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June 2007
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Best-practice sharing: outcome reports

In one of the groups of which I’m a member, I’ve heard a number of people jokingly equate organizational success with there being money in the bank and no one in jail. It’s a noble goal–although I’ve got to say I have somewhat higher expectations for my work.

One way that I’ve used ROMA tools to improve my program management that has nothing to do with submitting loads of data to the government involves outcome reports for case managers. It seemed pretty obvious to me, but when I shared it at the ROMA training yesterday, a number of people seemed to think it was an example of best practices. In case it might be helpful to anyone else in my position out there, I wanted to discuss it a bit.

All of the programs I work with have outcomes associated with them. One way that I’ve worked to focus our energy on accomplishing those is through outcome reports that we now use on a weekly basis. Staff receive individual reports on performance, noting outstanding goals and also showing overall outcomes.

Being able to see outcomes-to-date helps keep all of us aware of the successes we are having with the people we serve, and it’s good motivation–“You’re doing a great job!” is not the same as “Did you notice that you are having an 82% entered employment rate with your homeless clients? Compared to national averages, that is remarkable.”

Outcome check-ins help me and my staff to be more accountable, and it helps us make fast corrections when we get off course with programs or individual clients.

By the way, I email out reports, so it’s not destroying the environment. 😉