Action planning should start with a determination by senior leadership of desired area(s) for capability-building. It is important to know at this step what is prompting the need for change. It may be that a specific disruptive change force is resulting in a capability gap that is driving the effort:

  • Technology Advancement
  • Legislation, Regulation and Funding
  • Workforce Evolution
  • Shift in DOT Role and Focus
  • Public Expectations

For example, federal performance-based planning requirements are driving an agency to consider incorporating a new approach to project prioritization. The agency knows that it doesn’t have the processes in place or capabilities to perform some of the activities that will be needed to carry out this new function in an efficient and effective way. Agency leadership knows they will need to run forecasting scenarios, make programming adjustments based on their performance and work across divisions to get the data needed to make decisions.

On the other hand, perhaps an agency already has a big picture idea on how to move forward. It is possible that the agency has started down the road of focusing on a specific strategy:

  • Organizational Management
  • Workforce Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Information and & Data Management
  • Partnerships

Perhaps leadership within an agency establishes a strategic goal to improve sharing of data and information across the agency. Leadership has a long-term goal to implement organizational changes that will facilitate information sharing and to eventually democratize agency data so it is widely available across systems, divisions and regions. Over the short term, the agency wants to implement data governance to establish principles around collecting, storing and sharing data.

Having knowledge of what is driving the need for capability building is helpful in determining where the agency is at in terms of mobilizing to develop the initial scope of the effort and understanding the current state of capabilities. There will likely be additional work needed to agree upon scope if a change force is prompting the need for change as opposed to the agency already having a strategy in mind.

Regardless of what is driving the need for capability building, at the end of this step, the agency should have a common understanding that there is capability gap that must be closed and an action plan is needed to formalize the process.