An analysis of ineffective programs
Published on LinkedIn, 28 May, 2017
Public sector managers are not always aware of the gaps in the initial design and/or implementation arrangements for their programs. Failings and weaknesses often do not reveal themselves until implementation begins. When things are not working as intended program managers then face the need to do something to get performance back on track. But what to do?
Without the perception that there is a problem, performance improvement has no starting place. Hence the initial driving force is the identification of a difference between the current state and a more desirable one. Program managers need to feel some kind of performance pain. The question is ‘Where does it hurt?’.
Performance pain in public programs can emerge from several interrelated sources including:
Finding out where it hurts sets the stage for performance improvement in two ways. It determines whether there is a perceived need for change to improve performance; and it helps to identify the source of the performance pain. Public sector managers benefit from understanding who cares about the performance problem and who is willing and able to do something about it. While identifying where it hurts, managers need to test for commitment to reducing the pain. Experience suggests that the chances for successful performance improvement are increased when groups of actors from multiple levels in the program structure are concerned with addressing a performance gap.
In seeking to identify the underlying causes of performance pain a number of diagnostic approaches are available. Experience suggests that performance difficulties often result from one or more of the following:
Senior leadership's recognition and acceptance of a performance gap that is open to improvement sets the scene for taking corrective action based on addressing these underlying causal factors.
at Scott Bayley Evaluation Services