In the current constrained fiscal climate it is more and more important to be able to manage our policy initiatives or projects to achieve the greatest impact for limited funds available and make efficient use of scarce resources.
This requires us to identify and manage transport outcomes, do more with less, and ensure the greatest value for money.
At the whole of government level the benefits or the outcomes generally for under three categories: economy, society, environment. This is also referred to as the triple bottom line.
For the transport system we are measuring the benefits or outcomes that contribute to the whole of government or the community. In economic terms this relates to the efficient movement of people and goods to sustain economic development. In social terms this relates to issues such as providing a safe transport system and providing accessibility and mobility users. Environmental impacts referred to reducing the impact of transport on the environment.
To achieve more with less requires consideration of the following key steps: an outcome orientation, policy options, the 80:20 rule, and managing for results.
1. Establish Outcome Orientation
The first step in performance management is to have clearly articulated outcomes and objectives against which performance can be measured.
What this means is that a project or policy delivers benefits or outcomes that are a government and community priority, rather than just the outputs or deliverables. This requires identifying the appropriate transport system outcomes that a policy initiative or project is contributing to.
It is critical to obtain a line of sight through to the strategic objective of the agency and the whole of government that a policy initiative or project is responding to. For example, a key transport objective is efficiently moving people and goods – so how does your policy initiative or project further that objective?
In addition it is important to ensure that interventions result in safe, sustainable outcomes, with minimal environmental impact.
2. Review Policy Options
The key to obtaining value for money is to identify different ways required outcomes can be delivered, i.e. develop a range of alternative options. This requires us to be able to step back and look at innovative solutions, think outside of the box about what is required and how it can be delivered in a cost-effective way.
3. Focus Priority: the 80:20 rule
It is important to focus on government priorities, and how your project or policy contributes to those priorities. A key concept that can be used here is the 80:20 rule, which means that roughly 20% of the initiatives result in 80% of the benefits. Identifying where to focus your effort and investment to deliver the greatest benefit enables you to achieve more with less.
4. Managing for Results
Having identified the key priorities to be achieved, ensure that the focus of the delivery and the results are aligned with the outcomes.
Doing more with less is required as demands on the forward budget greatly exceed available funds. Developing an outcome orientation and making more effective use of scarce resources is a key requirement for today’s transport professionals.