Improving Performance With Data

September 20, 2022 by Meredith Trimble

Improving Performance With Data

Improving Performance With Data

Many cities are now using data as an integral part of performance improvement programs. Some have well-established initiatives, while others are just starting out. In a recent Performance Community of Practice webinar, “Let’s Talk Government Performance Management,” local government experts examined what performance improvement really means in practice.

Following are highlights and top tips from the event.

Ensuring High Performance

To many, evidence-based decision-making is a means to high performance. Integrating objective evidence with decision-making processes can help achieve and improve results.

For Kirk McLean, Buffalo’s director of open data and chief of staff to the city’s CIO, “A high performing organization is a curious organization.” Inquisitive people wondering how things can be even better drive continuous improvement. Efforts to measure how they’ve done in the past as well as how they’re doing now should also be combined with an eye toward the future. “A high performing organization also centers its work around the humans that it serves,” he noted. “How can we make the experience better for the customer, resident, or user? How can we make our services better? What can we do to help achieve our goals and our mission?” All of these are important questions for creating winning outcomes.

Start With the Basics

When it comes to driving a data culture, McLean explained the importance of making steps as easy as possible for staff, particularly those who are often expected to sign into several different systems with various logins throughout the day. “Sometimes with data and analytics, we complicate things and people are hesitant or reluctant to participate fully because of that,” he noted. Choose tools that are familiar and easy to use, and provide plenty of training.

Data’s value can also be quickly seen when requests backed by fact are supported over ideas without data. In grant funding, too, having data and KPIs in place can be a good way to compete for limited resources. There’s an iterative nature to data use, where small successes create momentum and buy-in to drive even bigger results.

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