Managing transactional services is a complex task and can be quite bewildering with many systems and measurements involved. However, because we have digital tools and technologies, we can now pull together data from lots of different sources and inspire action through powerful visualisations. Adam Bailin from the Performance and Delivery Unit presents the Alpha of the Digital Performance Framework which intends to fulfil these aspirations.
Hi, my name is Adam. I work in the Performance & Delivery Unit in GDS.
We’ve been talking to some of the people in government who work on big, complex transactional services - people who work in organisations like Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).
We wanted to get an understanding of how departmental and agency staff currently measure and manage the performance of their services, and whether we could help the product managers who are responsible for those transactions. They are busy people and the last thing they need is folks in the Cabinet Office asking them to fill out another form, but we’ve found a real appetite for guidance about how digital technology can be used to used to improve service performance.
We’ve also found a lots of appetite among the product managers within GDS for measuring and monitoring the products that we’re working on, to help reinforce the data driven design of service and platforms like GOV.UK
So we’ve drafted a checklist.
Checklists can help in all sorts of circumstances and can be particularly helpful when managing large complex systems. I can highly recommend Atul Gawande’s book ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ for amazing examples of checklists being used in aviation, construction and medicine.
Our checklist is called the Digital Performance Framework. In truth it’s a bit more than a checklist. It’s a step by step guide to digital performance management with examples and links to further reading. There are seven steps:
Understand user needs & business objectives:
Who uses performance information in your organisation? What are they interested in?
Decide what to measure and how to measure it:
What measures indicate how well the service is performing? Where will the information come from?
Install and configure platforms:
What software needs to be in place to measure and report the performance information you’re interested in?
Establish a baseline and benchmarks:
What are your current performance levels? How does that compare with other similar services?
Collect and aggregate data:
Can you easily combine performance information from different sources? How will you store the data?
Analyse and visualise data:
Is performance information visible to the right people? Are they acting upon it?
Monitor, iterate, and improve:
Have you tested performance improvements and measured which work best?
This is far from a finished product, but in the spirit of releasing early, we’re sharing a first draft now. Please let us know what you think. Is it useful? How can it be improved? Is there anything missing? Is it too short or too long? Is it just plain wrong?
We plan to release a second iteration of the framework in about a month (in HTML), and we’d love to incorporate ideas from the suggestions and comments we get whether you’re a member of staff, a user, or just someone who is interested in the performance of public services. The best way to give feedback is via email or to simply comment below.