printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Performance Management

Bureau of Resource Management
May 10, 2010


Pie chart summarizing the performance ratings for FY 2009. Values are: Above target: 34 (26%). On target: 17 (13%). Improved, but target not met: 6 (5%). Below target: 19 (15%). Rating not available: 54 (42%). Total number of indicators: 130.

1 Source: FY 2009 Annual Performance Reports and FY 2011 Annual Performance Plans for State Operations and Foreign Assistance. Performance ratings calculated from performance data provided at the time of publication.

Ratings are not available for indicators that are new or for which current year data are not yet available.

2 Percentages rounded to the nearest whole number.

The Department of State and USAID devote considerable effort towards the collection and use of data to improve performance in support of U.S. diplomatic and development results. The Department and USAID utilize performance management to measure organizational effectiveness, strengthen and inform decision-making, and improve programs and policies so that they are linked to specific performance targets and broader strategic goals. Both agencies use performance management best practices to assess and mitigate risks, benchmark program results, comply with legislative requirements, and learn where to adjust strategies in response to performance successes and shortcomings.

In order to measure the Department of State’s and USAID’s performance in FY 2009, agency working groups selected 130 performance indicators that best show U.S. progress toward achieving its foreign policy goals. The working groups examined each indicator closely to determine whether the FY 2009 result met a previously determined target and how the results impact the achievement of State and USAID strategic goals. A rating was then assigned to each indicator based on the analysis. The chart featured on this page summarizes FY 2009 ratings for the 130 Department of State and USAID performance indicators. Thirty-two illustrative indicators of the 130 are highlighted in the following section, which is organized by Strategic Goal and accompanied by an explanation of each goal and analyses of results achieved in FY 2009. All 130 indicators were published in the agencies’ FY 2009 Annual Performance Reports, which were incorporated into the FY 2011 Congressional Budget Justification.

Department of State

The relationship between performance transparency and agency management practice is clearly manifested through senior leadership who support and realize the benefits of measuring for organizational results. The Department practices an interagency, participatory whole-of-government approach that yields productive and long-lasting organizational reform. Performance management at the Department of State is entrenched in annual strategic planning and budget processes. Performance management is one avenue the Department uses to build consensus around organizational vision and direction, support prioritizing investments, facilitate interagency planning and coordination, and institutionalize a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

This year, the Department has adopted a new set of criteria for developing and selecting performance indicators that represent its diplomatic, consular and management efforts. This shift to more “outcome-oriented” performance indicators has resulted in a largely new set of indicators designed to provide information that is more meaningful to Congress, the President, and the American public, and more useful internally in supporting budget, policy, and planning decisions.


Diagram showing USAID's four-part performance management process: (1) Plan and set goals; (2) Collect data and analyze results; (3) Use data for decision-making; and (4) Communicate results.Performance management represents the commitment of USAID to increase its accountability by striving to improve development outcomes. The Agency follows a four-part performance management process: plan and set goals, collect data and analyze results, use data for decision-making, and communicate results.

USAID Missions and offices are responsible for establishing Performance Management Plans to measure progress towards intended objectives. They are also responsible for reporting on key indicators of progress in their annual performance reports. At USAID, the tools of assessing, learning, and sharing are interrelated through the concept of performance management. Performance management is crucial for informing decisions on funding, program development, and implementation.

Key to performance management is an ambitious, optimistic, and achievable performance target. USAID follows a multi-step process when carefully determining its program-level targets by examining the baseline value before USG intervention, historical trends and the level of progress that occurred in the past, expert judgments from technical experts in the field, research findings and empirical evidence cited in research, accomplishments of similar programs elsewhere (with similar characteristics), customer expectations, and what will be accomplished over a five-year period with the current fiscal year budget and future funds, and then plans progress from the baseline.

Similarly, data are only useful for performance management if the information collected is of high quality. As indicated in USAID’s Automated Directive System Chapter 203.3.5, all USAID Missions and offices are required to conduct data quality assessments for all performance data reported to Washington. USAID has three data source categories: primary data (collected by USAID or where collection is funded by USAID), partner data (compiled by USAID implementing partners but collected from other sources), and data from third-party sources (from other Government agencies or development organizations). Primary data undergo rigorous USAID assessments to ensure that it meets quality requirements. Third-party data do not go through the same USAID quality assessments, but sources are carefully chosen based on the organization’s experience, expertise, credibility, and use of similar assessments.


Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.