A Workbook in Program Design for Public Managers

By Leonard Ruchelman

Subjects: Public Administration
Series: SUNY series in Public Administration
Paperback : 9780887060250, 123 pages, June 1985

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Table of contents


1. Introduction

What is Program Design
Program Design as Planned Change
Approaches for Understanding the Process of Change
The Program Design Process

2. Getting Started

Step 1—Selecting a Problem Area for Analysis
Step 2—Organizing for Program Design

3. Diagnosing the Organizational Setting

Step 1—Describing the Performance Gap
Step 2—Rating Individual Factors
Step 3—Rating Organizational Factors
Step 4—Identifying Environmental Factors
Step 5— the Feasibility of a program Design Project

4. Generating Public Support

Step 1—Restating the Problem as an Issue
Step 2—Identifying the Likely Actors
Step 3—Estimating the Issue Position, Power and Salience of Each Actor
Step 4—Calculating Weights and Probabilities
Step 5—Identifying Strategies

5. Preparing a Workplan

Step 1—Defining the Problem
Step 2—Describing the Current Program
Step 3—Establishing the Project Scope
Step 4—Describing the Program Design Methodology
Step 5—Establishing and Assigning Work Tasks
Step 6—Approving the Workplan

6. Establishing Goals, Objectives and Performance Criteria

Step 1—Reviewing Program Material
Step 2—Defining Program Goals
Step 3—Defining Program Objectives
Step 4—Establishing Performance Criteria

7. Developing Program Alternatives

Step 1—Generating Program Alternatives
Step 2—Screening Program Alternatives
Step 3—Forecasting
Step 4—Categorizing Alternatives

8. Data Collection

Step 1—Estimating Service Demand
Step 2—Estimating Costs
Step 3—Collecting Effectiveness Data
Step 4—Collecting Feasibility information

9. Synthesizing the Data

Step 1—Organizing the Data
Step 2—Comparing the Data
Step 3—Drawing Conclusions

10. Communicating the Results

Step 1—Preparing the Draft Report
Step 2—Reviewing the Draft Report
Step 3— Transmitting the Final Report

11. Preparing for Implementation

Step 1—Forming an Implementation Team
Step 2—Preparing an Implementation Workplan
Step 3—Methods for Monitoring Implementation Progress
Step 4—Follow-up Strategies
Summary and Conclusions

Appendix A. Guide to Information Sources in Public Services

Appendix B. Guide to Information Sources in Human Services

Appendix C. Search Services

Appendix D. Sample Program Design Report


Annotated Bibliography


This is the first practical, step-by-step guide to a key management technique—the design of efficient, cost-effective programs. With social programs succumbing to the pressures of budgetary cutbacks and taxpayer opposition, it gives public administrators the skills to design programs that will endure even as resources decline.

The author begins to bridge the gap between what is needed by society and what can be provided by government by assisting public managers in identifying and surmounting obstacles in the way of program change. He does so by synthesizing what is known about program planning as a body of knowledge with the application of programs under real life conditions. His how-to approach covers such tasks as selecting a problem for analysis, diagnosing the organizational setting, preparing a work plan, developing alternatives, collecting data, communicating results, and preparing for implementation. The exercises and exhibits included in this workbook are applicable to all areas of public service, including health and human services, social services, criminal justice, and education.

Leonard I. Ruchelman is Professor of Urban Studies and Public Administration at Old Dominion University.