As the nation’s largest think tank dedicated exclusively to government performance, The Performance Institute works closely with government agencies to develop and implement meaningful performance measures for nearly every operational function and mission area. Through its work, The Institute has established and refined a proven methodology for measuring government performance: The Logic Model.
The Government Performance Logic Model
The schematic below offers a conceptual view of the main components of the Performance Logic Model. It depicts how strategy (top row) is performed using a “top down” approach. The bottom row of the schematic illustrates the implementation “flow” of the planned strategy. The Logic Model presents a comprehensive view of a performance-based organization.
The Logic Model
The Logic Model is an additional framework to the traditional logic model. It is especially useful to policy driven organizations because it helps bridge the gap between HQ and program management by illustrating the linkage between program capabilities, resources, and outputs and agency goals. The Logic Model helps define priorities that maximize the impact of program activities and processes on outputs.
The SMART Performance Measurement Criteria: Measures that are Meaningful
Once the Government Performance Logic Model and Logic Model are constructed, a more detailed and activity-oriented performance measurement system must be developed for day-to-day management purposes. The SMART Criteria are used to determine the usefulness, validity and accuracy of the performance measures to be used by the program at all levels. For a performance measure to be effective, it must be:
1. Specific: The performance measure has to indicate exactly what result is expected so that the performance can be judged accurately. The specificity of the measure is aided by clear definitions and standards for data collection, standardization and reporting across program lines and among program employees involved in use of the measurement.
2. Measurable: The intended result has to be something that can be measured and reported in quantitative and/or clear qualitative terms. This characteristic is achieved when programs set numeric targets or employ an evaluative approach that can ascertain in a definitive manner whether performance expectations have been met.
3. Accountable: The performance measure has to be “owned” by a specific program line or employee base to the degree that produced. Accountability is more than clarifying who is charged with achieving the result; it requires that management has devised targets based on what reasonably can be produced by the program during a given period of time. Accountability cannot be achieved if targets are unreasonable from the start.
4. Results-Oriented: The performance measure must be aligned to the Logic Model and track an important value or benefit needed to advance the strategies and achieve the end results of the program. A performance measurement meets this test if it 1) measures an end or intermediate outcome or 2) links to another measure already existing within the program that measures an intermediate or end-outcome.
5. Time-bound: The performance measure must set a specific time frame for the results to be produced as well as allow for the reporting of performance in a timely manner. In this case, the program must have measures to provide fresh enough data to be used by management for adjustments in the program and corrective action if necessary.
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