Discussion#6-2 – Assessment & Benchmarking of Collaboration Projecrts – What steps to take, ect.?
Assessment and Benchmarking of Collaborative Projects
Assessing what kinds of performance measures would be used for a collaboration is one aspect of successful project management. Putting this into practice, however, can sometimes be tricky. How specifically will you plan to assess the performance of the case you are designing?
- What steps will you take?
- What benchmarks will you use?
- How will “success” be defined, and does it mean the same thing to all participants?
Think carefully about this, because the perspectives of each participant and how they would like to measure success may be very different! How will you accommodate all of these perspectives?
Case Study Interviews
Unit 6: Outcomes
What strengths did EMERGE bring to the collaboration, and what about areas
that others might term weaknesses?
I think what we have brought is [that] we are an up and coming organization. We brought some new and
exciting work in North Minneapolis that has been looked to in creating some new models of ways of
having community impact. And I think because of that we bring a standing in community work to the
table that is valued within the MACC partnership.
But I also think, just our makeup as an organization. if we engage in partnership, we intend to be good
partners, we intend to be committed to the values of the partnership, and to play our role in making sure
that the partnership succeed, and follow through on our objectives related to the partnership. So we
want to be good partners, we take our turn when it comes to taking on partnership responsibilities,
whether it be leading an initiative, or playing a role in the governance, or making sure that our staff are
contributing to the activities that are shared among the partners, and these are all things that are
necessary for the partnership to have. So I think one of the strengths is we are a good partner, and we
intend to be a good partner that falls through on our expectations of being in that partnership.
The strength is that we have a broad array of resources. We have services that we can assist people from
birth to death, literally. in a sense we have, over the course of years and year tried to refine our services
so that we are providing the best services that we possibly can for the community. I worked some of my
time in behavioral health and at one point in time when we were dealing with services we were disjointed
meaning that we had chemical health services that were separate from mental health services. The
county has learned, over time, to comprehensively combine those service and take care of the whole
And so I think that our organization has been able to learn from the wisdom of our past and use that to
serve the community most efficiently and it does not matter whether we are dealing with the young child
or if we are dealing with the elderly and the adults who are in the community struggling with the
challenges that are in their life.
But that also can be seen as a weakness in the sense that we used to be able to financially afford giving
an array of service s and now that we are not able to do that, we are back at the communities doors
again asking to be a true collaborative partner which I think is what we probably always should have
done and that we are learning now, overtime, that there is a way to be a part of the solution instead of
being the solution to support the community and the people that live in these communities.. Plus we are
also staring to deal with high volume of diversity and I do not think that we can do that very well and we
need to partner with the communities who are more, they are closer to the community needs than we
are, and we are government and so that can be a deficit and some time the people do not trust us and
then I really feeling that government is the answer and so and they seek to work group people who are
more familiar with which is the community providers.
When the collaboration first started, how did your organization define success as
any successful outcome to the problem, and has that definition changed over
I think the outcomes of MACC have evolved over a number of years, but I think the first outcomes were
about “can we create a shared space to have conversation?” I do not mean physical space, but really a
place where, an intersection of communication and ideas, and a way that we could bring, first of all group
of leaders together and then next, the next level of leaders in the partner organizations around some
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collective goals, and some of the first outcomes were around creating an annual training program,
hosting [an] original conference, doing some things like that, that were the first step.
Some of the bigger objectives were, could a group of MACC members come together around figuring out
how it might create cost efficiencies, around finance, human resources, and IT services within each of our
organizations. So, eventually the major objective of MACC became “could we create a common
administration for a group of agencies who would like to adopt this idea?” And that was actually a major
undertaking of the MACC partnership. But it did not start there, it needed to start with more early smaller
objectives with more early successes, before we could tackle some of the more complex opportunities,
like creating the MACC Commonwealth around shared administration. And so, these outcomes have
continued to evolve. Interestingly MACC is at a new phase in its life cycle, and it is now formulating plan
around some new outcomes.
Well, I would say that basically when the collaborative started for MACC, I think that the success was
based on individual contracts that we were doing. When we made our agreements, we had contract
agreements that identified outcomes and those outcomes were specific to whatever we were purchasing.
In a Given a youth serving agency, if we were talking about how many kids we can get them to make
sure that they sustain themselves in school. If the agency was successful in doing that and there were a
lot of them that were, what were the assets that they brought in order to strengthen the youth and help
them be more interested in their educational endeavors? Was it a special school project that they had
after school that draws the children in and then because of that, they wanted to participate in it; was that
the reason that agency was successful? So we had an opportunity to examine those things on an
However, I think Hennepin County saw the advantage of working with the executive directors
comprehensively in the MACC team and that we – being at the table – could offer our ideas and concepts
and our service delivery plan to be able to engage them in the process of services that we were trying to
do as a continuum of services, not be singly focused from our contract perspective but to be
comprehensively focused on trying to deliver a great package of services with community being engaged
in the process.
What sorts of benchmarks or performance indicators did you all use to measure
progress throughout the collaboration?
I can’t speak too closely to the benchmarks of the performance indicators. I would defer to some of the
original founders to be able to point to those, but certainly things were taken on in a very thoughtful
manner, and there was real strategy in goals established for MACC alliance. But in terms of what those
specific performance indicators were, I was not directly involved in the creation or monitoring of those.
I think that we had our identified strategies that were based again on the contract agreements that we
have with the various different entities. I would say the benchmarks were identified as the success that
we saw out of the children that they served, if they were a youth serving organization. We would use the
community outreach strategic plans that they would implement and basically they were primarily based
on kind of like widgets in the sense; Counting individual clients and then looking at their success over a
period of time and so that was the way that we were able to identify whether the program was capable of
meeting the needs of that individual family or that child or that comprehensive service package that we
A lot of them were focused on numbers. One of the entities that we worked with was how many kids
came to their service center that they had a nd it was more based on the individuals and not the
programs and so we, over time, have been able to identify what we call benchmarks for success. We
identify where the client is at this point in time and then where do we want to have them. a child who
has been able to achieve things like they attend school over a certain period of time instead of missing.
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