First of all we must consider that NASA is a performance-based organisation. What does it mean? “A performance-based organisation commits to managing towards specific measurable goals, derived from a defined mission, using performance data to continually improve operations”.
So what is their performance management approach?
They work focusing on three main areas: performance reporting, performance evaluation and performance planning.
This works by applying the 3 phases of Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC): select, control, evaluate. It fits with project-centric management, however can be applied in other contexts. It helps to define priorities and make decisions; monitor progress and ensure that the plan is properly managed; and measure results against expectation and address any corrective action. It follows a continuous cycle to ensure strategic management and accountability.
You may wonder what is new? This is a common practice and it refers to the control management and planning activities. There are a couple of points which can help to properly define and assess the business plan and the strategic-goals planning.
1 - You may be interested in the Strategy and Performance Framework that you may apply for any line of business, line of products or services, business unit, branch division or whatever may require such approach.
The strategic plan must be aligned with your enterprise mission, which is inspired from its vision. You set a first line of direction by defining the strategic goals which can be achieved on a long term basis. The number of years to assign to such objectives must reflect the necessary timeline required to develop these major plans. It could be 10-5 years, 5-2 years, or less. It all depends on how many resources you need to invest to get there, how much time it takes, and with which modality you intend to pursue these directions.
To achieve these strategic goals, it needs to work on a lower level of commitment by undertaking a number of strategic objectives tied to each primary goal. You will need to assign the proper numbers of years in order to develop these second level goals. It could be 5-7 years or 2-3 years. In this second stage, you will therefore be defining the short-term objectives which must be aligned with your long-terms goals. Now that you have planned these two stages of destination, you can set the near-term targets that will be implemented over the next 12-24 months and the referring costs. You can figure out the above scenario with a hierarchical diagram.
You now have a structured and strategic process plan for the annual performance goals, your budget!
2 - To cope with the internal and external challenges in the near future, your organisation must be committed to manage priorities and to properly respond to any risk and opportunity. Defining upfront what the priorities and the challenges will be, will put your teams in a competitive advantage.
Sharing the long-terms goals and the referring short-terms objectives within the teams will make feel them part of a bigger picture, and so will contribute to enlarge their vision, increase their collaboration and feed their sense of belonging. These are all necessary ingredients to maintain a high-standard performance.