1. Setting up the hypothesis tree

  1. First, you need to create a hypothesis tree. This structures your problem into separable, mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive (‘MECE’) parts. This step usually takes multiple iterations.
  2. Discuss your hypothesis tree with your client. Prioritise hypotheses to focus on with them (they may have already explored elements in your tree – use this as a learning opportunity). This is a critical step of any project, make sure you have your client’s support to proceed!
  3. Once you have a prioritised hypothesis tree, ask your client about the relevant data sources which would help you solve your sub-hypotheses. The client may not have all the data, but can guide you to what they do have. You may also benefit from [alternative data sources].

Please note, there are three frames of the demonstration of “Hypothesis Tree” below.


Sound familiar? This is exactly what we do in step 2 of our 7 step consulting framework

2. Planning your analysis

Next step is to get a pen, some paper, and draw out what you want the slides of your final deck to look like. It may seem premature, but having a rough draft (like the one below) scribbled down is a very effective tool to plan and focus your work.

You should do this as a team and challenge each other during the process. This also makes allocating work among team members easy (each person can own a couple of slides).

Make sure your ghost deck addresses each hypothesis you prioritised with your client. 

In consulting, this is called a Ghost Deck. ?

3. Ensuring data quality

Having poor data quality won’t yield meaningful results. In other words: Garbage in = garbage out. 

You need to understand your data and make sure it is complete so you can have confidence in your findings.

4. Analysing the data

The most efficient way to analyse the types of data we work with at 180 Degrees is through using a pivot table. A pivot table helps you manipulate, analyse and summarise your data. Below is a short tutorial video explaining how it’s done.

5. Analysing the data - other tips and tricks




You might want to enrich your data by adding new calculated fields. Below are some useful formulas you could use.


Often times you’ll get multiple different data sheets, and you’ll want to combine them. This step is a little more advanced, but as a Consultant, you will be expected to have high proficiency with these methods, so we encourage you to learn them for yourself!

6. Triangulation

You will now have some initial findings. This step is about being critical and finding alternate data sources to validate these findings.

Think about your findings critically and imagine how you can validate them with other data (statistical, or anecdotal). Be open to uncovering new facts about the problem and changing your conclusions. This rigour will ensure you get to the right answer!


7. Testing your findings

You should now have an advanced draft deck completed (the Ghost Deck, step 2 above). Before making your shiny presentation, this is the perfect time to discuss your findings with your client.

9. Make your slides beautiful and impactful

There are two key steps to bring your data to life:

  1. Declutter – visually organise your material to make it clear for your audience
  2. Focus – zero-in on the key messages from your analysis and amplify them to the decision makers

You can see these in action below.


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