Program Reviews

What is a Program Review?

Regional MSDs and HSDs conduct program reviews at WFOs. The purpose of these reviews is to look at the state of each program in the office, recent accomplishments, initiatives, future goals, and problem areas. HSD focuses on the hydrology program of the office. Program reviews also allow regional personnel to meet people in the field, to share ideas and programs between offices, and to provide the regional office with the field perspective on issues. It is a good time for field personnel to express their concerns, problems, and give suggestions about policies.

Some reviews are only conducted by MSD, or HSD, but most are conducted by a representative of both MSD and HSD. WFOs can expect a program review every 2 to 3 years. MICs may request a review if they have concerns about a particular program.

Each program review is conducted a little differently, depending on the office being reviewed and on the representatives of HSD and MSD. Usually regional personnel meet with each program focal point one-on-one, and a station meeting is organized so anyone can bring up issues. HSD and MSD may also visit a few of the office's customers (i.e. emergency managers). The review usually ends with an out-briefing for the management team, or only with the MIC. During the out-briefing the office and the regional divisions will agree on action items. Most program reviews last 2 days.

With the information gathered during a program review, regional personnel will suggest improvement to programs. They will also use that information to make policy decisions. Program reviews are also intended to promote information exchange, document innovative programs for use in other offices, and suggest ways to improve services.

What can be reviewed in the Hydrology Program?

Here are some of the topics that may be covered during a hydrology program review:

What can be done to prepare for a program review?

Prior to most program reviews, MSD and HSD will send out a questionnaire to be filled out by the MIC and/or program focal points. The Service Hydrologist may be asked to fill out the hydrology section for the MIC. Each program manager and focal point is also asked to fill out a page, covering recent accomplishments, goals, and problems in their area. The Service Hydrologist should fill this form out as well.

To prepare for the hydrology program review, the Hydrology Program Manager should check that the HSM is up to date. HSD might go over the HSM and any other documentation about hydrologic operations, such as E-19s. The Hydrology Program Manager should be prepared to raise and discuss issues and questions he/she has about the hydrology program. For issues that may require research on the part of HSD, it would be wise to contact HSD and inform them of the issues in advance to allow for time to research prior to the program review.

It is encouraged to call HSD prior to the program review if you have any concerns or questions.