Budgeting and Forecasting, Business Process Improvement

Performance Management and Lean Keep the City of Austin on the Road to Continuous Improvement

Page from the April 2021 issue of GFR

Budgeting is just as much about values and priorities as it is about dollars. In times of fiscal distress, however, we often ignore those principles in favor of just getting the budget balanced. But in times of fiscal stress, it’s even more important for governments to communicate their priorities and values to improve budget transparency, demonstrate fairness, and help justify difficult decisions. In this section, we will look at practical strategies to help you prioritize your organization’s values and develop a framework to make those tough decisions and communicate them to those who are most affected.

One of the most exciting changes the City of Austin, Texas, has made over time has been instilling a performance management approach throughout the organization as we strive for continuous improvement. It has put the city in a much better position now and for the future.

Among the core components of performance management is making sure that the city has clearly defined strategic goals for the organization overall and that departments and teams align their programs and services accordingly. To assess achievement of the goals, performance measurement shows what is being done well and what isn’t, and those data are used in performance and process improvement strategies, along with other data sources, to create objectives that the organization can rally around. Performance management can also provide focus and objectivity for making difficult decisions, so leaders aren’t simply facing a huge list of questions.

  • Publication date: April 2021