9 ways to assess your program’s performance

Program Performance Assessment

If you’re a program manager for a government entity, you may be spending a lot of your time trying to figure out how to assess your program’s performance in accordance with your organisation’s governance, performance and accountability rules or guidelines.

As part of this process you are likely to run into at least one of the following problems:

  1. You haven’t collected enough program data to assess program performance
  2. The data you’ve collected is not actually helping to answer your program performance questions.

Luckily, assessment of your program’s performance is not limited to only using your own program data. In fact, a range of methods can – and should – be adopted to broaden the performance information used as the basis of a robust performance assessment.

Over the years, the Grosvenor team has conducted many program performance reviews and evaluations in collaboration with government entities. We’ve tried and tested numerous methods to collect performance information.

Nine ways to assess program performance and meet your requirements

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) –A classic way of measuring performance! In simple terms, a KPI is a metric which is used to understand whether the program is on track to meet its performance goals. Learn more about developing meaningful KPIs here.
  2. Benchmarking– Comparing how your program is doing against best practice, or industry standards is a great way to measure program performance. The process can help you understand what impact your program is having in relation to others.
  3. Literature review– A literature review is an analysis of published sources on a particular topic. It allows you to develop a detailed understanding of research available within a defined area. Literature reviews are a useful way to identify information about proven methods, help you improve practice and overcome barriers.
  4. Survey– When you have a large or dispersed stakeholder group, it isn’t always practical or possible to speak to everyone. Surveys are a flexible and efficient way to collect performance data from a broad range of stakeholders, maximising the reach of your performance assessment. Here are some tips on designing an evaluation survey.
  5. Observation– Watching an individual’s behaviour, events or activities in their natural setting is another valid option to gather performance data. Observation can be direct: watching behaviours or activities as they occur, or indirect: watching the results of behaviours or events. Observation enables first hand collection of data where or when an event is occurring, rather than relying on what is reported.
  6. Meetings, workshops and interviews– Direct engagement with your stakeholders provides a wealth of information and context about how your program is performing and being received.
  7. Discussion paper– Do you have a complex idea that you need to test with your stakeholders? Discussion papers are a great way provide context to your stakeholders and get feedback on more complex issues.
  8. Administrative and quantitative data– Every program manager has a wealth of performance data at their fingertips in administrative data. Leverage the data you’ve already collected and received throughout your program to inform your performance assessment. Some examples of relevant data include patterns of service uptake, satisfaction/complaints data, and data about timeliness and results achieved.
  9. Comparable sites and organisations– Learn how you may improve your program’s performance by comparing how your program operates and performs against similar programs.  Apply learnings from the successes and failures of other programs to give your program the best chance of success.