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ExpertNet: Background and Principles


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has already initiated a performance management program. OMB Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients describes it as follows: “The American people deserve a Federal Government that respects their tax dollars and uses them effectively and efficiently. They deserve a Federal Government that is transparent, fair, and responsive.”

The performance management program requires agencies to articulate high priorities; explain those priorities coherently and concisely; and tap into the expertise of practitioners and the general public on ways to achieve those goals. The goal is to create a better run Federal government that sets priorities, monitors progress, and diagnoses problems. 

The idea of ExpertNet (hereafter also the “platform,” “system” or “website”) is a natural extension of performance management. It allows government officials to tap into a vast network of experts and practitioners to help solve challenging problems associated with achieving agency performance goals. As such, ExpertNet follows simple principles. First, participation must be easy, and not overly structured or constrained. Second, federal officials must actively participate to ensure that the public knows their input is valued. Third, the platform and the process it enables must respect federal law, including the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Performance & Personnel Management Overview

Source of Excerpts:

To encourage senior leaders to deliver results against the most important priorities, the Administration launched the High-Priority Performance Goal initiative in June 2009, asking agency heads to identify and commit to a limited number of priority goals, generally three to eight, with high value to the public. The goals must have ambitious, but realistic, targets to achieve within 18 to 24 months without need for new resources or legislation, and well-defined, outcomes-based measures of progress. A list of these goals is currently available at:

Agency Performance Improvement Officers (PIO) June 2010

Past Program Reporting and PART

H.R. 2142

An Act: To require quarterly performance assessments of Government programs for purposes of assessing agency performance and improvement, and to establish agency performance improvement officers and the Performance Improvement Council.


Zients unveils

September 15, 2010 — 12:18am ET | By David Perera
Federal agency progress toward implementation of six pillars that constitute of President Obama's "Performance Management Approach" will be publically available soon through a website dubbed, says Jeffrey Zients, Office of Management and Budget deputy director.
In a Sept. 14 memo addressed to members of the senior executive service--senior civil servants and the political appointees chosen to join their ranks--Zients describes as a "one stop shop for federal performance information" that includes a dashboard dedicated to each pillar.
The six parts of the Obama Management Approach are:
Driving agency top priorities;
cutting waste;
reforming contracting;
closing the IT gap;
promoting accountability and innovation through open government; and
attracting and motivating top talent.
If you're hearing the term Obama "Performance Management Approach" for the first time, it might not be an oversight, according to the memo.
"Rather than over-investing in plans about the work that needs to be done to 'prepare for change,' our approach is to drive meaningful, early results," Zients writes in the memo.
Each agency has identified local "owners" of each performance goal and will be used to "inform regular, data-driven reviews," he adds.
For more:
- download the Sept. 14 Zients memo
- read a memo from President Obama about the Zients memo
- read a blog post by Zients about the Zients memo Now

Written by Jack MooreGov/Web 2.0, Latest News Oct 15, 2010

The Office of Management and Budget is using the new online portal to track quarterly federal agencies’ progress on a number of goals.
But the site, which is currently open to federal employees, is having a slow- go on its aim of becoming available to the general public sometime this fall.
OMB’s Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management Shelley Metzenbaum said the site isn’t quite ready for public consumption just yet, reports.
“We are in the kicking the tires stage with,” Metzenbaum said at a Government Executive panel discussion. “What we are doing is not simple. I hope in the not too distant future we can make it open to the public.”
In a memo to the Senior Executive Service—the top level of the federal civilian workforce—OMB Interim Director and Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients announced the public unveiling of the “one-stop shop for federal performance information” to take place later this fall.
OMB asked each agency to set and track certain goals and the website will make it easier to track the progress. The proposals include improving Defense Department hiring practices and increased performance at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among many other agency goals, Federal News Radio reports.
Once the website is made widely available, the public will be able to search for projects based on theme or type, and the site will also include a section for best practices.

Watch Performance in Progress as CPO Jeffrey Zients Launches New Website

Written by Jack MooreGov/Web 2.0, Latest NewsSep 20, 2010

As part of ongoing efforts to increase transparency in the federal bureaucracy, President Barack Obama’s chief performance officer announced a new website,, will be available to the public later this fall.

In a Sept. 14 memo to the Senior Executive Service – the top executives of the federal civilian workforce – Jeffrey Zients, who is also the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the memo “detail(s) our strategies and key initiatives, and describe(s) the early progress we have achieved. I believe we are off to a good start, and that we are developing the momentum required for meaningful, sustained improvements in how the government works for the American people.”

The site will detail progress on six goals of the new Accountable Government Initiative, including reforming contracting, cutting waste and increasing accountability.

To help with implementing those goals, Zients described the website, which is already accessible to federal managers, as a “one-stop shop for federal performance information.”

“ will provide unmatched transparency on government performance and will help create the clarity and the culture of accountability required to achieve meaningful improvements,” he said.

The six strategies laid out in the Zients memo to “make government work better, faster and more efficiently” are:

· Driving agency top priorities
· Cutting waste
· Reforming contracting
· Closing the IT gap
· Promoting accountability and innovation through open government
· Attracting and motivating top talent

The Accountable Government Initiative, which aims to cut waste and increase government transparency, was unveiled earlier this summer.

White House To Track Agency Performance Online

In another move toward transparency, will publish the results of how agencies meet key goals set by the Obama administration. 
By Elizabeth Montalbano ,  InformationWeek 
September 16, 2010 03:19 PM
The White House will be tracking federal-agency performance against goals the Obama administration has set for them and post the results on a new website, according to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo.
In the memo (PDF), Federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients unveiled, a new website that will make agency performance information on objectives, targets, progress and action plans available online. The site is expected to be available in the fall, said Zients, who also is deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget.
Each agency will be tracked for performance in the following areas: driving agency top priorities; cutting waste; reforming contracting; closing the IT gap; promoting accountability and innovation through open government; and attracting and motivating top talent.
Zients said the site will be a "one-stop shop" for federal performance information, and will provide access to management dashboards related to each performance strategy. Additionally, the site will provide information on priority goals each agency has set, as well as key performance indicators, measures and milestones.
" will provide unmatched transparency on government performance and will help create the clarity and the culture of accountability required to achieve meaningful improvements," Zients wrote in the memo.
The move is similar to several the Obama administration already has done to provide more government data and information about government activities online.
For example, the provides information on where the government is spending money, while provides various data sets from government agencies. However, at least one open-government advocate has criticized these efforts for inaccuracy and lack of user-friendliness.
Still, the Obama administration has ambitious goals for, according to the memo. It plans to use the site to provide reviews of agency performance that will be taken into consideration as the White House makes budgetary plans.
If an agency is seen lagging on performance, the administration will work with it to get back on track. It also plans to "celebrate" success to set an example to other agencies through best practices and collaboration, according to the memo.
"Where progress toward a goal shared by multiple agencies requires inter-agency coordination or where agencies face similar problems that could benefit from cross-agency attention, we will facilitate those efforts," Zients wrote.
The memo outlined several subcategories under each agency performance goal. For example, to meet the "closing the IT gap" goal, agencies will be tracked against several objectives the Obama administration has actively and publicly been pursuing, such as enhancing federal cybersecurity and the adoption of more efficient technologies.
Under "cutting waste," agency progress will be monitored for how effectively each one cuts inefficient or ineffective programs or stops or reduces improper payments, according to the memo.

OMB seeks focus on useful performance data

By Megan Hupp
October 13, 2010
The Office of Management and Budget won't use, the new website that tracks agencies' progress toward achieving high-priority goals, to issue letter grades on their performance, an OMB official said Wednesday.
Shelley Metzenbaum, OMB's associate director for performance and personnel management, said the Obama administration's goal is to build a performance management system in which outcomes matter.
Speaking at a Government Executive Leadership Briefing, Metzenbaum said any performance management system that cannot be used up and down the management chain is "a wasteful enterprise."
Agencies currently are using to upload data about their progress toward meeting the high-priority goals they identified earlier this year as part of a presidential directive on improving government performance. Metzenbaum said the site would be made public "in the not-too-distant future," but declined to give a specific date. When the site is rolled out, OMB will not lock or hide any parts of it, she said.
"This is a transparent administration," Metzenbaum said. "But you need to give us some time to kick the tires and see if the car will run and roll where we want it to run. We're still in the kicking stage."
Metzenbaum declined to speculate on how many agencies might successfully meet their goals. "We asked agencies to set ambitious targets," she said. "We don't expect to meet all of them."
Quoting former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Metzenbaum said agencies would be penalized not for failing to meet goals, but for lacking the data to analyze problems that arise and to change course if needed.
"The word 'why' should be one of most frequent words we talk about in performance management," Metzenbaum said. "We're looking for patterns, relationships and anomalies."
OMB has no plans to lobby for the repeal of the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, or to stop using measures agencies developed for the Program Assessment Rating Tool under the Bush administration, if the measures are useful, according to Metzenbaum. Instead, the Obama administration wants to incorporate those performance management systems into its own approach.
Metzenbaum noted that while GPRA requires agencies to set goals and measurements for their programs, it doesn't create a system for giving priority to certain goals. And she argued that while PART has agency performance officers asking the right questions, the tool can be subjective and is used on individual programs only once every five years.
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