How to Use Data to Drive Performance
Words like "data" and "metrics" can cause eyes to glaze over or even strike fear in the heart of employees. (Many of us have seen metrics used in negative or punitive ways.) When used properly, performace data can focus energy, connect people to the mission, and inspire innovation. Metrics can even be used to tap into drivers of employee enagagement. There have been many spectacularly successful examples of using data to drive performance in government agencies, such as CompStat, CitiStat, SomerStat, and others. The resources on this page can help you get started.
- Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report
Superbly pithy 1-page monthly newsletter about public sector leadership and management, with frequent themes related to performance measurement. Sample: "Measurement, Management, and Leadership."
- What We've Learned About Policing, by William J. Bratton and William Andrews
How Bill Bratton's leadership transformed the NY Police Department in the 1990s.
- The CitiStat Model: How Data-Driven Government Can Increase Efficiency & Effectiveness, by Teresita Perez and Reece Rushing
Provides a nice summary of the successes of Baltimore's CitiStat program.
- The Seven Big Errors of PerformanceStat, by Robert D. Behn
Concise explanation of why many efforts to replicate the success of CompStat and CitiStat are often unsuccessful.
- When Performance Measures Go Horribly Wrong, By Russ Linden
Performance measures can have unintended consequences. Russ Linden has some suggestions on how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.
- The Perils of Performance Measurement, by Babak Armajani
Helpful suggestions on how to choose good metrics and build a culture of performance measurement.
- Using Data Analytics to Improve Mission Outcomes
This three-part report by the Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Endowment for the Business of Government provides a suberb explanation of how government agencies can effectively use data to improve performance.
- Performance Accountability: The Five Building Blocks and Six Essential Practices, by Shelley H. Metzenbaum
Excellent explanation of how managers can use performance data effectively with their team.
The PerformanceStat Potential: A Leadership Strategy for Producing Results
Bob Behn spent 10 years researching this superb book, distilling the key lessons of CompStat, CitiStat and the many, many programs that have tried to replicate their success. Behn provides a potent list of what is necessary for a successful “Stat” initiative. Many of his key points focus on motivational issues, i.e. what will get managers and staff to take the Stat initiative seriously and do the hard and creative work required to improve performance. Includes great tips on how to identify objectives, assign accountability, collect and analyze data, conduct Stat meetings, follow up on the meetings, and persist in making the long-term leadership commitment that is required. For starters you may find it useful to watch a webinar in which Dr. Behn summarizes some of the key insights from the book. Read More...
How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in BusinessIf you are having a tough time figuring out how to measure success for your organization, this book could be just what you need. In government we often struggle to come up with effective measures because our work can be difficult to quantify. In How to Measure Anything, Douglas Hubbard argues that the purpose of measurement is to reduce risk and uncertainty and get a good idea of how you are doing. This is especially important if the price of failure in a given area is very high. By identifying and analyzing the factors that we can measure, we can get a fair idea of the risk of failure--and a pretty good sense of whether we are going in the right direction. Clearly written and loaded with great insights about how to think about measurement. Read more...
The Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime EpidemicFew public officials have had as much impact as William Bratton on policing or the use of data in the public sector. Bratton’s autobiography, Turnaround, was published after his first stint as Commissioner of the New York Police Department in the 1990s. It chronicles the transformational practices he developed and implemented in the Boston Police Department, the New York Transit Authority, and then the NYPD. He was a pioneer of community policing and the use of crime data in Boston and then developed his comprehensive CompStat approach while at the NYPD. The book’s title no doubt refers to the turnarounds he achieved at each of the departments where he worked, but it could just as easily refer to his ability to bounce back from career setbacks--which were not infrequent due to clashes with politicians and old-guard members of the police force. Read more...
Robert D. Behn: The Challenge of Performance LeadershipWebinar in which Bob Behn provides an excellent overview of his book The PerformanceStat Potential.