Rethinking Budgeting

Breaking the Law of Triviality

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Many budget officers have had an experience like the following during budget deliberations with the governing board: The governing board spends what seems like (or may be) hours discussing the line item for office supplies (“Can we reduce it by sending more emails and using printers less?”) and then afterward passes a multimillion-dollar capital project budget with little discussion.

This phenomenon is not limited to local government budgets. It is so common across time and disciplines that it has a name: Parkinson’s Law of Triviality. The first step is to understand why the phenomenon of bike-shedding occurs. Solutions can then be designed accordingly.

Click here to view the executive summary.

  • Publication date: February 2024
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