The New Obama Performance Team

Yesterday, Jeff Zients testified before a Senate Committee on an ambitious agenda to reform governmentwide performance management.  Zients is President Obama’s Chief Performance Officer and the deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget.

He said:  “It is my initial sense after three months on the job that important groundwork for government-wide performance management has been laid both by Congress and previous Administrations, including the Clinton Administration’s implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the Bush Administration’s implementation of the Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART). But too much emphasis was placed on producing performance information for the purpose of complying with reporting requirements, and too little attention paid to analyzing and acting on this information.”

He said he wants to develop a new performance framework and that he has hired Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum, “a leading expert in performance management,” to help.

Dr. Metzenbaum has written several reports for the IBM Center.  Her most recent report, “Performance Management Recommendations for the New Administration,” may serve as a guide for Zients’ new performance framework. She was asked to brief the governmentwide Performance Improvement Council earlier this year when that report was first released.   Following is a short video clip where Dr. Metzenbaum summarizes several key points in that report:

Two other Metzenbaum reports for the IBM Center are worth noting.  A report she did in 2006, “Performance Accountability:  The Five Building Blocks and Six Essential Practices,” was well received.  In fact, she was asked to brief the President’s Management Council and it was posted on OMB’s website as recommended reading.

And a 2003 report, “Strategies for Using State Information: Measuring and Improving Performance,” examines how federal agencies and states can work better together to collect performance information useful to both.  This may hold some useful lessons for the ongoing efforts to collect information related to the Recovery Act.

So, if you are trying to read the tea leaves to figure out where the Obama Administration’s performance agenda may be going, these reports may be helpful hints!