3 Ways Performance Management Leaders Can Engage the Public

April 10, 2017 10:33 am PDT | Open Data

Government performance management practitioners from the across the country met recently at Socrata Connect near Washington, DC to discuss what’s working for them and what needs improvement in the field of performance management.

Noting the potential for open data to spark transformation, not just be another box to check, Jamila Siller, Business Process Consultant at the city of Austin, Texas, said, “Data should be a flashlight, not a hammer.” She continued, “If we are not meeting our goals, why is that? Data should be used to encourage departments to ask those important questions and seek continuous improvement.”

“Data should be a flashlight, not a hammer.” – Jamila Siller

There were common themes among the professionals from Fulton County, Georgia, to San Bernardino County, California. First, a bit more about their role.

What Is a Performance Management Practitioner?

Part data-guru, part data advisor, government performance management practitioners combine analytical and consultative skills to work with every department in their organization. They help groups set goals, improve processes, and push for better governance.

Performance management practitioners also ensure citizens are engaged in and part of a continuous feedback loop. As with any process, the best way to improve it is to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments. Part of “continuous improvement” means incorporating citizen feedback and making data that’s most wanted available.

Advice on Public Engagement

So how do the nation’s top performance management leaders ensure their government’s data is accessible and being used?

Our roundtable participants at Socrata Connect shared many tactics that have worked in their governments to engage the community. We picked three to highlight here. Download our full list here.

1. Deploy focus groups

Salt Lake County, Utah, led by Director of Performance & Innovation Beth Mitchell, uses focus groups to gather critical feedback on government operations from internal employees and citizens. Roundtable participants unanimously agreed that this tactic helps increase trust among constituents.

2. Tap your developer community

The City of Austin hosts local developer groups, like Girl Develop It and Code for America, and makes government data available to them so students and volunteers in those organizations can use it to build new technology. Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Mayor’s Office hosts dataset release parties and hack nights with the launch of new data.

3. Embed data into every outgoing communication

Kansas City, Missouri, aims to arm every press release that goes out from City Hall with data. Doing so reinforces the city’s use of data in decision-making with the media and citizens, and helps raise awareness of the city’s data program.

Meet Your Peers

Interested in collaborating with your peers on performance management best practices? If you’re a Socrata customer, you can now join the Socrata Performance Community of Practice. A group of over 30 state and local governments and growing that will be able to share ideas and work together to tackle common challenges online. In addition, the group will meet virtually on a bi-monthly basis to learn from their peers, collaborate, and benchmark.

Don’t miss the next meeting:

Join the Community of Practice


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