Provisions of H.R. 2142, GPRA Modernization Act (GMA)
in Relation to Strategy Markup Language (StratML)

Sec. 2 5 USC 306(a)(1) Mission
GMA requires that each strategic plan include: "a comprehensive mission statement covering the major functions and operations of the agency."

While StratML Parts 1 & 2 include an element for Mission statements, it is not intended for use as a "comprehensive statement of functions and operations" nor does that seem to be the best use of the concept of mission. 

Instead, it might be better to specify other elements addressing the concepts of "functions" and "operations" and perhaps to distinguish them from the concepts of processes, programs, and projects.

StratML Part 2 enables the identification of Input_Processing and Output_Processing as an attribute of PerformanceIndicator.  It will be interesting to learn how the concepts of operations and functions differ from and are related to those concepts.

In Part 3, it may be appropriate to address the concepts of Program and Project, as defined in the StratML glossary.

5 USC 306(a)(2) Goal
GMA requires that each strategic plan include: "general goals and objectives, including outcome-oriented goals, for the major functions and operations of the agency."

Goal and Objective elements are part of the StratML core and, through the PerformanceIndicator element, objectives can be attributed as being of the outcome type (as well as of the types output, input, input processing, or output processing).

However, in Part 3 it may be appropriate to enable goals to be associated with "functions" and "operations".

5 USC 306(a)(4)(A) PerformanceIndicator
GMA requires that each strategic plan include "a description of the operational processes, skills and technology, and the human, capital, information, and other resources required to achieve those goals and objectives."

In StratML Part 2, resources required to achieve objectives can be identified as PerformanceIndicators of the Input type in the ValueChainStage attribute.  They can also be named and described.

5 USC 306(a)(4)(B)
GMA requires "a description of how the agency is working with other agencies to achieve its goals and objectives as well as relevant Federal Government priority goals."

In StratML other agencies can be identified as stakeholders of the performer type who are thus performance partners for each goal and/or objective.  Roles may be named and described.  However, Parts 1 & 2 do not provide for distinguishing "priority" goals from other goals. 

The assumption has been that all goals have been deemed worthy of pursuit or they would not be included in the plan and that the best measures of priority are: a)  the PerformanceIndicators associated with each objective in terms of money, FTE, and other inputs; and b) the StartDate and EndDate associated with each objective.

However, in Part 3 it may be appropriate to include an element(s) or attribute(s) enabling the identification of goals and objectives as being of high priority (or not) or of varying degrees of priority (e.g., high, medium, or low). 

While such desginations may be meaningless without the allocation of resources and the establishment of deadlines, they could provide a useful means of evaluating the degrees to which agencies are living up to their avowed priorities.

The Relationship element of StratML Part 2 can be used to relate agency goals and objectives to governmentwide goals in the Federal plan, and those relationships can be named and described.

5 USC 306(a)(7) PerformanceIndicator
GMA requires "an identification of those key factors external to the agency and beyond its control that could significantly affect the achievement of the general goals and objectives." 

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not yet include elements for what are commonly called Critical Success Factors (CSFs).  It may be appropriate to include an optional, repeatable element called SuccessFactor with attributes for external/external &/or critical/noncritical. 

In StratML, outcomes are distinguished from outputs based upon the need for inputs and processing beyond the control of the planning organization(s).  Thus, this requirement could alternatively be met for some factors by identifying the stakeholders who control the necessary inputs and processes. 

In StratML, inputs, outputs, processes, and outcomes are identified in the Performance Indicator element, with an attribute for the Value Chain Stage.

5 USC 306(a)(8)
GMA requires "a description of the program evaluations used in establishing or revising general goals and objectives, with a schedule for future program evaluations to be conducted."

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "programs" or "projects" but it may be appropriate to do so in Part 3. 

It may also be appropriate to specify an Evaluation element as a child of those elements and reuse the Name, Description, Start Date, and End Date elements as children of it.  Perhaps there may be a commonly accepted standard(s) for program evaluations, in which case StratML could simply reference it(them).

For example, for the establishment of goals and objectives, two widely recognized methodologies are SWOT & PEST.  For the evaluation of plans, SMART is a methodology applied in project management. However, as far as we are aware, no open, standard format (e.g., an XML schema) has been specified for those methodologies.
Sec. 3 31 USC 1115(a)
GMA requires OMB to "coordinate with agencies to develop the Federal Government performance plan."

In StratML Part 3, it may be appropriate to include an element(s) or attribute(s) facilitating the automated aggregation of the governmentwide plan from the information contained within the individual agency plans, e.g., by leveraging a priority element or attribute associated with each goal and objective.

31 USC 1115(a)(2)
GMA says: "The Federal Government performance plan shall ... identify the agencies, organizations, program activities, regulations, tax expenditures, policies, and other activities contributing to each Federal Government performance goal during the current fiscal year."

Each of those can be identified under existing elements in StratML Parts 1 & 2.  However, guidance will be needed on how best to do so.  For example, program activities can be documented as Performance Indicators of the Input_Processing or Output_Processing type.  Tax expenditures can be documented as Performance Indicators of the Input type, and policies and regulations can be documented as being of the Output type.

The identification of tax expenditures could be facilitated if non-profit charitable organizations were expected, if not required, to document their strategic and performance plans and reports in StratML format on their websites and to use the Relationship element to identify the .gov goals and objectives they support.

Commercial organizations whose operations entail tax expenditures (e.g., home financing firms) should be expected, if not required, to do likewise.

31 USC 1115(a)(5)

GMA says: "The Federal Government performance plan shall ... establish clearly defined quarterly milestones."

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "milestones" but it may be appropriate to do so in Part 3.  The Name, Description, Start Date, and End Date elements could be reused as children of a new Milestone element, as a child of Objective.

31 USC 1115(a)(6)
GMA says: "The Federal Government performance plan shall ... identify major management challenges that are Governmentwide or crosscutting in nature and describe plans to address such challenges, including relevant performance goals, performance indicators, and milestones"

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "management challenges" but it may be appropriate to do so in Part 3.  The Name and Description elements could be reused as children of a new Management Challenges element and the Relationship element could be used to associate each with its respective goals, performance indicators, and milestones,

31 USC 1115(b)
GMA requires each agency to make available on a public website a performance plan covering each program activity set forth in the budget.

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "program activities."  In Part 3 it may be appropriate to include an element enabling the identification of Programs.

The President's budget would provide the controlled vocabulary of "program activities" that could be enforced in StratML applications used by U.S. federal agencies.

31 USC 1115(b)(5)(E) Stakeholder
GMA says that agency performance plans shall include: "an identification of the agency officials responsible for the achievement of each performance goal, who shall be known as goal leaders."

The Stakeholder element of StratML can be used to name and describe goal leaders as stakeholders of the performer type.

31 USC 1115(b)(6) PerformanceIndicator
GMA says agency performance plans shall: "establish a balanced set of performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing progress toward each performance goal, including, as appropriate, customer service, efficiency, output, and outcome indicators."

StratML Parts 1 & 2 include a PerformanceIndicator element and performance indicators may be categorized as outputs or outcomes in the ValueChainStage attribute. 

However, in Part 3 it may be appropriate to include a more generic element enabling the categorization of goals and objectives under various taxonomies, such as the four aspects of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Performance Reference Model (PRM). 

One of the categories in the PRM is "Customer Results," which might be taken as equivalent to "customer service."  The other three categories in the PRM are Mission and Business Results, Processes and Activities, and Technology.

Each of those categories has a set of subcategories.  So it may be appropriate to include at least a three-layer hierarchy for categorizations: 1) to name the categorization scheme, 2) for the top layer of the hierarchy, and 3) for the bottom layer.

The U.S. federal Chief Architect aims to reengineer the FEA.  So now would be a good time to reconfigure the taxonomy of the PRM to support the requirements of the GMA.

Efficiency measures are defined in GMA as a ratio of inputs to outputs or outcomes.  See comment on 31 USC 1115(h)(4) below.  It is not clear that they are part of a categorization scheme, but if so, it may be appropriate to revise the PRM to include such a category.  If so, it might be logical to include an effectiveness category as well.

31 USC 1115(b)(8)
GMA says that agency performance plans shall include: "a description of how the agency will ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data used to measure progress towards its performance goals, including an identification of--

''(A) the means to be used to verify and validate measured values;

''(B) the sources for the data;

''(C) the level of accuracy required for the intended use of the data;

''(D) any limitations to the data at the required level of accuracy; and

''(E) how the agency will compensate for such limitations if needed to reach the required level of accuracy ..."

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not explicitly address these concepts.  The OtherInformation element under the PerformanceIndicator element could be used to document such information, but it may be appropriate to include more explicit elements for these concepts in Part 3.

31 USC 1115(b)(10)
GMA requires agencies to "identify low-priority program activities based on an analysis of their contribution to the mission and goals of the agency and include an evidence-based justification for designating a program activity as low priority."

StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concepts of "program activities" or "evidence-based justification". 

The concept of "activity" is addressed in Part 2 in the sense of processes, via the Input_Processing and Output_Processing facets of the ValueChainStage attribute.

In any event, the reference to low priority in this paragraph implies the need to support at least two categories of priority -- high and low.  Consideration shoulld also be given to whether additional categories such as "medium" &/or "undetermined" or "to be determined" may be useful. 

If more than two categories are supported, the issue will be whether five or seven might be better than three, in order to enable more precise delineation of priority.

If an "evidence-based justification" is merely a narrative, the Description element of StratML Parts 1 & 2 could be reused for that purpose. 

However, it may also be appropriate to support a taxonomy and perhaps a controlled vocabulary(ies) of reasons for designating goals, objectives, and "program activities" as being of realtively higher or lower priority.  If so, a general purpose set of elements for naming categorization schemes and documenting the category could be included in the schema for Part 3 without necessarily specifying the allowable categories.

31 USC 1115(c) PerformanceIndicator
While expressing a preference for objective, quantifiable, measurable performance indicators, if such metrics are not feasible, GMA allows for the description of  "minimally effective" and "successful" programs.

In StratML, the Description element under Performance Indicator can be used to provide such descriptions, but it may be appropriate to include an attribute as well, with a controlled vocabulary of "ineffective, minimally effective, or successful".

31 USC 1115(h)(4)
Actual Result
GMA says: "'efficiency measure' means a ratio of a program activity's inputs (such as costs or hours worked by employees) to its outputs (amount of products or services delivered) or outcomes (the desired results of a program) ..."

In StratML, efficiency measures can be calculated by dividing the Actual Result for inputs by the Actual Result for outputs or outcomes.

Since this is a value derived from other elements, it does not necessarily require inclusion of another element in the StratML schema.  However, it may be appropriate to include one for purposes of clarity and simplicity.
Sec. 5
31 USC 1120(a)
GMA requires the Director of OMB to "coordinate with agencies to develop priority goals to improve the performance and management of the Federal Government."

See comments on priority & automated aggregation above.

31 USC 1120(a)(1)(A)
Federal (governmentwide) priority goals shall include: "outcome-oriented goals covering a limited number of crosscutting policy areas."

In StratML Parts 1 & 2 outcome-oriented goals can be identified as such through the ValueChainStage attribute associated with the PerformanceIndicator element.  The PerformanceIndicator element is a child of Objective, which is in turn a child of Goal.

In Part 3, consideration should be given to whether to apply the ValueChainStage attribute at the Goal level (in addition to the Objective level).  The thought has been that outcomes cannot be realized with producing outputs, and since outputs are produced in near-term, real-time, it is appropriate to associate them with shorter-term Objectives rather than longer-term Goals. 

Moreover, any information devived at the lower levels of a hierarchy (e.g., Objectives) can be imputed upward to higher levels (e.g., Goals) but the reverse is not true. 

Thus, applying the ValueChainStage attribute at the Goal level may add complexity that is not required to achieve the desired result.  On the other hand, attributes do not add a great deal of complexity to the schema or forms in which they are rendered for user input.  So it may be appropriate to enable attribution of the ValueChainStage to Goals as well as Objectives.

31 USC 1120(a)(1)(B)
Federal (governmentwide) priority goals shall also include: "goals for management improvements needed across the Federal Government, including--

''(i) financial management;

''(ii) human capital management;

''(iii) information technology management;

''(iv) procurement and acquisition management; and

''(v) real property management."

These categories are analogous to the previous Administration's lines of business (LOBs).  In the context of StratML Part 3, they might be treated as another taxonomy by which goals and objectives can be categorized using a generic set of elements for categorizations.  See comment on categorizations above.

Sec. 10

GMA expressly requires agencies to publish their strategic and performance plans and reports in machine-readable format, like StratML

It also explicitly prohibits them from incurring expenses to print such plans and reports for distribution, except when providing such information to Congress.

While the Act does not explicitly state as much, it seems fair to assume that: a) the expectation is that printing costs should be kept to a minimum even when delivering plans and reports to Congress, and b) priority should be placed upon the substance of the plans and reports rather than the style of their presentation (e.g., glossy formats with lots of graphics).

On the other hand, to the degree that presenting information in attractive, eye-catching formats may be useful in many contexts, publishing such plans and reports in StratML format will enable myriad value-added intermediaries to address the market potentials assoicated with such opportunities (while saving the taxpayers from bearing the cost).

Presentation is explicitly not part of the StratML standard.