The Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) at the City of Virginia Beach is leading the way in comprehensive performance management with their three-tiered approach. The lean but efficient office handles several projects and functions to establish a culture of data-informed management throughout city departments.
One year ago, the city embarked on a journey to revamp their performance management program. As part of this endeavor, they decided to incorporate ClearPoint Strategy software to help track progress and manage data visualization requirements for departments and their respective stakeholders. The aim was to improve efficiency, enhance transparency, and foster a data-driven culture across all departments.
OPA Director, Tam Nguyen, talks the city's strategic plan, Department Performance Plans (DPPs), and management.
Watch the full interview here!
"VB Stat" operates based on focused performance assessments according to organizational priorities. The intentionality of this program is to keep organizational goals at the forefront of the minds of stakeholders, with frequent meetings aimed at tracking the progress and effectiveness of different projects. A prime example is Viginia Beach's "Rescue Stat," aimed at evaluating and improving emergency response times. Meetings, attended by key stakeholders such as EMS, 311, 911, and the fire department, facilitate real-time decision making based on data-driven insights.
"VB Strategy" forms the strategic planning component, translating the city council's vision and community feedback into a workable strategy aligning resources and effort. This two-year plan is updated bi-annually with performance reports and highlights to ensure transparency and accountability. ClearPoint software has played a crucial role in the implementation of VB Strategy, replacing older, more limited tools like Excel spreadsheets.
ClearPoint allows the creation of separate scorecards for each of the five key focus areas of the strategy. This approach has streamlined the process and kept stakeholders focused on their specific areas of responsibility, without overwhelming them with irrelevant information. It has fostered a more efficient way of managing and implementing performance management practices and has greatly simplified the process of performance reporting and tracking.
Overall, ClearPoint has been instrumental in the implementation of Virginia Beach's strategic plan and performance management practices. Its user-friendly features and capability to manage multiple programs and scorecards have significantly improved the office's efficiency and effectiveness.
It's a good tool to collect data because it streamlines a lot of the process - less cumbersome and a lot easier to digest.
Using ClearPoint software, the OPA at Virginia Beach has successfully designed a strategic plan that is not only comprehensive, but also clear and accessible to various stakeholders. Each scorecard offers insights into the intentions, objectives, milestones, and performance measures relevant to the particular focus area.
This structured approach is maintained across different scorecards, allowing a clear and consistent format that is easy to navigate. In addition to providing transparency, the scorecards also serve as a discussion platform during quarterly meetings with the city manager. These meetings offer an opportunity to celebrate wins, identify challenges, and explore potential synergies between different departments.
The "VB Performance" system complements and works synergistically with VB Strategy. While VB Strat handles the broader strategic plan related to key focus areas, VB Performance focuses on the two-year performance plans of individual departments. These Department Performance Plans (DPPs) capture key initiatives, aligned performance measures, and progress evaluations.
It's a platform to talk about the synergies that may occur.
Each department under the purview of the city manager has a DPP, which includes information like the mission and vision, a two-year performance plan, budgetary details, and key metrics. These are publicly available and updated monthly, with quarterly meetings held with the city manager to review progress.
Before implementing ClearPoint, the Virginia Beach strategy and performance initiatives were monitored using Excel spreadsheets. The shift to ClearPoint streamlined data collection and analysis, saving time and simplifying the presentation of data. In addition to automatically generating charts and graphs, the software enabled more visually appealing presentations of data, which the city and stakeholders found easier to digest. While the city has not yet fully integrated all VB Stat items into ClearPoint, they have begun tracking several city-wide projects and have plans for further expansion.
ClearPoint is a one-stop-shop for not only our OPA work, but budget work as well.
Recently, the city even upgraded their software license to allow for more active users, reflecting their commitment to increasing usage and expanding the benefits derived from this data-driven strategy.
Reflecting on Virginia Beach's partnership with ClearPoint thus far, the city shared some key advice for new users or those considering shifting from Excel. Nguyen emphasizes the importance of using a "crawl, walk, run" approach, as usage will evolve as organizations learn and discover new features. After one year of use, the city recognizes that there are still many features to explore within ClearPoint, implying a continual journey of scaling and refinement.
It's not about streamlining a process… it's an entirely new rhythm that we've found now, which we really love.