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Page 34
Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
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Page 38
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
×
Page 39
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
×
Page 40
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Suggested Citation:"Personnel and Skills." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26326.
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Page 41

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34 People are any agency’s greatest resource. As the individual level of an agency is the integra- tion level, as has been mentioned previously, the capabilities, development opportunities, and knowledge management policies within an agency directly inuence its ability to integrate performance, risk, and asset management. Agencies should invest in necessary training and skill development systems that sta need to implement integrated performance, risk, and asset management. is may happen through updates to standard training provided to new sta, periodic training for existing sta as responsibilities and internal structures are modied, and ongoing programs for advancing sta capabilities and competencies. Additionally, agencies must plan to react to and deal with sta turnover eectively through intentional skill and knowledge retention practices. Required Competencies As agencies consider an integrated asset management approach and as their practices evolve to support this approach, it is important to consider the impact of human capital. Needs for recruit- ment and training may be aected, and because institutional knowledge and experience may become essential for successful integration of performance, risk, and asset management, agencies should proactively consider strategic approaches to human capital needs. e personnel and skills needed for a successful integration of asset, performance, and risk management may include • Overall eort managers in coordination with executive-level champions; • Data curators and system administrators for specic asset data and work orders; • Data curators and system administrators for projects and investment management; • Web-based report producers, graphic artists, and data visualizers; and • Experts in communication with stakeholders, legislators, and the public, including through social media. In addition, the DOT will likely need to train sta managing assets both at headquarters and in districts to engage with new soware or business processes (both when they are being developed or procured and when they are being implemented). e guidance addresses change management strategies and roles and the need to document them. Policy and Management e following specic competencies are needed from champions, policy makers, and executives as an agency pursues integration of performance, risk, and asset management. Risk Management. Risk management is a skill for which standards, thought leadership, and training materials exist, primarily in the private sector. In business (e.g., investment), managing PERSONNEL AND SKILLS

Personnel and Skills 35   risk is about determining how much risk and which types of work a company, organization, or person is willing to take, given the reward for success, the potential for failure, and the likeli- hood of each. This positive framing for risk management extends to transportation. A manager at a state DOT observed during a workshop that decision-makers develop comfort with risky or unpopular decisions over time, and that turnover can result in overly conservative manage- ment. Agencies should seek objective decision-makers who are willing to take reasonable risks when the benefits justify them. Influence and Ensuring Buy-In. It is ultimately the job of the champion to convince managers from across the organization to participate in any process of change. It is also the responsibility of the executive to endorse the effort to encourage participation. The champion should have or build multidisciplinary relationships that allow him or her to invite these managers to many meetings and to send them away with “homework” to engage them. More- over, the champion must have the trust of management and staff to ensure their participation is meaningful and lasting. Facilitation. It is important to facilitate meetings so that participants are informed, feel heard, and leave excited about the vision and about their specific action items. Alternatively, the champion and executives could procure outside support for meeting facilitation. Policy Changes. Champions should be aware of the details that allow policy to work for the people who need it and be able to visualize how integration can occur. Not only should champions be listening to, comprehending, and incorporating multidisciplinary thoughts and suggestions, but they may be called upon to contribute to specific policy changes across a wide range of departments. DOTs will need champions and executives as core team members in the structuring, development, and continued process of managing integration who can produce and synthesize logical and practical changes to standard operating procedures agencywide. Selection of Technical Solutions. Many DOTs make agency-level decisions about software and enterprise software packages. The choices made (and the training and support offered by vendors) will have a significant impact on the agency’s options going forward. Champions will need either to manage the procurement and implementation of these systems themselves or select qualified managers who can commit to a complex and often frustrating multiyear process (for asset management and work management systems). Data Science and Information Technology The following specific technical competencies may be necessary to maintain an integrated practice of performance, risk, and asset management. Management of Extensive Data Sets. Whether purchased (e.g., highway performance and reliability data), collected periodically (e.g., asset condition and inventory data), or collected individually (e.g., customer satisfaction surveys), management of extensive data sets is critical to ensure that the most value can be received from each data set over its life span. Because many data sets may be utilized by multiple agency departments in an integrated structure, good centralized management of data with protocols around storage, access, and updating can lead to better long-term results. Manipulation and Analysis on Large Data Sets. Manipulation and analysis on large data sets with SQL, Python, R, or other source-specific application programming interfaces can provide significant efficiencies when complex data sets are being worked with or advanced analyses are being performed. Making data sets navigable will improve their usability, particularly in

36 Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices nontraditional scenarios such as the use of such software tools to make enterprise fiber network asset data accessible and usable to risk management efforts so that risk assessments can incorpo- rate that communications network into consideration. With appropriate training, such software technologies are highly accessible, with many open-source programming packages available to perform a wide variety of tasks. Visualization and Reporting on Large Data Sets. Visualization and reporting on large data sets by using languages such as Java, Python, or R or applications such as Tableau, PowerBI, ArcGIS, or QGIS, among others, can produce highly effective communication tools that can simplify complex findings. Through advanced visualizations, leadership can quickly engage with technical staff on critical findings and understand conclusions drawn from large and highly technical data sets. Application-Specific Tool Development. Application-specific tool development with Microsoft Excel, Python, ArcGIS or other applications can provide long-term efficiencies by simplifying complex, repeated tasks. By creating a user interface, convoluted processes become accessible and easily transferrable between staff, as users will be able to easily interpret the needs of the task and interact efficiently with minimal user error. Cleverly designed tools will also be able to adapt as integration matures, needs change, and technology develops. Exploring Advanced and Uncommon Data Sets. Exploring advanced and uncommon data sets can lead to improvements to common agency processes and novel solutions. Many agencies are utilizing unique and powerful data sets such as lidar and customer satisfaction surveys as well as emerging data sets such as data on connected and autonomous vehicles, data collected by insurance providers or cellular providers, and more. Even data sets a DOT is familiar with collecting, such as bridge and pavement inventories, can grow more informative and complex by using lidar collection and crowdsourcing. Stakeholder Outreach The competencies discussed below may be necessary to communicate and advocate for the benefits of an integrated practice of performance, risk, and asset management, Comprehension of the Products of Analysis. As suggested in the section above, an inte- grated performance, risk, and asset management structure uses complex technical models and tools to predict the benefits and uncertainties of investment in the transportation network. The DOT will need communicators who can explain these products and the processes that generate them both in layman’s terms and in technical terms (e.g., at a national conference to promote the agency’s success). Production of Reports. The DOT will need to produce technical writing, presenta- tion slides, attractive and clearly laid-out documents, and websites and web-only documents (potentially with interactive visualizations), to varying degrees. Some analytic packages provide reporting components (e.g., ArcGIS StoryMaps), but the DOT will likely need specific skills in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and, potentially, web development. Knowledge Management It is important that agencies recognize loss of institutional knowledge and experience as a continuous risk that requires predetermined mitigation plans. During the test roadmap development process in this research, agencies such as TriMet identified the loss of institutional knowledge and experience as one of the leading risks, with an impact on structure, organizational Retaining Organizational Knowledge ✓   Establish objectives. ✓   Assess current state. ✓   Define roles. ✓   Pay attention. ✓   Measure and improve.

Personnel and Skills 37   eciency, and culture. Several states have addressed this with a risk register to provide strategies for avoiding and dealing with the loss of institutional knowledge. Increases in sta productivity, the quality of products and services, and the consistency of deliverables can be seen in winning knowledge management programs. is is achieved through a focus on intellectual and knowledge-based assets. A measured and phased approach is the key to long-term success but must consider people, processes, technology, structure, and culture. To properly mitigate the risk of losing institutional knowledge, organizations should do the following: Establish Objectives. Before dening a process and developing workows, envision and articulate the ideal end state. Envision and articulate each program. Establish appropriate program objectives and identify who could have historical knowledge on the issue. Provide implementa- tion support by documenting business problems and business drivers. Short-term objectives should conrm that appropriate programs are moving in the right direction, while the big picture is communicated through the long-term objectives. Assess Current State. Soware should come with documentation, and the agency should retain this and any training materials. Standard operating procedures should be documented not only with the steps to be followed, but the reasoning behind those steps. Data sets should be stored with metadata that dene elds and record sources and dates of data. Documentation should be stored in a shared location with logical names and le structure. In short, if all else fails, someone new should be able to gure out how the data are generated, stored, analyzed, and reported. Dene Roles. Data should have a recognized owner who knows how recent and trustworthy the data are and for what uses they can reliably be used. Standard operating procedures should be kept current with references to job titles, names, and contact information updated to account for sta turnover. Pay Attention. ere should never be one-person efdoms in an organization. Managers and sta should never be completely ignorant of the functions and activities of those reporting to or working alongside them. Measure and Improve. Establishing a balanced scorecard that provides metrics in the areas of performance, compliance, quality, and value is important when an agency is choosing how to measure progress. e key to establishing measures is that they will provide valuable knowledge for what is working and what is not. Training Agencies should establish strong training programs in both technical and operational skills related to integrating performance, risk, and asset management for both new and existing sta. Additionally, agencies that change their organizational structure should be prepared to train existing sta on the new requirements and approaches. When this guidance was being tested with agencies across the country, training and, specically, a centralized training system that reaches across the organization, was one of the most common recent program improvements or expressed needs. Specic skills to be trained may include the following: • New or updated standard operating procedures and business practices; • e use of newly acquired asset or work management systems; • e use of existing asset or work management systems whose use is expanding across the DOT; • e organizational knowledge base in agency vision, change management, collaborative culture, and so forth;

38 Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices • Improved facility with existing software, including Microsoft Excel, Esri ArcGIS, and business intelligence applications; and • Programming languages for data management, statistical analysis, and visualization, such as Python, R, or JavaScript. Beyond these technical skills, VTrans has also established nontechnical “essential skills”— competencies in interpersonal relationship-building, collaboration, and communication. Training may extend across the DOT’s headquarters and field offices, as well as to local partners. Multiple states have identified the expansion of training programs related to integrated asset management as a priority in their TAMPs. Partners Because the integration of management areas involves a broad range of agency departments and programs, agencies pursuing integration may benefit from identifying and collaborating with local or regional partners or stakeholders, who may include the following. Municipal or County Governments. Local governments own many transportation assets in most states. They may maintain performance measures and asset management practices that differ from those of the DOT and each other. In other cases, they may lack the resources to adequately perform any of the three functions. DOTs can provide assistance (e.g., funding, training, access to shared licenses and software, procurement) that improves overall perfor- mance, risk, and asset management practice in the state while making performance tracking and reporting clearer. Furthermore, as asset performance on the National Highway System can, under the FAST Act, reduce programming flexibility for a DOT, regardless of jurisdiction, a strong partnership between local- and state-level asset owners reduces program-level risk to the DOT. Metropolitan Planning Organizations or Other Regional Planning Organizations. The FAST Act requires metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to adopt the same performance measures as DOTs, and MPOs prioritize projects for federal funding in their Transportation Improvement Program. This makes them important partners in performance, risk, and asset management, as computation and modeling of performance metrics and data-driven project selection naturally fall to them from the DOT-level. In addition, MPOs may have better knowl- edge of local risk than the DOT. Universities and Other Research Partners. Federal funds are provided for research into enhancements to the transportation network in the State Planning and Research program. Development of improved models and integration of performance, risk, and asset management data are potential areas where academic approaches to experimentation, trials, and innovative thinking would be useful tools. Consultants. Consultants bring many of the same benefits as academic researchers, along with a potential working knowledge of best practices from performance, risk, and asset manage- ment integration efforts in other states. They can also be retained on an ongoing basis to augment the DOT’s technical skills in specific software applications, coding, modeling, and so forth. Impacts to Integration The framework, or lack thereof, in which an agency’s staff are intended to develop throughout their careers has a measurable impact on their skill sets and capabilities as well as on the result- ing improved functionality of the agency. Potential Partners ✓   Municipal or county governments ✓   Metropolitan planning organizations ✓   Regional planning organizations ✓   Universities and other research partners ✓   Consultants

Personnel and Skills 39   A strategic training program can deliver on the outcome of capacity development as well as potentially provide for neutral ground as a seedbed for cross-divisional collaboration. Another potential value of such a program is achieving one of the key value-adds of integrating performance, risk, and asset management stated earlier in this guidance: developing individual commitment to the agency’s overarching vision and goals. Aligning staff with the agency vision does more than just knit them closer together in a work- ing culture that should empower collaboration. It also assists the paradigm shift of looking at the system more holistically, with general, overarching goals as opposed to their small piece that their specific position is responsible for. That shared vision will bleed over to agency partners and training programs and expedite the speed and capacity of integrated management. This mindset is critical to achieving the benefits of integrated management and should set the stage well for how that is either supported or hindered by an agency’s policy and agency structure.

40 Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices Integration Maturity: Personnel and Skills To assess an agency’s level of maturity in the key topic of personnel and skills, the benchmarks below may be considered. 0 1 2 3 4 Level Preintegration No actions have been taken to pursue integration within the agency. Management practices are largely siloed, with no active interest on the part of agency executives in pursuing their integration and no changes to staffing, training, or personnel management to support their integration. Level Initial The agency has expressed interest in exploring potential integration of performance, risk, and asset management practices. Leadership has begun discussing the potential for integration; however, no practical steps, such as training or staff acquisition, have been taken to engage staff in the effort. Executive leadership may be beginning to assess the personnel implications for integration, though day-to-day operations remain unmodified. Level Defined The agency has begun to identify practical steps to move toward an integrated management program, including defining necessary staffing and competencies to support its vision of integration. These needs are being documented in a roadmap, and discussions with management at various levels have begun. Skills required to implement technical processes related to data governance, IT, management, agency policy, and more are being defined, and talent acquisition and training programs are being developed. The agency has formally begun the evolution, though day-to-day operations are largely unaffected, apart from initial pilot efforts, and any staffing implications are highly tentative. Level Level Expandable, Repeatable New staffing acquisitions are being made to support technical and practical agency processes as defined in the integration roadmap. Training programs are being implemented to introduce existing staff to new methods and processes, though these remain extensive, not intensive, and staff largely remain in a long-term transition period. Knowledge management is highly important at this point to deal with rapid changes in personnel and potential turnover. As widespread change may cause stress to agency staff, it is important that executives and management provide a stable framework to support and guide them through the transition by effectively managing workload and obligations. This leads to better retention of talent, a shorter and smoother transition period, and happier staff. At this point, the integration is beginning to produce some tangible outcomes, though processes are still changing rapidly as integration expands through departments. This stage may last for an extended period as integration permeates the agency at various levels and departments. Managed Personnel and skill management processes have been well documented and are being effectively implemented throughout the agency. Many staffing needs and competencies are now satisfied; however, active management is still required to ensure long-term success. Training programs are now continuously being implemented to support existing processes as well as further evolution through more intensive, systematic programming. Technical practices are well documented and transferrable, to avoid the potential for effort duplication or regression due to lost information. Management has implemented effective talent acquisition and retention processes, as well as succession planning to help cement the long-term success of the integrated system. Outcomes of integration are obvious, and staff understand and are largely capable of supporting advanced, integrated practices, though there are still some practical personnel needs to fulfill to establish integration as the standard operation of the agency. Level 5 Optimizing The agency is well staffed, with all practical competencies fulfilled to support day-to-day processes. Integration is understood and implemented at all levels of staff, having been embedded in all training and staffing programs. Through effective management, staff can individually and collectively pursue continuous improvement of their practices. They are well supported and are equipped with the training, technical and software resources, and management necessary to effectively fulfill the goals of the agency as defined in the integration roadmap and subsequent documentation.

Personnel and Skills 41   Integration in Practice , while techical Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) well-rounded -

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Fundamentally changing the culture of a transportation agency and integrating those changes into historically siloed management practices, requires the earnest focus of the entire organization, including participation of practically every individual.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's pre-publication draft of NCHRP Research Report 985: Integrating Effective Transportation Performance, Risk, and Asset Management Practices is designed to be a process framework that is resilient to the expected evolution of an agency as it matures in its management integration.

Supplemental to the report are a Fact Sheet, a Final Project Report, an Executive Summary, an Integration Research Summary Presentation, a Management Integration Matters Presentation, and a Technical Memorandum.

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