Performance Management in Government and Nonprofits (online)

Video Introduction | Closed Captioned

Sponsored by the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.

Governments around the world have increasingly come to realize the value of setting goals, measuring performance and using the resulting data as a core management tool to improve societal outcomes. This management approach is often referred to as "performance management" or "managing for results." Experience has shown that, when well used, goals and measurement can greatly improve the operation and understanding of government programs and priorities. Experience has also shown that misuse of goals and measures, especially when combined with incentives, can provoke dysfunctional, performance-dampening responses.

This course explores what performance management means and how government agencies can adopt this management approach. Students will learn how to develop skills to refine the way goals and strategies are articulated so that they can be effectively measured, and to select practical performance measures. Also covered are how to identify target audiences, present data clearly, and to analyze and use data to improve performance. Using theoretical readings, case studies, and exercises, the course provides a conceptual grasp of the underlying dynamics employed when you manage for results. It also provides a practical understanding of how to apply performance management tools successfully at all levels of government across policy areas.

The course consists of six online modules. Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a certificate of completion and 2.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Topics covered

  • Introduction to performance management – Envisioning the performance driven organization
  • Articulating goals and strategies to facilitate measurement – Objective trees, logic models and results frameworks as ways of expressing current strategies and identifying what should be measured
  • Selecting and collecting practical performance measures – Choosing appropriate measures, options for data collection, ensuring data quality
  • Identifying target audiences and presenting data clearly – Typical audiences for government performance data; the good, the bad and the ugly of charts, graphs and dashboards
  • Analyzing data and using it to improve performance – Analytic techniques and traps; facilitating the data driven conversation, including tracking identified action items
  • Understanding the potential pitfalls of using performance data as a tool of government – Worst case and best case scenarios; the latest thinking on one of the toughest cases: teacher pay-for-performance

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Know what Performance Management means in the public and nonprofit sectors and understand the basics of how to design a Performance Management system
  • Have a basic understanding of how to analyze data and effectively incorporate data in decision-making processes
  • Recognize the elements of a good data report
  • Understand the potential pitfalls of Performance Management systems and how to avoid them

At the end of this course, you will have developed a blueprint for a Performance Management system for a government or nonprofit program of your choice, including determining the results to be measured, selecting performance measures, developing a plan for using the data to inform management decisions and drafting a sample data report

Instructor: Betsy Bury;

Elizabeth Bury is an independent consultant for UMass Boston. She has two decades experience in the fields of program planning, evaluation and performance management. She specializes in advising government agencies and nonprofit program managers on the use of performance indicator systems to enable results based management. With strong expertise in facilitation and participatory methods, she has led numerous workshops involving program managers and stakeholders in creating strategic frameworks and performance measurement plans for projects in a wide variety of program areas. She has also overseen a variety of evaluations involving both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, including sophisticated econometric analyses, large surveys and structured program reviews. Ms. Bury also has a strong background developing and delivering training on performance management issues. She has taught previously at West Virginia University and Community College of Micronesia.

Ms. Bury holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Development Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Psychology from Dartmouth College. She also completed a Diversity Management Certificate from NTL Institute and holds a US Government Secret Security Clearance.