More on OMB's performance reviews


Shelley Metzenbaum, OMB’s associate director for performance and personnel management, issued a memo on performance management today that didn’t seem to say much beyond previously announced plans to meet with agencies on their high-priority goals and set up a website to track agencies’ performance.

One interesting line, though, was this one: “Agencies should consider this year a transition year during which OMB and the [Performance Improvement Council] will move to a more dynamic performance planning, management, improvement, and reporting framework that is useful, streamlined and coherent.”

This seems to indicate that OMB is going to establish some kind of performance-management system or checklist that agencies use, even though Metzenbaum has said before that OMB didn’t want to do that. Or perhaps this just refers to OMB’s performance website?

I’m checking this out with OMB, but at first blush this memo doesn’t appear to be a change in direction from OMB’s vision of using outcome-based, data-driven analysis and holding agencies accountable for progress toward their high-priority goals. We’ll be watching to see how agencies live up to these expectations when they’re explaining to OMB this summer why they want to cut Program X from their fiscal 2012 budget, but not Project Y.

UPDATE 6/29/10:

Here’s the response to my questions I received from OMB press secretary Jean Weinberg. Do with this information what you will.

1. The transition year refers to the period during which agencies are producing documents to meet the requirements of GPRA, which include the FY 2012 Performance Budget/Annual Performance Plan and the FY 2010 Annual Performance Report.

2. The new “framework” is expected to cover the full performance improvement process – not just plan and report production. The framework is expected to include key steps such as leaders setting priorities, analyzing results to identify performance variations and understand the reasons for them, holding regular data-driven reviews, and ensuring accountability and transparency of results. This new approach is exemplified by the High Priority Performance Goal effort, the launching pad for the Administration’s broader performance improvement and transparency efforts.”


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