The Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab Fellow/Project Leader Positions in Connecticut, Michigan, and Washington State

Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab

Posted: 6/11/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Evaluation

Primary domain: Other

City: Various Cities

Postal code: 02138

State: Flexible

Country: United States

Organization Information:


Not Available


Mission statement:

The mission of the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL) is to accelerate U.S. progress on difficult social problems by improving how state and local governments function. We hire and train full-time team members, embedding them in government agencies to collaborate closely with government innovators in leading intensive reform projects. GPL staff advance key initiatives through technical assistance, including carrying out rigorous data analysis, identifying high-impact areas for systems re-engineering, implementing pilot projects to demonstrate innovative methods, and building government capacity for sustained change. 

Position Details:

Job Description:

The GPL is seeking to hire Fellows and Project Leaders for projects in Connecticut, Michigan, and Washington State.

Connecticut—the GPL is working with the state child welfare agency as part of a new strategy unit to improve the effectiveness of how programs are delivered. This work will include leading efforts to pilot and scale solutions across the state. This would be continuing a project that was launched two years ago and would be part of a team of two. The GPL team is based in Hartford, CT.

Michigan—The GPL is assisting the state child welfare agency on a suite of strategies that use data to improve agency operations and outcomes. Specific projects will be determined in collaboration with the recently appointed agency director. This is a new project we are launching with a team of at least two: one Project Leader and one or more Fellows. The GPL team is based in Lansing, MI and Detroit, MI.

Washington State—the GPL is working with the state child welfare agency to help connect families at-risk for abuse or neglect with the right prevention services. This work will include leading efforts to pilot and scale solutions across the state. This would be continuing a project that was launched in 2018. The GPL team is based in Olympia, WA.


The GPL is seeking to hire a cohort of Fellows with a passion for improving government performance and solving social problems. Successful Fellows are typically:

• Creative problem solvers

• Strong project managers

• Thoughtful relationship builders

• Strong analytical thinkers

• Capable of navigating complex organizations and stakeholders

Fellows function as day-to-day project managers, shepherding projects through conceptualization, design, and implementation. Fellows are typically placed on-site with the government office or agency that is spearheading a project; oversight is provided by a manager at the Government Performance Lab as well as by the government policy lead. On any given day, Fellows may be developing relationships with project stakeholders, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, driving organizational change initiatives, leading working groups, briefing government leaders, coaching government staff, or workshopping project challenges with other GPL team members.

Learning is a key part of the experience. Fellows are part of a coast-to-coast community of GPL team members dedicated to sharing lessons learned; building organizational expertise; and refining GPL tools, models, and frameworks. Through project work and regular engagement with the broader GPL community, Fellows will develop substantial policy-area expertise, hands-on project management experience, and a deep familiarity with government and NGO processes.
Fellow responsibilities vary from project to project but generally include:

Project Management
• Manage and coordinate reform projects from conceptualization to implementation, while navigating complex organizational structures.
• Develop, introduce, and oversee performance management systems to enable government and service providers to better collaborate on service delivery.

Communications and Relationship Building
• Conduct interviews and site visits with government officials and community stakeholders.
• Facilitate meetings, trainings, and workshops to advance project work and build capacity; provide coaching to permanent government staff.
• Brief agency leaders, and solicit decisions from them at key project milestones.
• Write memos, presentations, training documents, and procurement solicitations with the aim of making complex information easy to understand.

Research and Data Analysis
• Help governments match and analyze administrative data to measure population outcomes, understand cost-effectiveness, and form insights that can improve service delivery.
• Use continuous improvement tools to analyze existing processes and design new processes that enable agencies to better serve constituents.
• Think “counterfactually”—understand program evaluation principles and use them to improve government operations.
• Review research literature, government documents, and best practices to inform project work.

Community of Practice
• Share insights with colleagues, helping to spread lessons and best practices across the GPL.
• Draft blog posts, project features, and policy briefs to help the GPL share its work broadly.

Fellow Management (for Project Leader Positions)
Often, supervising and supporting one or more GPL Fellows in generating high-quality work product, serving as initial source of guidance and review on key deliverables, facilitating clear communication with senior GPL managers, and coaching & supporting Fellows’ professional development.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Passion for improving government performance and solving social problems.
  • Self-motivated with an orientation towards results.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications, including memos, slide decks, and public speaking.
  • Strong project management capabilities.
  • Sound quantitative and analytical skills, with experience generating and using data to drive insights and communicating those insights to others.
  • Ability to navigate complex organizations, develop trust with senior leaders, and build relationships among diverse groups of stakeholders.
  • Strong demonstrated track record of independently structuring work, driving significant project progress, managing multiple workstreams, and engaging with clients.
  • Graduate-level training in public policy, business, law, economics, social work, or related fields is preferred.
  • For some locations, a willingness to travel is required.
  • For Fellow Position: at least two years of professional work experience is preferred.
  • For Project Leader Position: at least four years of professional work experience is preferred, including post-graduate school work experience and at least one year working in a management capacity.


Not Specified


$75k - 90k

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

To apply for the Fellowship position, please submit a brief cover letter and a current resume/CV via the GPL’s online application form.

To apply for the Project Leader position, please submit a brief cover letter and a current resume/CV via the GPL’s online application form.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. For more information, please visit our website:


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