Data-Driven Decision Making at Federal Agencies

One of the chief Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is: “Leverage data as a strategic asset to grow the economy, increase the effectiveness of the Federal Government, facilitate oversight, and promote transparency.”

The Federal Data Strategy flows from those goals and consists of the following principle and practice categories:


  • Ethical Governance – Uphold ethics, exercise responsibility and promote transparency
  • Conscious Design – Ensure relevance, harness existing data, anticipate future uses, and demonstrate responsiveness
  • Learning Culture – Invest in learning, develop data leaders, and practice accountability


  • Engagement – Building a culture that values data and promotes public use
  • Management – Governing, managing and protecting data
  • Implementation – Promoting efficient and appropriate data use

Using data to drive decision making helps Federal agencies improve program implementations. The methods used to collect, interpret, and present data to support organizational goals are essential to realizing these benefits. Let’s review that process.

  1. Define the desired outcome – Before and data is gathered for analysis, it is imperative first to understand the impending decision. What factors may influence the outcome (directly or indirectly)? What is the history behind the issue? Understanding what hypothesis is being tested) is crucial.
  2. Gather relevant data – Beginning with data that relates to the hypothesis ensures that conclusions made from the analysis are sound.
  3. Analyze and interpret data – Best practices, core tools, and analysis techniques are used to interpret the data.
  4. Use data analysis to guide decision making – Conclusions based on a review of relevant data can be very compelling when persuading stakeholders to adopt a solution or strategy.
  5. Communicate results – Once the data has been analyzed, data visualization techniques support presenting findings and recommendations.

Does your organization use data analytics to guide your decisions? It may help to review the  accomplishments of data-driven programs led by these agencies:

Are you wondering where to begin? Management Concepts courses cover how to define a problem statement, determine which data is relevant, collect, interpret, and analyze the data, form conclusions, present recommendations, and utilize results to support organizational goals and mission. To understand better how data-driven decision making could enhance your ability to complete your mission, browse our Data Analytics course offerings, available in traditional and virtual course delivery options.

Written by:
Natalie Komitsky
Media Type:

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