Reviews should include all relevant decision makers and must be interactive, not a series of presentations,” the report recommended. “The focus should be on what needs to be decided.”

Program evaluation and budget processes should be integrated into the strategic reviews, with relevant officials participating. “Because no organization achieves its objectives on its own, strategic reviews should consider all contributors to a goal and ensure they are integrated into the performance management process, if not the meeting itself,” the group agreed.

“Agencies must ensure data is reliable enough to drive decision making,” the report said. “Additionally, before going to great lengths to correct data quality issues or collect new data, agencies should look for other sources of data that haven’t been thought of to fill gaps in what is not known.”

Performance and evidence “will rarely be the only factors driving decision making,” the report cautioned, and, because strategic reviews should not be “punitive, those whose goals are being reviewed should be provided questions or issues in advance, to the extent possible.” Data and strategic review meetings should be posted on an agency internal website, with meetings held, when practicable, at regular times and locations, the report said.

(Image via bloomua/

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.