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Megan Miller
Megan Miller
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at

Fact or Gut? Checking In On Your Decision Making

April 29th, 2016 by Megan Miller

There are many professions that require fact-based decision-making rather than a gut feeling.

Think about it for a minute. Would you go to a doctor who sent you into surgery but didn’t bother to first run tests to confirm the diagnosis? Do you want a pilot who guesses the best place or time to land? Or a mechanic who takes apart your car before first identifying the problem?

All three of these professions rely on facts to make decisions about how to move forward – and Architecture & Engineering (A&E) firms should as well.

Yet, A&E leaders often make quick decisions based on intuition. If you do the same, you could be putting your business at risk. Decisions based on a gut feeling are simply not viable in today’s competitive and highly data-driven marketplace.

Here are three quick questions to help determine whether your plans are based on fact versus gut.

Are You Reaching For The Right Goals?

Firms often establish annual goals based on a gut feeling or intuition. Think about the goals you set for your firm this year. How did you identify the targets? Are you setting your firm up for failure? If you are looking to improve your bottom line, you must set realistic and fact-based targets. You may want to increase operating profit or reduce overhead rates.

If you establish your goals based on a gut feeling, you may be operating under a series of assumptions – for example, that the market looks good, that you can get higher rates for your projects and that this next project should be an easy target. But, when looking at the facts, you might see instead that turn-over rates are higher than average, your clients are squeezing PMs for more competitive pricing and reaching your goal is not only hard work, but may not be possible at all.

Are You Checking On Your Progress?

Once you’ve confirmed that your goals are fact-based and on point for your firm, you have to check in on your progress. As we approach the half-way point for the year, now is the perfect time. Are you where you need to be on each goal?

If not, what needs to change? What data do you have to explain the gap and develop a plan to move forward? If you wait, it will be too late to take corrective action.

You need tools to quickly identify the problems, identify bright spots and make sure your team isn’t blindsided. Holding teams accountable and working together to develop plans of attack are the most effective and efficient ways to stay the course.

Are You Using Data To Drive Better Decisions?

As you can see, gut-based decisions are a thing of the past and can put your company at risk. Make sure you have the right actionable data at your fingertips to move your firm’s metrics in the right direction. Set up check-ins, report outs or other milestones throughout the year to hold your teams accountable for checking in and, if needed, determining where you need to make a change.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for ensuring that your firm’s actions are rooted in data. To learn more about how data can help your firm, turn to a trusted resource like the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study.

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