Scorecard is conversation-starter

The President's Management Agenda — and its accompanying scorecard — is a tool to get agencies talking about ways to run programs better, not just an exercise in making the mark, government officials said.

"The PMA starts the communication," Karen Evans, chief information officer at the Energy Department, said at an Association for Federal Information Resources Management luncheon Sept. 19.

The Office of Management and Budget grades agencies in five categories: strategic workforce management, expanded use of e-government, increased competitive bidding of government services, improved financial performance and linking performance to budgets.

Overall, they have fared poorly in the grading, which awards a red, yellow or green light in each of the five areas. Red means an agency has met few, if any, of a management area's requirements; yellow means an agency has met some, but not all, of the requirements; and green means the agency has met all requirements.

"A lot of people view the ultimate end to get to green, but [it's] really just the beginning," Evans said. "I do believe that was a revelation."

But that's not to downplay the government agenda, officials noted. "It's not some esoteric drill," said Norman Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer. "It's really to say, 'Folks this is the way we should be running business.'"

Almost every agency has shown progress on at least one of the agenda items, but several are in danger of not meeting the goals they set for themselves, according to OMB's Mid-Session Review, submitted to Congress July 15.

"Those areas of focus for the administration are real," Lorentz said. So real that budget decisions will be tied to expected outcomes for programs, he said.

"The key is, in my view, it takes leadership that engages and owns the processes and technology," he said.

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