FIGURE 3-1 OPM’s workforce planning cycle.
SOURCE: Office of Personnel Management, undated.

challenge. For a large enterprise, skipping the workload assessment/workload analysis dimensions and only performing a gap analysis on existing position structure and supply, then creating a plan to fill open positions, will likely be inadequate for defining the number of employees with particular skills sets and credentials needed in a variety of facilities and geographic locations.

Because ATSS personnel maintain tens of thousands of pieces of equipment of different types and at various stages of the equipment lifespan across a broad geographic area, and at a high level of operational readiness, defining and measuring the workload is formidable. Different philosophies about maintenance—for example, a philosophy of preventive inspections and maintenance versus one of “repair when the system breaks”—create a wide spectrum of potential staffing outcomes.1 The expected levels of performance and tolerances for time between failures of systems may drive the need for extra shifts or ATSS personnel assigned to a particular problem, facility, or geographic location. ATSS technicians may be assigned to a particular task or may be in standby status on a shift and available via telephone for call-outs.

All organizations base staffing decisions on a paradigm of the underlying production process [or the means by which work is accomplished], whether they do so explicitly or not. This conceptualization is often referred to as a staffing model. A staffing model is a formal representation of the mechanisms that drive the need for staffing resources. (National Research Council, 2006:4)


1As the FAA adopted reliability centered maintenance practices, some tradeoffs have already been carefully weighed and incorporated into the agency’s guidance for technical operations.

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