WhiteHouse.gov: Saving Taxpayer Dollars With Moneyball

September 28th, 2011

Posted by Shelley Metzenbaum
September 28, 2011

More for less. The movie Moneyball opened last weekend, telling the story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane.  Beane knew he could never match the payroll of the Yankees, so he turned to analytics to win more games and do more – much more – with less.

There may never be a movie about the management of the federal government, but the Administration has been taking its own Moneyball approach to management, driving performance and, ultimately, saving money.

Like Beane, who understood that his goal was to win games – not hit the most home runs, government agencies must learn to be clear about what they want to accomplish and not get stuck in the rut of doing what they have always done. That means setting real, achievable goals that align with agency mission, and sticking to them. For some agencies or programs, that means staying focused on preventing bad things, like accidents and pollution, from happening and reducing their costs when they do – rather than focusing on process goals like completing plan reviews. Processes can be important in achieving the goal, but we should never confuse them with the ultimate goal. To achieve more, government agencies need a clear understanding of the goals each wants to accomplish, focusing on the ultimate goals rather than intermediate process steps. That’s why the Administration has set high priority performance goals to focus our efforts in the near and medium term – and right now we are working on setting agency and cross-agency goals for 2012 and 2013, which will be incorporated in the President’s next budget proposal. This is why the Administration expects agency leaders to be clear about their priorities.

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