In order to assist the President to implement his vision and priorities across the Executive Branch, in 2009, OMB engaged REI Systems (REI) to support a series of initiatives designed to produce more openness, accountability, and transparency in government operations. REI Systems helped the Office of Management and Budget create a one-stop-shop for Federal performance information.
OMB needed a timely way to share and search performance information, especially for the President’s High Priority Goals, facilitating end-to-end Federal performance management. The existing system had disparate data across multiple sources, manually drawn Excel charts, and inherent difficulties in tracking and analyzing organizations’ performance.
A visually pleasing website with information for the public and more detail for government personnel could improve the ability to find performance information, solve problems, and focus on priorities and strengthen public trust in government. To accomplish a project of this scope, a partnership was required with a company that could not only build the necessary management system but also brought their years of best practices in the field to help OMB scope out the project. OMB turned to REI, a leading provider of web-based solutions for over twenty years, because of REI’s experience with data visualization, ability to design and implement quickly, use of open source tools, and proven past performance with open government initiatives.
REI worked closely with OMB to develop a customized and flexible system- a website that would provide a one-stop-shop for performance information across the Federal Government. The site, Performance.gov, provides audiences in and outside of government access to management dashboards related to each performance strategy. It also provides in-depth information on agency priority goals and key performance indicators, measures, and milestones.
Applying its Agile methodology, open source Drupal based platforms, and industry-leading dashboard capabilities, REI created a website with a periodical collection of performance data through a customizable interface, as well as ETL processes to import data management metrics. The system also rapidly assesses target performance by visualizing data with rich interactive charts. To assist with comparative performance management and oversight, users can develop qualitative evaluations through an expert survey system. OMB can also generate PDF reports based on user roles and permissions.
The site supports data entry from 261 different agencies on a variety of performance information. Among the data collected are the responsible executive’s names, contact information, and photos; narrative descriptions of strategic goals, sub-goals, action items, milestones, due dates, and completion status; and performance measures, the target level of performance, and data that constitute actual performance levels achieved. It also offers different levels of information depending on the audiences – from detailed datasets within the agencies, to a summarized version for OMB.
Performance.gov is a step in the right direction for oversight, accountability, and a more effective and transparent government. Public reception has been positive about the first steps Performance.gov has taken toward transparency. OMB has been extremely pleased not only with the initial management capabilities but REI’s continued partnership to enhance the functionality of Performance.gov.
Shelley Metzenbaum, the Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management at OMB, remarked that REI Systems “has displayed great flexibility and commitment to keep us moving forward over the last couple of years. We are very appreciative of all of the work that they have contributed to help us reach this point, and look forward to our continued partnership.”