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Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide (2015)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Phase 3: Improve and Monitor

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Page 48
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Phase 3: Improve and Monitor." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23463.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Phase 3: Improve and Monitor." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23463.
×
Page 49
Page 50
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Phase 3: Improve and Monitor." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23463.
×
Page 50
Page 51
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Phase 3: Improve and Monitor." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23463.
×
Page 51
Page 52
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Phase 3: Improve and Monitor." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23463.
×
Page 52

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48 Overview The data self-assessment is envisioned as a cyclical process in which current practice is period- ically evaluated, actions to improve are initiated, progress and results are tracked, and improve- ment plans are updated. Phase 3 of the data self-assessment involves monitoring the progress and results of actions previously recommended or implemented and initiating new improvement actions. This involves the following activities: 1. Consolidate Data Improvement Recommendations and Ongoing Initiatives 2. Prioritize New Improvements 3. Update Action Plan 4. Monitor Progress Step 1: Consolidate Data Improvement Recommendations and Ongoing Initiatives This step recognizes that agencies will likely not be conducting the data self-assessment pro- cess in a vacuum. Most transportation agencies are continually improving their data systems and programs (e.g., implementing system replacements and upgrades, new data collection programs, and data warehouses). In addition, various targeted assessment tools are available for trans- portation agencies that touch on data management and analysis practices within specific areas, including asset management, transportation operations, and safety. Agencies may have applied these tools and may be working through associated lists of recommendations. Before considering a set of new candidate actions from the most recent set of data value and management assessments, it is helpful to compile a list of ongoing data initiatives, as well as data- related improvements that have been recommended through other assessments and/or agency business planning processes. This will ensure that the planning team comes into the process of prioritizing new actions with a good understanding of what is already underway. Compiling a consolidated list of ongoing and recommended data improvements will likely require several days of staff effort. The level of effort can be managed by keeping the investiga- tion at a relatively high level (i.e., focusing on major initiatives). Worksheet 13 can be used as a template for compiling this list. The following potential sources should be considered: • The consolidated list of ongoing initiatives identified in Phase 2 • The consolidated list of recommended candidate improvements identified in Phase 2 • The agency’s IT plan (where applicable) • The agency’s data business plan (where applicable) • Recent business plans and budgets for units with data management-related responsibilities C H A P T E R 5 Phase 3: Improve and Monitor

Phase 3: Improve and Monitor 49 • Recent consultant studies or audits that have included reviews of data or information system capabilities • Results of the following assessments (where applicable): – Transportation Asset Management Gap Analysis – NHTSA Traffic Records Assessment – FHWA Roadway Data Improvement Program (RDIP) and Crash Data Improvement (CDIP) Assessments – FHWA HPMS Assessment – AASHTO/FHWA Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Assessment – FHWA Transportation Performance Management (TPM) Assessment In subsequent cycles of the data self-assessment, the existing tracking sheet can serve as a start- ing point for this exercise. Staff can update this tracking sheet by checking with the designated lead person for each entry and asking key managers in the agency to identify new activities or sources of recommendations. Step 2: Prioritize New Improvements and Assign Responsibilities In this step, the planning team meets to review the tracking sheet and identify which new improvements should be advanced for implementation or more detailed investigation. The following process can be used for this meeting: • Key Gaps from the Assessment Phase. The facilitator or champion reviews the most recent set of assessments and highlights gaps and business impacts identified by the assessment teams • Progress of Existing Initiatives. Staff responsible for compiling the tracking sheet in Step 1 review the current initiatives underway—commenting on those that may address some of the concerns from the most recent assessments • Priorities. The planning team identifies key priorities for action based on the following factors: – Relative areas of weakness (based on the assessment results) – Risks and opportunities (based on the “business impacts” columns of Worksheets 9 and 10) Worksheet 13. Data improvement tracking sheet. Improvement Source Improvement Descripon Lead Responsibility Current Status (Date Changed) - Recommended - Rejected - Planned - In Progress - Complete - Cancelled Next Milestone and Date Comments Project Scoping Data Value Assessment New QA Procedure for As-Builts John Smith (Construcon Division) Recommended (05.25.2016) Planning Team Consideraon (07.01.2016) See Assessment Team Summary Presentaon

50 Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide – Current agency priorities and commitments – Resource availability (e.g., staff, expertise, information technology, and funding) – Likely effort to implement improvements relative to the likely benefits (based on Work- sheet 12) • Targets. As an option, the planning team establishes targets for data management maturity and data value ratings, based on the discussion of priorities. These targets would reflect where the agency wants to (or expects to) be in 2 years, based on an assessment of what is realistic to accomplish within a given timeframe. As noted under Priorities above, this assess- ment should be based on available budgets, personnel resources, technology capabilities, and the timing of related agency initiatives and priorities. Some agencies will find setting tar- gets to be helpful to provide motivation and focus for advancement of data improvements. If desired, aspirational targets can be established to indicate the agency’s desired eventual state. However, 2-year targets should be used to drive action—targets need to be realistically attainable to be of value. • Candidate Improvements. The facilitator or champion reviews the candidate improvements identified by the assessment teams to address the gaps and highlights recommendations on the tracking sheet from related initiatives. • Synergies. The planning team identifies opportunities for combining recommended improvements or folding them into already ongoing efforts to achieve efficiencies and synergies. • Triage. Referring to the Data Improvement Evaluation forms (Worksheet 12), the plan- ning team briefly discusses each candidate improvement and assigns it one of the following categories: – Definite Yes—compelling business case, addresses priorities and targets, resources in place to move forward – Definite No—lack of compelling business case, not feasible – Maybe—merits further consideration For each improvement in the “Definite Yes” category, the planning team assigns a lead person to move it forward. For each improvement in the “Definite No” category, the planning team provides a reason to record on the tracking sheet to provide feedback for members of the assessment teams. As with targets, triage ratings should take into account realistic expecta- tions about budgets, personnel, technology capabilities, and the timing of other agency initia- tives and priorities. • Next Steps. For the improvements in the “Maybe” category, the planning team identifies the next steps to better assess the improvement. For example – Create more specific description of how this would be implemented – Gather information on other agency experience – Gather information on available products and services – Gather additional evidence to support the business case – Identify potential funding sources – Identify staff members who could lead this – Discuss with senior management to determine their level of support The planning team also assigns a person to take the lead on carrying these steps out. The product of this meeting is an updated tracking sheet that does the following: • Changes the status of the “Definite No” improvements to “Rejected” • Changes the status of “Definite Yes” improvements to “Planned” and updates the Lead Responsibility for these • Keeps the status of the “Maybe” improvements as “Recommended,” adds the recommended next steps under Next Milestone, and updates the Lead Responsibility for those next steps.

Phase 3: Improve and Monitor 51 Step 3: Create/Update Action Plan Following the meeting of the planning team, an action plan for data improvements can be created (or updated, if one already exists). The action plan can be a formal document widely distributed across the agency, or it can be a simple document used primarily by the planning team to document the decisions made and track progress. The action plan should be used as a living document—regularly updated to accurately reflect the agency’s current, ongoing, and planned set of activities related to data improvement. A “bare bones” action plan would compile descriptions of each data improvement initiative underway—using material from the Data Improvement Evaluation forms (see Worksheet 12) and the tracking sheet (see Worksheet 13). Step 4: Monitor Progress The purpose of this final step is to track the progress of improvement actions, act as necessary to keep them moving, and review results from completed improvements. This is best accom- plished through quarterly meetings of the planning team. Prior to each meeting, the champion would work with staff to create an agenda that focuses on (1) improvements requiring decisions about next steps and (2) improvements that have been completed. Appropriate staff with lead responsibility would be invited to the quarterly planning team meeting to provide updates on these improvements. The agenda would include the following: • Updates on recommended improvements with completed milestones – Briefing by lead staff – Planning team decision to move forward or request additional investigation – Planning team assignment of new lead (if appropriate) • Updates on completed improvements – Briefing by lead staff on what was done – Discussion of whether or not the intended business benefits were achieved – Discussion of lessons learned for consideration in planning future improvements Results of the first agenda item would be recorded on the tracking sheet. Completed improvements would be deleted from the tracking sheet. Entries for these would be created on the Data Improvement Log shown in Worksheet 14. This log is used to track accomplish- ments and lessons learned and can (1) be used to prepare periodic briefings for senior agency leadership and (2) serve as a valuable resource for the planning team when membership changes. Worksheet 14. Data Improvement Log. Improvement Descripon Lead Responsibility Compleon Date Reported Benefits Lessons Learned New QA Procedure for As- Builts John Smith (Construcon Division) 12.15.2017 50% increase in usage of as-built plans Involve district staff and contractors in defining the process; use shakeout period; provide feedback

52 Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide Accommodating Decentralized Models of Improvement Planning The process outlined in this portion of the Guide assumes that the planning team established in Phase 1 will be the focal point for moving forward with new improvements and tracking the progress of existing improvements. Some agencies may wish to pursue a more decentralized approach—in which improvements are prioritized, implemented, and tracked by existing man- agement teams at the division or bureau levels. Agencies are encouraged to take advantage of existing structures and processes for reviewing, prioritizing, and tracking data-related improve- ments; however, having mechanisms to ensure coordination of and take advantage of synergies across improvement efforts is worthwhile. For example, each division- or bureau-level team could follow a similar approach for prioritizing improvements and delivering tracking sheets that are then consolidated and reviewed by the agency-wide planning team. The planning team could then meet to review the list and identify opportunities for collaboration or consolidation of efforts.

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 814: Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide provides methods to evaluate and improve the value of their data for decision making and their data-management practices.

NCHRP Web-Only Document 214: Transportation Agency Self-Assessment of Data to Support Business Needs: Final Research Report describes the research process and methods used to develop NCHRP Report 814.

The following documents supplement the project and are available online:

This supplemental information is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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