Leading Practices in Managing for Results in Government
Effective performance management helps the federal government improve outcomes in areas like education, healthcare, housing, and national security.
The federal government faces significant financial, management, and performance challenges as it tries to effectively implement programs and deliver services. Congress and the Executive Branch developed a framework that provides important tools to help address these challenges. This framework aims to focus federal efforts on long-term results.
The framework includes:
- Setting annual and long-term goals
- Measuring progress towards these goals
- Determining if these goals are being met, and what actions to take if not
- Transparently reporting results
The links below cover the major pieces of this federal performance management framework. Each link describes requirements and related leading practices.
|Leading Practices for Agencies||Leading Practices for Cross-Agency Efforts|
|Agency Strategic Plan (PDF, 6 Pages)||Federal Government Priority Goals (PDF, 2 Pages)|
|Agency Priority Goals (PDF, 1 Page)||Federal Government Performance Plan (PDF, 1 Page)|
|Agency Performance Plan (PDF, 10 Pages)||Federal Government Quarterly Reviews (PDF, 1 Page)|
|Agency Quarterly Reviews (PDF, 1 Page)||Federal Government Performance Website (PDF, 1 Page)|
|Agency Performance Reporting (PDF, 6 Pages)||Leadership at the Governmentwide Level (PDF, 3 Pages)|
|Transparency of Agency Performance, (PDF, 2 Pages)|
|Reducing Unnecessary Plans and Reports (PDF, 1 Page)|
|Agency Leadership Involvement and Accountability (PDF, 4 Pages)|
|Congressional Involvement (PDF, 2 Pages)|
GAO-18-609SP: Published: Sep 5, 2018. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2018.
Information about whether and how well agencies are reaching their goals is essential to making the federal government more effective. This only works, however, when federal managers use that data to make decisions. Despite various efforts aimed at increasing managers’ use of data in decision making, our work has found little change over the past 20 years. The Office of Management and Budget ha...
GAO-17-775: Published: Sep 29, 2017. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2017.
The GPRA Modernization Act was designed to help the federal government address longstanding performance and management problems. Among other things, it requires agency leaders to set goals and use data to review progress toward them. We surveyed more than 4,000 federal managers and found overall use of performance data in decision making has dropped since 2007. However, the survey shows that data...
GAO-17-739: Published: Sep 28, 2017. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2017.
We reported in 2015 that initial efforts to develop an inventory of federal programs—something that could make government more transparent and reveal areas of duplication and overlap—had fallen short due to inconsistent definitions and information across agencies. In this report we examined how the principles and practices of information architecture—a discipline focused on how information...
GAO-17-740R: Published: Sep 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2017.
Federal agencies annually assess their progress towards achieving strategic objectives—the specific outcomes or impacts their various programs and efforts aim to accomplish. We looked at five agencies' experiences conducting these strategic reviews and identified some common themes: The reviews helped focus leadership attention on objectives needing the most attention Agencies conducted their...
GAO-17-616: Published: Jul 14, 2017. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 2017.
When federal agencies find that some of their annual reports to Congress are outdated or duplicative, they can propose to eliminate or modify related reporting requirements. A 2010 law directs the Office of Management and Budget to coordinate an annual review of agencies' plans and reports. The reviews have led to new proposals and elimination of some required reports. However, OMB does not coor...
GAO-16-693: Published: Aug 30, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 2016.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), General Services Administration (GSA), and the Performance Improvement Council (PIC) took several steps to improve the usefulness of Performance.gov, a website intended to serve as the public window to the federal government's goals and performance. However, their actions do not fully meet selected Digitalgov.gov requirements for federal websites (which a...
GAO-16-622: Published: Jul 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2016.
Federal budget formulation processes include fewer controls and reviews, and provide less information on tax expenditures—which represented an estimated $1.23 trillion in forgone revenues in fiscal year 2015—than for discretionary or mandatory spending. For example, in the President’s budget, tax expenditure revenue loss estimates are presented separately from related spending, making their...
GAO-16-510: Published: Jun 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires agencies to describe their major management challenges and identify associated performance information in their agency performance plans (APP). GAO found, however, that 14 of 24 agencies reviewed did not describe their major management challenges in their APPs as required. This is, in part, because the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) gui...
GAO-16-509: Published: May 20, 2016. Publicly Released: May 20, 2016.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to coordinate with agencies to develop cross-agency priority (CAP) goals, which are 4-year outcome-oriented goals covering a number of complex or high-risk management and mission issues.Examples of CAP goals and goal statements For the current set of CAP goals covering the period from 2014-2018, OMB and...