Monday, April 21, 2008

More Management Improvement

Government Executive has an article on the Bush Administration's plans and hopes for the future, performance management-wise. Pardon a jaded bureaucrat, but I've lived through PPB (LBJ's adaptation of McNamara's methods), Zero Based Budgeting (Carter), sunset Act, the Grace commission, MBO (management by objective), BPR (business process reengineering), GPRA (government performance results act), Reinventing government, and observed Bush from the sidelines with PART (performance assessment rating tool).

There are three weaknesses with these efforts:

  1. NIH (not invented here)--each administration has to have its own effort, so there's a lack of continuity
  2. Congress has never bought into the efforts. Yes, individual senators and representatives can push through something like paperwork reduction, but you don't get agreement. Even if the authorizing committee can agree on something, there's always the appropriations subcommittee with its own ideas.
  3. Government by its nature is not outcome oriented, and when it is, there are conflicts. There are limited cases--you can measure whether checks get out on time. But one effort of Gore/Clinton was to speed visa processing--that's measurable, certainly, but maybe you don't want to quickly process visas for potential terrorists. Do you want to build an impenetrable wall along the border, or do you want to allow wildlife to follow their historic migration patterns?

No comments: