Making it easy for managers to lead a data-informed conversation

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Name: Katie Johnston

Title: Budget Officer

City: Tacoma, Wash.

When the city of Tacoma launched Results253, its public-facing data dashboard, it was with the aim of giving residents clear insight into how the city was performing on some of its key initiatives, including affordable housing, public safety, and more. But now Katie Johnston and her team at the Office of Management and Budget are turning their attention inside city hall, to create an internal dashboard that provides city staff a clear, uniform, and shared tool to track projects and improve performance.

The new tool will pull from the public data to automatically produce topline snapshots of ongoing projects. The idea, she said, is to give high-level managers an easy starting point for conversations with staff about how to improve performance.

“We have all of this disparate information that’s not easy to find,” Johnston said. “So we broke down conversation barriers and made the data more accessible.”

The new platform, set to launch later this month, builds on cornerstones in data-driven government that Tacoma laid through involvement in the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities initiative. It will give city leaders a faster, more readable view of what’s going on.

“This way, in meetings, the director of a department, for example, can concentrate on the conversation,” instead of having to rely on team members to catch them up on details found in customized Word documents, Johnston said. “It’s a big advancement for us.”

“Data isn’t something extra you do — it’s not a new a flashy thing to add. It’s part of the existing process.”

Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program. bloombergcities.org

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