WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

Blog archive
Nick Wakeman

Is OMB wrong to set so many performance goals for agencies?

I read with interest Jason Miller’s Federal News Radio story about the performance goals the Office of Management and Budget is setting out for agencies to achieve.

I won’t argue with the intent of the goals. It’s good to have goals, and I agree with the need for agencies to be evaluated on their performance.

But 100 specific performance goals? Fifteen cross-agency priority goals?

Maybe I’m feeling cynical today, but aren’t we overthinking it? Does OMB need to be that prescriptive?

I remember when Vivek Kundra came out with the 25-point plan. I heard comments that there were too many even then. Why not focus on four or five?

To me, 100 performance goals shifts the focus away from what everyone says they want – better outcomes – and puts it on the process. Such a large number just makes everything seem out of reach.

People will lose focus and nothing will be accomplished because it all seems so complicated.

What the government needs is simplification. Only four goals or guiding principles are needed when taking an action or making a decision:

1. Will it lower my costs?

2. Will it improve the delivery on my mission (in measurable terms)?

3. Does it lower costs and improve delivery?

4. Does it improve the security of my operations?

If you can answer yes to any one of those questions, you probably should move forward. If you can answer yes to more than one, then you definitely should move forward.

If you are contemplating an action, and you don’t know the answers to any of those four questions, then you'd better stop.

For contractors, the flip side should hold true: Does your product, service, solutions, etc. deliver lower cost, improve the mission or increase security?

If you can answer those in the affirmative, then you know you are on the right track.

The message needs to be simple and straight forward; otherwise, it is too easy to ignore.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 19, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here


  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.