The Short Answer
1. Simple guiding principle: If it’s not useful, don’t do it.
2. If it’s useful to managers, then it will be useful to everyone else in the decision making process.
3. Use the Seven Questions about performance on a regular basis at every intersection between a supervisor and subordinate throughout the system.
4. Link performance measurement to the budget process by using the Seven Questions to structure the budget process forms and the internal budget review process.
(1) The touchstone question in performance measurement: If it’s not useful, don’t do it.
(2) The history of performance measurement is to create a complex paper intensive process that is not only not useful but actually takes time and productivity away from the enterprise.
(3) The key to usefulness is whether it is useful to managers. Another mistake we have made is to design performance measurement and accountability systems that are “for the budget process” or “for the legislative process.” If a performance measurement system is useful to managers, it will easily meet the needs of the budget or legislative processes. The reverse is not true.
(4) The key to usefulness to managers is whether it is a simple, to the point, easily repeated process. And that simplicity is embodied in the “seven questions.” These seven questions should be asked and answered on a regular basis at every intersection between a supervisor and subordinate throughout the system. This includes between the Board and the agency director, the agency director and the next level, and so on down to the smallest unit of the organization.
Other uses of performance measures are addressed in the next set of questions.