Jeffrey Zients is currently going through nomination hearings with the U.S. Senate for the newly created position of the US government’s chief performance officer. He will have a full plate attacking known issues related to government fiscal and productivity performance. Indirectly related, the good news is Mr. Zients may become a role model for other public sector organizations. If given enough authority, he just may be able to demonstrate with real world applications how enterprise performance management methodologies and systems can be integrated to improve performance – not just manage it.
In an article titled Management nominee backs performance, accountability measures posted in GovExec.com, Zients mentions priorities such as developing a usable set of performance metrics and applying them to improve effectiveness and accountability. I do believe that you get what you measure, at least as a start. Measures answer the first of three successive questions for positive change: “What?” Next comes “So what?” and “Then what?” I hope Zients helps government organizations to not just stop with taking better measures, only the first question.
InformationWeek.com posted a related article about Zients titled, Nominee for OMB Post Seeks Better IT Management. This article references Zients’ observation about the lack of engagement between IT managers and their organization’s leaders. There does seem to be two languages: IT-speak and business-speak. If Zients can have an impact, he can make information technology contribute more robustly to management. Improving is not just monitoring dials of a dashboard and producing reports. It is much more about moving those dials and providing analysis for those reports.