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5 Questions to Ask When Scoping a Project with GovEx

Before the Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) begins work with any public sector organization, we identify a policy area or challenge around which to center our projects. From combating chronic homelessness to rat abatement, these focus areas provide a mechanism to improve the way a public sector organization uses data. 

Selecting the right topic for an engagement can make the difference between a successful project and one that fails to make an impact on your organization.  Here are some questions you should ask when identifying a focus area for our work together. 

Question #1: How will this work impact residents? The goal of every GovEx engagement is to help public sector organizations improve outcomes for residents. Whether the goal is reducing a backlog of 311 service requests or measuring the distance between  affordable housing and transit, each project should result in a tangible benefit for the people you serve. 

Question #2: Is this work a priority for senior leaders or residents? The most successful projects are those that leaders and stakeholders consider important. Is the mayor or city manager committed to solving this problem? Is it mentioned in key speeches or strategic planning documents? Was recent legislation passed pertaining to the problem? 

Question #3: Can we influence the outcome of this policy area? Select a policy area  that you can impact in some way, whether through decision-making authority or by directing resources or convening stakeholders around the problem. . For example, if your city does not control transportation it may not be advisable to work with GovEx to set up a performance program monitoring transportation initiatives. 

Question #4: Is my organization willing to make changes based on what the data “tells” us? GovEx engagements are designed to help leaders and managers use and understand data to make decisions. If your organization is stubbornly set in its approach to an issue, it may not be wise to use a six-month engagement to try to change minds.

Questions #5: Am I able to form a multidisciplinary team around this issue? The key to your project’s success is assembling an engaged project team encompassing a variety of skills. Your project team should include representation from places like the mayor or city manager’s office, Information Technology, and Public Affairs. Make sure your topic invites  this level of collaboration from across your organization.We’d love to hear from you.

If you worked with GovEx in the past, what questions did you ask when considering the focus of your engagement? Email us at sdugan@jhu.edu to share your thoughts.

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