Baltimore: From Stats to Solutions

Last year, I met Kendra Parlock, the head of Baltimore’s performance and innovation office, at a periodic informal meeting of local government performance officers in the mid-Atlantic region.  I was intrigued by her upbeat update to her fellow local government peers.  After all, in the Spring of 2017, Governing magazine raised a warning flag, questioning whether the nearly two decade-old award-winning CitiStat management system in Baltimore, installed by Martin O’Malley, was dying of

Robert D. Behn

Robert D. Behn, a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, focuses his research and teaching on the leadership challenge of improving performance in public agencies. He chairs the School’s executive-education program, “Driving Government Performance: Leadership Strategies that Produce Results.” Bob served on the staff of Massachusetts Governor Francis W.

The Secret Sauce of Effective Progress Reviews

So, how do you make PerformancStat meetings effective?  OMB says that these review meetings should be constructive and focus on learning.  Astute observers, such as Harry Hatry at the Urban Institute, say that leaders of these meetings need to be “hands on” and actively engaged in order to convey the

The "-Stat" Movement Turns Twenty

Since 2001, Dr. Behn has visited dozens of governmental organizations that are using the PerformanceStat model – some well, and some poorly.  His bold objective was to answer the research question of whether PerformanceStat really makes a difference in improving performance, and how it works.  In short, his answer is:  it depends, and it’s complicated.

Delivery Units Around the World

Harvard’s Bob Behn writes about the spread of “PerformanceStat” across the U.S over the past two decades. But the creation of “Delivery Units,” which is another name for Bob’s phenomena, has spread across the world – even Latin America!

Using Performance Info to Make Decisions

The Government Accountability Office is mandated by law to track the progress of agencies’ implementation of the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. It’s summary highlights “mixed progress” but the report’s details show a great deal of progress. The report covers a range of issues, summing up a series of related reports over the course of the past year. But the core issue is: are agencies using performance data to make decisions? The track record hasn’t been promising.

Weekly Roundup: October 12-16, 2015

Maryland StateStat Tweaked by New Governor. The Baltimore Sun reports that the nationally-recognized program of data-driven progress reviews, pioneered by then-governor Martin O’Malley, has been tweaked by his successor, Larry Hogan. According to the Sun: “Hogan issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement, calling it an "important step" in his administration's effort to reduce waste and bureaucracy. Staffing has been reduced and the scope of the office has been expanded. Utah On-Line.

States, Localities Inspire Federal Data-Driven Management

The New York City Police Department launched it vaunted CompSTAT more than a decade ago. This data-driven management approach inspired dozens of other cities and several states to adopt it to run their operations as well. Now it is being pioneered in federal agencies and will likely spread quickly with the encouragement of Congress and the White House.

GPRA Mod Act of 2010 Explained: Part 6

Federal Priority Goal Reviews.  According to the Senate committee report, the new law: 

“attempts to lay out a process for reviewing progress towards the federal government priority goals on, at minimum, a quarterly basis. For each federal government priority goal, the Director of OMB should review the progress achieved during the most recent quarter and the likelihood of meeting the performance target.

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