Monitoring and Evaluation
Program and Project Management
IT Helpdesk Support
Data Management and Analysis
Outcomes and Performance Measurement
Policy & Procedure Development
Organization Transformation (Change Management)
Management and Budget Analysis
Quality Assurance and Control
Policy and Program Analysis
Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
Information Assurance/Security Management
Step 1: Define Problem
Think impact: What is the question you are trying to answer?
During this first step, DCS will try to clarify exactly what problem our client faces. Usually, we will try to phrase the problem as a question to which our client would like us to find an answer. This then enables us to develop a list of the information you need to be able to answer the question.
Step 2: Structure the Problem
Think disaggregation and early hypothesis: What could be the key elements of the problem?
After defining the problem, we will try to structure and disaggregate it in order to make it more manageable to solve. Usually, this is done by setting up a so-called issue tree which divides the problem into its component parts and therefore provides a good overview for both DCS and our client.
Step 3: Prioritize Issues
Think speed: Which parts of the tree are most important to the problem?
After defining and structuring the problem DCS will prioritize the different elements of the problem (that is, parts of the issue tree) by determining which elements are most critical to the problem or most likely to shed light on the solution to the problem. This step is partly motivated by the 80-20 rule, which is the notion that 20% of the issues will probably be responsible for causing 80% of the problem.
Step 4: Analysis Plan and Work Plan
Think efficiency: What should you spend your time on?
During this step, DCS will develop a list of the pieces of analysis that you want to conduct, based on our prioritization of issues in the previous step. An additional aspect of this step is to set up a work plan to decide upon the work distribution (which DCS team members will work on which piece of analysis) and deadlines. This will ensure that the project will be delivered on time and serves as an early warning system if deadlines are not kept.
Step 5: Conduct Analysis
Think evidence: What are you trying to (dis)prove?
During this step, DCS will do the ground work for the consulting engagement. The previous steps were used to prepare for this step. Undertaking the analysis means that each DCS team member starts working on his or her tasks (i.e. the analysis/questions decided upon in the work plan). This stage may include interviews, client workshops, data analysis, research, and so on.
Step 6: Synthesize Findings
Think ‘so what’: What are the implications of your findings?
During this step, we will bring together all the results from the different pieces of analysis and try to generate insights by relating the results to the problem statement derived during the first step of the framework. The resulting synthesis should show our client and DCS what we have learned about the problem and potential solutions.
Think potential solution: What should be done to best respond to the problem?
During this last phase of the 7-step framework, DCS will use our synthesis from the previous step to develop recommendations for our client. These recommendations should answer the problem statement DCS developed in the beginning of the project together with our client. Furthermore, the recommendations should be backed up by a set of conclusions, each of which should be backed-up by a set of findings (drawn from the analysis we conducted previously).