What Should Be Tracked in Government? – Dimensions

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker

The placement of specific performance measurements into a system of dimensions will naturally connect the measurements to the mission, values and vision of the organization.  A performance measurement dimension in government is the “bucket or category” into which a specific performance measurement would be included.  An organizational strategic plan is actionable based upon the defined goals and objectives which are translated into strategy, tactics and key action steps.  Included below are the definitions for the major dimensions into which goals and objectives can be placed. 

A System of Measurement Dimensions


Inputs refer to the basic resources such as people, raw materials, energy, information, or finance that are put into a system to obtain a desired output. Inputs are typically classified under costs in accounting.


Outputs refer to the basic goods or services immediately produced such as: the amount of energy, work, goods, or services produced by a machine, factory, company, or an individual in a given period.  


Outcomes reflect the impacts a service has on the recipients and the wider community. An outcome may be related to an activity, plan, process, or program and is compared with the intended or projected results.


Process reflects how services are delivered and the manner in which resources are arranged to meet demand for services.  A process is a collection of linked tasks which find their end in the delivery of a service or product to a client. A business process has also been defined as a set of activities and tasks that, once completed, will accomplish an organizational goal.


An economic system is the large set of interrelated production and consumption activities that aid in determining how valuable resources are allocated.  Economy indicators are primarily concerned with the inputs, and show the cost of the activities related to delivering products or services.  


Efficiency refers to doing things in a right manner, usually focusing on the process or ‘means’.  Efficiency is concerned with how to perform in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.  It is usually expressed as the output to input ratio and focuses on getting the maximum output with minimum resources.  


Effectiveness, on the other hand, refers to doing the right things by focusing on the end result.  It constantly measures if the actual output meets the desired output. Effectiveness indicators are primarily focused on showing the outcome of the service.


Equity indicators concern administrative justice by ensuring that like processes are dealt with in a like manner. Equity indicators can measure any of the performance dimensions defined above.


Quality indicators are focused on the how the product or service is perceived in relationship to a standard.  Internal indicators are measured against a standardized set of internal organizational deliverables.  External indicators are usually concerned with providing the best possible product or service as measured by the customer’s internal standard.  As with equity, quality can measure any of the performance dimensions defined above.

“A goal without a method is nonsense.” – W. Edwards Deming

Familiarity with the above dimensions will be helpful as you translate your strategic plan into a defined set of trackable measurements.  Many organizations have found that an investment in technology such as government software is essential to making the collection and reporting of key data simple and easy.  MyGov would enjoy the opportunity to learn more about you and help you to implement a process leading to efficiency and effectiveness in city government.


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