1-6-How Should the Guidebook be Used?

How Should the Guidebook be Used?

The ACB Framework provides an overview of current challenges facing transportation agencies. Role-based guidance looks at change forces relevant to specific roles over several time periods. Situation-based guidance is directed at change forces relevant to a defined set of DOT challenges.

Role- and Situation-Based Guidance

There are two different lenses to view the guidance:
Role-Based Guidance examines the change forces relevant to each of a defined set of State DOT roles, along with their implications for the organization from each role’s perspective within several time periods: now, over the next few years, and five years and beyond.
Situation-Based Guidance is directed at the change forces that are relevant to a defined set of existing and anticipated State DOT situations.

The reader can refer to their own or a similar agency role or another role of interest in the guidebook as a reference for change forces relevant to that role over several time periods.

The roles included in the guidebook are:

• Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Chief Operating Officer (COO)
• Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
• Information Technology Director/Chief Information Officer (CIO)
• Human Resources (HR) Director
• Operations Lead
• Communications Lead
• Planning Director
• Performance Management Lead
• Knowledge Management Lead

The reader can also look at the guidebook to understand potential current or future situations impacted by change forces. The situation-based scenarios allow the reader to see multiple views of some common state DOT situations.

The situations included in the guidebook are:

• Need to undertake a major system upgrade
• Dealing with budget cuts
• Initiative fatigue
• Increased emphasis on multimodal transportation
• New accountability requirements
• Responding to increased flooding
• Coping with workforce transition
• Planning for CAVs and other transformational technologies

Both the role- and situation-based scenarios incorporate the change forces, needs and strategies described in the ACB Framework to understand trends, identify capability needs and identify strategies that can be directed at addressing any gaps in the agency’s capabilities.

Agency Capability-Building Action Planning

An action plan is the document that brings a vision, such in the agency’s strategic plan, to life. An action plan establishes a set and sequence of actions that will achieve a vision. An action plan aligns with and supplements other strategic plans by incorporating the steps needed to achieve the vision and goals in strategic plans.

An agency capability-building action plan is directed at the use of specific strategies used to develop essential capabilities.

Figure 1.3 Agency Capability Action Planning Steps

The agency capability-building action planning steps are to:

1. Determine Scope including using the ACB Framework to determine which change forces matter most, what needs to focus on and which strategies are likely to support the selected need(s)
2. Build a Vision means determining what needs to be achieved within the scope of the effort, how it aligns with other strategic initiatives and what measures can be used to communicate the vision
3. Select/Develop Strategies includes selecting a set of strategies and adding sufficient detail so that they can be appropriately implemented
4. Create Actions is documenting the set and sequence of actions that will achieve the vision, including who will do what and by when
5. Build a Team includes determining at a tactical level who will conduct the capability building actions, ensuring leadership support, creating an “elevator speech” and other mechanisms to communicate the effort and facilitate change management
6. Monitor and Adjust includes periodic check-ins on the progress of the implementation, designing reporting mechanisms and triggers for adjusting the approach, as well as designing a feedback loop to establish a foundation for future action plans.

Developing an ACB action plan creates a scope for the capability-building effort. It builds a vision for the end goal, incorporates strategies to guide actions, and establishes actions to achieve the vision based on those strategies. It relies on building a team to carry out the plan, and allows for monitoring and adjusting the approach as needed to both achieve the goal and create a baseline for future action plans. While this chapter depicts a six-step action-planning process, it is flexible enough to be scaled back into a less complex incremental process or can be made more detailed if warranted to implement a more comprehensive, transformational action plan.

Guidance Formats

This guidebook is available for those wanting to read the guidance in a traditional format. The content within this document has been developed using several mechanisms, including crowdsourcing, practitioner interviews and searches by the research team.

The online ACB Portal provides additional flexibility, allowing the user to search capabilities to find specific topics, including related roles and scenarios. While this guidebook will remain static, the content on the portal will be enhanced over time as new or more critical change forces and needs are experienced – and as new capabilities and supporting strategies are needed within state DOTs.

The online ACB Portal includes a resource library for browsing and searching for resources using the ACB Framework. Resources on the portal are indexed by their relevant change forces, needs and strategies.

The portal includes a practitioner directory that provides access to a voluntary list of transportation professionals who are willing to support the transportation community by sharing their expertise related to their experiences with various strategies for capability-building.

The portal also includes several shared practices resources to assist in capability-building:

An Events Directory that provides a listing of meetings, webinars and peer exchanges pertaining to capability-building
Position Descriptions for transportation agency leaders and practitioners to assist in building better job descriptions in emerging transportation fields. This resource can be used as part of an overall workforce management or information and data management strategy to develop agency capabilities.
Tools for capability-building, including links to web portals, software tools, online information repositories and other digital information directly available from online sources as well as other tools submitted by users.

Like the other elements of the ACB Portal, the portal’s shared practices, library and practitioner directory provide the ability to add to and strengthen this resource base over time.