Nail down terminology so that everyone will be on the same page in communicating the performance measurements program. Common terms include the following:
Inputs—the resources the department (or municipality) puts forth to provide service. Examples are number of staff, budget, number of garbage trucks, etc.
Outputs—indicates the amount of service provided. Examples are tons of garbage collected, number of potholes repaired, miles of street overlay, etc.
Outcomes—measures that indicate how well objectives were accomplished. Outcome measures indicate the quality or effectiveness of a service. Examples are response time for fire engine(s) to arrive on scene after notification, the percentage of city streets passable 24 hours after a major snowstorm, cleanliness rating of city streets following street sweeping, etc.
Efficiency—a measure of the resources required to produce a certain outcome. Examples are the cost to pave each residential street mile, the cost per ton of garbage collected, cost per linear foot of water line installed, etc.
Program target or goal—a statement of the level of performance that the department wants to achieve. Examples are to reduce the number of on the job injuries by 10 percent in the next fiscal year, increase the amount of garbage collected per crew by 15 percent in the next fiscal year, etc.