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Project of the Week: Washington State’s GMAP

“Bottom Line: No state in the nation is better at developing
and sharing information than Washington.”

Governing Magazine, “Grading the States,” 2008

As government at every level is releasing raw datasets as part of the Open Government Initiative, one of the key questions being asked is, “So what do we do with all this data and how do we leverage it for the benefit of citizens?”

In the State of Washington, Governor Chris Gregoire has made it a hallmark of her administration to hold every state agency and program visibly accountable to Washington citizens. The cornerstone of the Governor’s accountability initiative is Government Management Accountability and Performance (GMAP). The program is described in greater detail below.

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Modeled after after two successful programs in major American cities – CompStat in New York City, and CityStat in Baltimore, Md. – GMAP helps Washington state agencies measure and improve their performance. Washington State was the first state in the nation to adapt these data-based management models to improve the results of statewide programs and services.

Part of what makes GMAP innovative is the creation of multi-agency teams that help state agencies to prepare performance-based reports. These reports use data about agency results to support focused management discussions – in open public forums.

These reports currently focus on seven areas:

– Economic Recovery
– Economic Vitality
– Government Efficiency
– Health Care
– Safety
– Transportation
– Vulnerable Children and Adults

Past reports have zeroed in on improvement in Environment and WorkFirst initiatives.

How does GMAP work?

– The Governor and her leadership team hold regular, public meetings where agency directors report in person on the most important management and policy challenges they face in achieving results.

– The meetings are organized around the Governor’s highest priorities to hold the leaders of multiple agencies accountable for their agencies’ results and for initiatives that require the collaboration of multiple organizations.

– The discussions are candid and direct, and the concept of “business as usual” is never automatically accepted.

Decisions are based on analysis of data and evidence about what strategies work best. Agencies are held accountable to follow-up and report back on outstanding issues.

– GMAP gives the Governor and the public a clear, concise view of how government programs are working and whether citizens are receiving value for their tax dollars.

What are GMAP’s Guiding Principles?

GMAP is a tool set designed to hold state government and agency leadership accountable to customers, taxpayers, and citizens for the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the services Washington State government provides. Seven principles, rooted in management theory and common sense, define the GMAP philosophy and practice.

1. Engage the leader(s) at the top of the organization. GMAP stresses the personal presence of senior managers and others needed to make decisions.

2. Do not measure for measurement’s sake. To do so is a waste of resources. GMAP is a management tool, not a presentation. Effective measures require clarity on:

– what programs and services expect to influence, and
– how agencies will use measures to manage programs and get results.

3. Develop and use timely and accurate performance data to set targets and inform decisions.

4. Reward candor in identifying and diagnosing performance barriers and creativity and commitment to overcoming them. It is OK to identify missed targets. It is even more important to know why you missed targets and to have a plan to address barriers to meeting them.

5. When the data indicates needed action, quickly and clearly specify what needs to be done, who will do it, and when it will be done. Action plans should primarily focus on what can be done prior to the next performance report (typically 3-4 months away).

6. Persistent follow-up and clear accountability. Agency leadership should relentlessly follow up on commitments made in action plans. They should also monitor results over time to verify change is real and sustainable.

7. Create a continuous learning environment. Agencies should use process improvement tools to get better results.

For more information, please refer to these articles on Governing.com and these awards received by GMAP. You may also contact Kristina Rietmann, Governor’s Office New Media Manager here on GovLoop or follow her on Twitter: @Kris920.
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Questions for You:
– Do you know of or work for other states that have adopted similar initiatives?
– How can we apply this process and principles to the Open Government Initiative on the Federal level?

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4 Comments

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Profile Photo SteveWonder

I totally agree with “developing/informatio” statement supporting Washington State.
Every public perfromance/service across the USA I attend, Wash State officials are ALWAYS there, ready to act and lend a hand.
Cant say that about those offcials for other states, or “media braggarts” from Maryland/Virginia/DC, who should also be national trendsetters, but instead are less than ethical, follow from behind, legislative laggards who must get “cues”/trends to truly improve state performances nationwide from leadership jurisdictions in the Far West.

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Profile Photo George Deryckere

Now that Jeff Zients is over at OMB they will start looking at some of the successful programs being incorporated by the states and look to see how we can carry it over at the Federal level.

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