What's New in City Design

Tracking Key Performance Metrics

Cities are increasingly establishing key performance metrics (or KPIs) to track performance of municipal functions. Cities typically pick a key goal, associated metrics and benchmarks for success.  The tracking system will show how the city is performing relative to the set goal. Scores can be shown for individual functions or as an overall aggregate score.

Benefits and Problems Addressed

Communicating performance: Online tracking systems can be used internally and with the public to continuously show performance. 

Accountability: The public and managers can see where performance is lagging, which can initiate new internal processes.  The KPIs will show whether these new processes are working. 

Process Improvement: A dipping score invites investigation, which can reveal unknown factors related to performance.

Tips & Techniques

Choosing metrics: Cities typically look across Departments and choose metrics related to service delivery. For example, on-time garbage pick-up or a response time for complaints issued.  In addition, a list of KPIs may also include problems raised by the community, such as graffiti

Setting benchmarks: Cities will need to balance several factors in setting benchmarks as not to under or overestimate an apt KPI. Cities will also need to carefully consider resources (human and financial), and trade-offs. For instance, a large storm may require reallocating staff from other Divisions, limiting their ability to focus on their Department. For more complicated topics, a city may establish an index of several factors. 

Hot Buttons: Any KPI needs to address the performance based on end user experiences.  While easy to track, some KPIs such as social media followers, may not reflect the intended goal of engagement.


Boston MA City Score