Tag Archives: data-driven management

Know your KPI’s: Part 2 – What’s Hot in Snow Removal?

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Every major service should have a few key measures that would be important to any local government that provides such a service (See Blog 12/17/13 –  Know your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Part 1 – KPI Overview).   Some of the key metrics for snow removal include: Cost of snow removal/lane mile Hours for snow removal/lane mile Average time for first snow removal Snow Accumulation #  of Snow Removal Incidents   Since snow removal is dependent on the event of a snowstorm, which has a short duration and is not routine, it is one of the few measures that are best to record daily.  In fact, the chart below, which reports the daily events on a weekly basis, shows there were five discrete snow events in the season. Of course, snow removal is a classic case in which not all workloads are the same.  The snow accumulation is the single best way to measure the workload.  You, the expert, may also want to measure the temperature, duration of the event, or…

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7 Ways for Cities to Innovate

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I just read an article in Government Technology Magazine, “7 Tactics for 21st Century Cities – 7 Ways for Cities to Innovate.”  It’s written by Abhi Nemani, co-director of Code for America.   Code for America is at the intersection of Innovation and Government, so he knows a thing or two about what is leading the way in municipal governments.   In the article he lists 7 things cities should be doing to solve problems through innovation:   Create a space to experiment Use good data for better decisions Design for/with citizens Don’t be an island Tap into the community’s capacity Bias toward open Take tech seriously As you all know… I couldn’t resist commenting on #2 – Use good data for better decisions.   Nemani points out that cities manage lots of data and municipal leaders can make better decisions on matters like resource allocation and setting policies by using that data.   What I find interesting is his caution that all data is not created equal… and he says, “Data gains…

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Data is Top of Mind at ICMA 2013 Conference in Boston

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The ICMA Annual Conference was held in Boston this week.  Everywhere I turned someone was talking about data.  Seems the hot trend of data and data analytics is becoming top of mind for municipal leaders. During Monday’s keynote address, the NY Times best-selling author Daniel Pink inspired the audience by helping us realize we are all in sales!  WHAT! How can this be?   Municipal managers aren’t sales people.   However, in his research, Daniel asks people if their job involves, “convincing or persuading people to give up something of value in exchange for something you offer.”  His research indicates that 41% of all people say yes.   At 8:30 on Monday morning the packed room of 3,000 managers were all stunned to realize they were in sales.  As municipal managers, they knew an important element of their job is persuading, convincing and influencing department managers, employees, elected officials, business owners and citizens!    But no one in the room ever thought their job involved selling. So where does data fit into this discussion?  …

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Where is the Public Services Tipping Point?

Tipping Point

In a recent Governing.com article, The Public Safety Tipping Point: When Saving Money Loses, Mark Funkhouser raises the topic of the Public Safety Tipping Point.  His article revolves around a successful lifeguard rescue, despite a cutback in funds for lifeguards.  How will we know when we have gone too far cutting the public services provided by local governments? Most local governments have made some cuts to their services.  I mean cuts to the services offered, not just cuts to the cost of providing those service.  A survey conducted by Revelstone in 2012 indicated that only 10% of local municipalities had not cut services over the preceding five years.  The full survey report is available online here. While it is clear that there is a public outcry for government to be more affordable, it is not clear that the public realizes that this is achieved by reducing public services. Yet we do not seem to be faced with an uprising on the part of the public because of inadequate services.  Let’s consider several possible…

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When municipalities come together…

What can happen if you bring municipalities, all with the common goal of wanting to manage better, together for a full day of learning and networking? The short answer…a lot. And a lot took place took place on the picturesque campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University just a few weeks ago during Revelstone’s Second Annual Customer Interaction Day. For the second year in a row, municipalities who subscribe to Compass, Revelstone’s web-based performance analytics and benchmarking platform, gathered for a conference-style event of education, networking, best practices exchange and more. Filling the room were municipal managers and department heads eager to hear what others are doing with their performance initiatives and to discuss the challenges and successes that go along with it. Sessions ranged from the latest updates on Compass to open discussions and interactive workshops on implementing a performance management culture and creating a 2013 performance plan. The event provided a forum for municipalities, several of them neighbors, to talk about the one goal they all share—to manage better and…

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Do your meetings include data-driven discussions?

Whether you are an inspirational leader, an experienced administrator or a newbie figuring out how to have a positive impact on your local government, you can complement your “natural” abilities with data-driven management techniques.  The IBM Center for the Business of Government thinks so too, and recently published A Guide to Data-Driven Performance Reviews written by the Urban Institute’s  Harry Hatry, a long-time leader in measuring performance.  In this article Hatry focuses on managing with data, not just on the measurement, which I have long believed is the key to why we measure. Warning:  This article might be discouraging because it addresses the management of performance in large federal agencies.  However, the insights in this paper are useful for small to moderate size municipalities if we use a lean performance management perspective.  Those key concepts are: Ongoing and regular meetings Involvement of the chief executive or chief administrator in the meetings A data-driven meeting agenda based on reviewing key measures and determining actions to address them Determining objectives, following up…

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