Performance Improvement: Stages, Steps and Tools
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Performance Improvement Toolkit
Define Desired Performance

Step 1: Write desired performance statements

Step 2: Attach measures to each desired performance statement

Step 3: Set targets for desired levels of performance.

In order to gain consensus on exactly what is desired in terms of performance, you will work with the stakeholder group to state desired performance in results-based, measurable terms. This focus will help every other step of the PI process (including evaluation) become more precise, clear and targeted. Indeed, without a careful definition of desired performance, the rest of the process carries little meaning. To paraphrase the March Hare, if you don’t know your destination, any path will do.

Note that desired performance and ideal performance are not necessarily the same. Desired performance reflects the expectations of the stakeholder group and may change over time. At the beginning of what must be viewed as an ongoing process, undue emphasis on ideal performance might set seemingly unreachable standards that could tend to discourage, rather than encourage, improvement.

The stakeholder group will define desired performance and set performance targets. Desired performance statements may contain any of the following measures:

  • Quality, or how well the performance meets a specification or standard. For example: how closely do FP/RH services follow national guidelines?
  • Quantity, or how much of the performance should occur. For example: what percentage of eligible women should receive family planning counseling?
  • Time, or when performance should occur. For example: how long do clients have to wait before they see a provider?
  • Cost, or how much material or labor is used to produce a given performance.

Ultimately, the desired performance of the target group should relate to the expected results for clients at the primary care level. As stated in “Consider Institutional Context,” the desired performance should support organizational goals whenever possible. The team should make sure that the desired performance of the target group is as clearly defined as possible before proceeding to the next step.