Reporting of program results in such a way as to highlight both successes and shortcomings, the challenges faced by the organization, and what it might do in the future to improve results.
(Pal 2006, 323)-----------------------------------------------------------
A performance story entails reporting of program results in such a way as to highlight both successes and shortcomings, the challenges faced by the organization, and what it might do in the future to improve results. A performance story provides a credible portrait in narrative form of results and expectations, mentioning both anticipated and unanticipated outcomes. Good reporting on performance requires reporting on what was achieved in relation to what was expected. Reporting on outcomes therefore involves reporting on what was achieved in relation to the results-expectations chart set out. It involves more than simply reporting against several specific performance measures or targets previously set out. It involves telling a credible performance story about the results-expectations chart - that is, presenting evidence on the extent to which the results-expectations chart in fact reflects reality. Of course, if in addition, unintended results are observed, these too should be reported. Indeed, it is good practice to ensure that the strategy for measuring program results includes room for addressing unintended results associated with the program. There are a variety of ways to present a performance story. All involve a mix of quantitative evidence that certain outputs and outcomes have occurred as well as narrative discussion and further evidence of the contributions made at various points along the results chain, all described within some context. A performance story sets out to convince a skeptical reader that the activities undertaken by the program have indeed made a difference - that the expectations chain has, at least to some extent, been realized, along with any significant unintended results.
Pal, Leslie. 2006. Beyond Policy Analysis: Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, 3rd ed. Toronto: Nelson Education.