Performance Standards

Dear Management Doctor:

We are in the process of looking at performance standards for our current planning function. I read through the articles on this topic and saw several references to Z diagnostics. Is that information available on the website? 

Thank you much!

Leslie Karr

Dear Leslie,

Z diagnostics was an automated Internet based attempt at an evaluation systems for planning departments. After much work and testing we decided not to place it on the market and it is not available. However, our website includes considerable information about performance standards. As you get underway, I would be happy to give you comments on a draft. There are a few key measures including:

  1. How long does each application take to process. You need to set a performance standard for each process, monitor the performance, try to meet it at least 90% of the time, and develop process or staffing changes if you cannot meet them. By the way, your Stakeholders should buy into the performance standards. Separate performance standards should be set for all review functions. Do not use averages for these measures, only the percent who meet the standard.
  2. Clear and consistent reviews are another feature. First time reviews should be comprehensive. New items should not be added on subsequent reviews. You will need to establish a way to measure this.
  3. You need to measure the results from the reviews. If there were appeals, how did staff fare in the appeal? A year or two after the project is built, do a good field review. Did your concerns materialize, did the approval conditions actually help, etc.  Maybe even a neighborhood survey to see how they feel about it. Are you actually building a better community?
  4. What percent of applications are coming in electronically. This assumes you have electronic plan check, which you should have.
  5. Many systems include cost per application or staff per application. These can be useful but I think less so than some of the others.
  6. Depending on local policy, percent of cost recovery is a needed measure. You should also have a hefty reserve account.  

I hope this helps.

Good measuring,

The Management Doctor

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