Driven by Facts: One TransProvian's Story

Driven by Facts: One TransProvian's Story
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Driven by Facts: One TransProvian's Story
By Kristopher Browning, Principal Consultant

At TransPro, we don’t base an entire project on an opinion. We believe in the data providing the answer. As a consultant in this space, I find myself thinking about how to deliver fact-based recommendations often. As we work with agencies around the country, part of our process is to create hypotheses and pressure test the data and our thinking to understand if there’s real opportunity for improvement. We pick up best practices from one organization and develop hypotheses to see if that practice will work in another organization.

We recently worked with a county to identify cost-saving opportunities to reduce a budget deficit in the current and future fiscal years. We evaluated the budget and compared the county to peers through an organizational assessment. Based on an initial review and comparison, it appeared that there were several areas that the County was spending significantly more than peers. Stopping there, I formed opinions, while being clear to identify my statements as such: “I think what we may find is that X department has too many employees.” This was my hypothesis, and now it was up to TransPro to find out if the data supported what I'd surmised.

By establishing my statement as a hypothesis instead of fact, we were able to move on to the next step in delivering fact-based recommendations: namely, working with the County to understand WHY Department X had more employees than its peers. Identifying the "why" in this scenario then led us to identify specific solutions that could address this issue in a way that would to address the organization's budget deficit. Ultimately, by delivering fact-driven recommendations, we estimated the county could save almost $1 million per year over the next five years to reduce the deficit.

Presenting fact-based recommendations doesn't require ignoring gut feelings and first impressions entirely. Rather, this TransPro value challenges us to use opinions and hypotheses as the first step rather than the last--pushing us to use the data to discover if our first impressions were the right ones. It's where past experience meets present-day data to create a unique and positive outcome for every TransPro partner.