“It’s akin to hiking in the mountains with a compass, hike for a while, check your compass, and adjust course, and if there are boulders in the way, we’re going to help and show you a path to go around.”
This is how Budget Analyst Karl Nygard describes his work with the Office of Performance Strategy and Budget (PSB) to implement the Best Run Government initiative. While he admits no two days are alike, Karl usually works on budgeting processes for internal service funds for various County agencies, including King County Information Technology (KCIT), the Business Resource center (BRC) and the Finance and Business Operations Division (FBOD).
“Basically we’re trying to get it so there aren’t as many surprises for internal service funds and agencies when it comes to their actual budgets,” he said. “Clarifying for agencies how to better work within the budget system makes it so their ideas are clearer and cuts down on a lot of problem areas.”
To ensure county-wide budget processes that are beneficial to different departments and services, Karl spends a lot time getting to know how the agencies work together, and helps each identify what they need.
“In the IT world, lots of agencies work together and I am able to help them coordinate efforts, since people don’t always know what others outside of their department do,” Karl said. “Really if PSB can eliminate any pain points or problem areas for them then the budget process has helped create smooth agency work.”
Karl also mentions how his in-depth analysis within each department getting to know their needs and assets allows him to bring successful solutions from one agency to another, creating consistency, transparency and efficiency across King County.
“Doing these “deep dives” is exciting. It lets me act as a coordinator for common solutions,” he said. “I’m able to bring the perspective of other agencies working on a similar problem, and I can play matchmaker for people looking for help.”
In addition to working on budgets and planning for multiple departments, Karl can see the bigger picture about his work, and enjoys being able to show it to others. He can connect the work he does in each department with other agencies who may not see their immediate similarities.
With many departments in King County using this collaborative approach to business planning, a common catchphrase has become “Building the Best Run Government Together.” This relies on employees like Karl who can connect what he does to the overall method of business planning.
“This work is part of a larger effort to help different parts of the government and see how to transform them,” he said. “Facilitating agencies through the same framework lets us all see their constraints and opportunities.”
“This way we can identify countermeasures and use Lean principles to address them. It’s all part of the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Adjust’ cycle so we can course-correct where needed.”