Glossary of Performance Management Terms

Activities: Sets of actions through which inputs (i.e. such as commodities, technical assistance or training), are mobilized to produce specific outputs (i.e. provide training, revise procedure manual, hold immunization clinic). (Management Systems International, 2016)

Baseline: The condition or level of performance before the implementation of activities.

Chain of Results: Logic of a program or project that follows a “cause and effect” or “if-then” hypothesis. (Management Systems International, 2016)

Index: Indicator that combines multiple “bits” of data into a combined score (i.e. Consumer Price Index, S&P 500). Not frequently used in public health.

Indicator: Unit of measurement which will allow you to monitor performance. (i.e. # of employees trained, % of employees receiving 80% or higher on post-test, # of immunizations provided, % of kindergartners starting school fully vaccinated.) Indicators should be DOAP:

  • Direct – The indicator should measure the exact end result.
  • Objective – Indicators should be precise, which reduces ambiguity and allows for comparison over time.
  • Adequate – The indicator(s) of a result should capture all of its elements. Rule of thumb is 1-3 indicators per result statement.
  • Practical – The data should be feasible to collect, be available when needed, be cost-effective to gather, and be reliable to give a consistent measure over time. (Management Systems International, 2016)

Outcome: Results that occur due to a program’s activities and outputs. Can be short, intermediate, or long term (e.g. new skills utilized, procedures followed, vaccine preventable illnesses decreased) (Management Systems International, 2016).

Output: Tangible, immediate, and intended products or consequences of project activities (i.e. people trained, manuals revised, immunizations given). (Management Systems International, 2016)

Performance Management: The strategic use of performance standards, measures, progress reports, and ongoing quality improvement efforts to ensure an agency achieves desired results. (Performance Management National Excellence Collaborative, Turning Point: From Silos to Systems, Using Performance Management to Improve the Public’s Health, 2003)

Performance Management Implementation Plan: Plan that describes your performance management system and how it will be implemented. Content includes, but is not limited to: description of leadership and staff involvement, plan for progress reporting, details regarding how data will be used for quality improvement including staff training and communication.

Performance Management System: A fully functioning performance management system that is completely integrated into health department daily practice at all levels includes: 1) setting organizational objectives across all levels of the department, 2) identifying indicators to measure progress toward achieving objectives on a regular basis, 3) identifying responsibility for monitoring progress and reporting, and 4) identifying areas where achieving objectives requires focused quality improvement processes. (Public Health Accreditation Board. Standards and Measures Version 1.5 . Alexandria, VA, December 2013).

Performance Monitoring Plan: Detailed document that describes your indicators, measures, and approach to data collection, acquisition, analysis, use, and reporting.

Proxy Indicators: Indirect measure used when direct measure is not practical (i.e. The City of New Orleans determined the number of tourists during Mardi Gras by measuring the number of gallons of water processed through the sewage treatment plant compared to other times of the year.) (Management Systems International, 2016)

Rating Scales: Scales that transform qualitative results into something that can be counted. (i.e. Rate the quality of lunch: excellent, good, fair, poor)

Results: Changes that happen because of what a project or program does. Includes outcomes and outputs. (Management Systems International, 2016)

Target: Specific, planned level of achievement of the result to be achieved within a given timeframe. (Management Systems International, 2016)