Large organizations, like DOTs, will face institutional challenges to sustained improvement. Many of these challenges can be addressed through deliberate application of the identified organizational practices.
Implementation Challenge Overview
Improvement of DOT data and information systems and related TAM business practices requires:
- Time and Resources for technical work and review and revision cycles;
- The right kinds of Expertise needed to create workable standards and facilitate review and negotiation processes;
- Coordination to get agreement among different business and IT stakeholders – and potentially with outside vendors and partner agencies; and
- Changes to data collection processes, IT systems, and business processes for collecting, entering, reporting and using data.
Assembling needed time, resources and expertise; and navigating coordination and change management needs can be more challenging than conducting the actual technical work for improvement.
Some organizational strategies that can be used to overcome these challenges are highlighted below.
Time and resource challenges can be addressed through:
- Strategic Planning – increase agency direction and support for data and information system related improvement and initiatives.
- Governance – establish decision-making structures and prioritized investment in activities to develop enterprise data standards.
- Portfolio Management – offer techniques to identify and advocate for the business value and return-on-investment from data and information system and TAM investments.
Expertise challenges can be addressed through:
- Workforce Planning, Branding, and Employee Development – provide techniques to identify job skills and develop associated recruitment and training necessary to build specialized technical skill (e.g. data modeling) and soft skills (e.g. group facilitation and engagement) necessary to develop and implement meaningful data and information system practices.
- Knowledge Capture and Dissemination – establish a common resource base for individuals involved in data and information system related efforts and TAM business processes.
Coordination challenges can be addressed through:
- Collaboration and Peer-to-Peer Learning – create opportunities for collaboration between business and IT professionals and create cross-functional work groups to work on data and information-system related improvements.
Change challenges can be addressed through:
- Change Management – develop approaches to communicate the purpose, build awareness, and facilitate adoption of new data standards, information systems, and related TAM business practices to individual staff, business units, and the organization at large.
- Performance Management – set objectives and performance measures that promote awareness and compliance with new data-informed business practices.
- Enterprise Architecture – establish a reference for existing or proposed business processes.
Information on the four practice areas is provided in Appendix F. For each practice area, a brief practice overview is provided, typical strategies are detailed and related to specific challenges that are addressed through the strategy’s application, and additional, external references are shared for further examination.
This introductory material provides the essential concepts pertaining to the organizational practices and recognizes each of the typical strategies that are subsequently documented.
Typical Strategy Documentation
Individual strategies are identified and documented within each practice area. These strategies are not meant to be comprehensive, but are identified as they address institutional and organizational challenges that may be faced by a DOT as they advance their data and information system related practices supporting their TAM programs.
For each strategy, specific, but high-level, guidance is shared relating to its execution at the DOT. This is intended to provide a base understanding of how the DOT can pursue application of the strategy to address identified challenges.
Given the focus of this guidebook, it is not practical to provide comprehensive guidance for application of each practice area, even within the specific context of supporting DOT TAM programs.
Recognizing the critical role these organizational capabilities will play in sustained improvement in DOT practices, following the practice area overview and typical strategy documentation, additional, external reference materials are provided.